First AIR Index ratings for diesel LCVs revealed

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The AIR (Allow Independent Road-testing) Alliance has published the first-ever AIR Index ratings for vans with 10 of Europe’s best-selling diesel-powered light commercial vehicles tested.

Each vehicle listed in the AIR Index has been given an A-E colour-coded rating, showing the difference between clean and dirty vans.

The A-rated Volkswagen Crafter CR35 LWB High Roof 2-litre is the cleanest Euro 6 van tested based on real-world emissions, emitting 53mg/km NOx – 72mg less than the large-van lab-based legal limit of 125mg/km – while the E-rated 2019 Mercedes Citan 109 Blue Dualiner 1.5-litre emits 902mg/km of NOx – more than 8 times the light-van lab-based legal limit of 105mg/km – yet both vehicles conform to lab-based legal standards.

Thus, the AIR Index aims to help improve urban air quality by informing consumers, owner-drivers, fleet operators and policy makers with “real facts about emissions” when making choices about vehicle purchase and usage.

According to AIR, a number of Euro 6-compliant cars emit significantly more NOx on the road than in the laboratory test used for their type approval and the organisation claims there is huge overall variation between cars despite them all complying with in-laboratory Euro 6 emissions standards.

Earlier this year, AIR discovered that when it commissioned tests of the Mercedes Vito CDI 111 LWB 1.6, a manufacturer-led update of the vehicle’s emissions management system halved the NOx emissions when tested again – the equivalent of improving the AIR Index rating from D to C.

Nick Molden, co-founder of the AIR Alliance, said: “The results of these van tests for the AIR Index continue to hammer home the fact that current policy can’t do enough to prevent damage from high emitters and treat low emitters more fairly.

“The 10 Euro 6 diesel vans we tested represent just under half of the annual sales across Europe. If just those rated D or E were prevented from entering the centre of urban areas the AIR Index could bring all European cities into air quality compliance.

“But the ultimate responsibility to implement change lies with the manufacturers. With simple service-led engine management updates, it is possible to make vans much cleaner, dramatically reducing emissions immediately.”

The full results of the vans tested for AIR and rated on the AIR Index can be found here.