The International Clean Council on Transportation (ICCT) recently published a study on vehicle emissions in Paris, on behalf of the Real Urban Emissions (TRUE) Initiative . The study was mandated by the City Council of Paris and concludes that emissions from motorcycles in that city are higher than those of petrol cars.
ACEM seriously questions the reliability of the remote sensing technology used by the ICCT to measure real urban emissions from the wide range of motorcycles and other L-category vehicles. Whilst this limitation is to some extent acknowledged in the report, which reads: “the smaller engines used in these vehicles result in a smaller plume signal relative to vehicles with larger engines”, the authors also draw negative conclusions as to the environmental performance of motorcycles, including those meeting latest Euro 4 standards.
ACEM has grounds to believe that the report's conclusions are based mainly on measurements of L-category vehicles during their acceleration phase. A generalisation of such results simply does not match real urban reality, and results in a drastic overestimation of vehicle emissions.
Research carried out by the European Research on Mobile Emission Sources (ERMES) has clearly shown that the emission performance of Euro 4 motorcycles is similar to the one of Euro 5 and 6 petrol cars. These measurements were taken using well-established, lab measurement technology, as well as real world test cycles.
The ERMES findings were used by the European Environmental Agency to update its own emissions model (COPERT ) in 2019. The COPERT model is used by policy-makers across Europe to model vehicle fleet emissions in urban areas. Furthermore, the ERMES findings were also used by public authorities in Austria, Germany, Sweden and Switzerland to update the Handbook Emission Factors for Road Transport (HBEFA ).
Commenting on the study Antonio Perlot, ACEM Secretary General, said:
“ACEM fully supports the principle of public authorities mandating independent studies to gather evidence for effective policy-making. However, it is of utmost importance that such independent studies are performed using validated, accurate testing methods.
“The ICCT report is inconsistent with recent independent research findings based on real world emissions for motorcycles. The large number of invalid measurements and the high level of uncertainty of the valid ones clearly indicate that the remote sensing technology in the ICCT report is unable to correctly measure emissions of L-category vehicles. In other words, ICCT should not have drawn any conclusions based on these measurements. This could lead to ill-advised policies, which is unacceptable”.
“ACEM has already contacted the authors of the study and will continue engaging constructively with the ICCT to discuss both the findings of their report and the possible limitations of the measurement technologies used. In any event, the motorcycle sector remains fully committed to continuing to invest in cleaner technologies and reducing its environmental footprint. The entry into force of the Euro 5 environmental standard in 2020 will be another important step in that direction”.