Iveco recalls thousands of trucks for emissions breach

Roadside tests in the UK of exhaust emissions from a selection of cars, vans, trucks and buses is resulting in the voluntary recall by Iveco of nearly 6,000 Euro-VI Eurocargo trucks in the UK, and many thousands more in the rest of Europe.

The trucks are being recalled to have exhaust after-treatment equipment control software recalibrated to bring emissions of oxides of nitrogen (NOx) back into line with Euro-VI limits.

The tests were conducted last year by the Market Surveillance Unit (MSU) division of the government’s Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA), using sophisticated and costly portable emissions measurement systems (PEMS) equipment.

The results, published last month, show that “real world” emissions from most of the vehicles tested are within type approval limits, based on laboratory tests. But there are some glaring exceptions, including the Nissan Qashqai and Ford Fiesta cars, with much higher on-road NOx emissions than certified laboratory figures. Ford Transit and Renault Trafic vans also exceeded certified limits.

Eurocargo found producing twice the legal limit of NOx emissions

Five types of Euro-VI trucks were tested last year by MSU staff: the DAF LF, Volvo FM, MAN TGM, Mercedes-Benz Actros and Iveco Eurocargo. The Eurocargo was the only one to exceed Euro-VI limits.

“When this vehicle was tested on the legislative test for heavy-duty vehicles, we found that the NOx emissions were nearly twice as high as permitted,” the MSU reports. “We therefore requested a meeting with Iveco to discuss this. Following their consideration of the detailed data set that we provided, they confirmed that we had identified an issue with the emissions control system of these vehicles under certain circumstances, of which they were previously unaware. We conducted further testing, at Iveco’s expense, which confirmed our original results.”

Iveco is praised by DVSA for being “fully co-operative in exploring the issue” and working swiftly to resolve it.

There are reckoned to be 5,803 affected Eurocargo trucks in service in the UK. This is thought to account for about 20% of the total number of affected Eurocargos throughout Europe. The recall programme started in the UK last December and by last month about 750 vehicles are thought to have had their software updated.

“DVSA’s priority is to protect you from unsafe drivers and vehicles,” says Ian Bartlett, DVSA’s Market Surveillance Unit boss. “The results of the tests demonstrate the importance of the new Real Driving Emissions (RDE) legislation and the much stricter laboratory tests introduced in 2017. We look forward to seeing industry bring forward cleaner vehicles with more representative fuel economy figures. Our tests show that some will have to make substantial improvements to meet the new rules.”

Volkswagen’s emissions saga will worry Iveco operators

Operators of Eurocargo trucks having their engine management software reprogrammed are likely to be seeking assurances from Iveco that fuel economy will not worsen, as a result. They will also be concerned at the possibility of AdBlue consumption rates increasing significantly. Iveco boasts of having met Euro-VI emissions limits with all its truck diesel engines without recourse to exhaust gas recirculation (EGR), using only selective catalytic reduction (SCR). All other truck-makers have found it necessary to use a combination of EGR and SCR, though Scania also has begun to follow the SCR-only on at least some engines.

It is now thought that the only way Iveco can bring its Euro-VI Eurocargo engine back into line with NOx limits is to retard injection timing (with an inevitable fuel economy penalty) and/or inject more AdBlue into the SCR exhaust after-treatment.

The van and car diesel engine fix introduced by Volkswagen following the “dieselgate” emissions test cheating scandal is claimed by the manufacturer to have no adverse effect on fuel economy, but independent tests and operator experience suggest otherwise.

For more information on the DVSA emissions tests go to:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/vehicle-market-surveillance-unit-programme-results-2017

[crp]

Tim Blakemore
Tim Blakemore
Tim Blakemore is an award-winning automotive journalist and the former editor of our sister title, Commercial Vehicle Engineer magazine. He is also the UK representative on the panel of judges for the biennial, pan-European Trailer Innovation Award scheme.

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