Vauxhall caught up in emissions scandal 0
The Vauxhall Zafira is not having a good month. After undergoing investigations into certain models bursting into flames, the Zafira now has a new problem. It might be fitted with a “defeat device” similar to those found in the Volkswagen emissions scandal vehicles.
Two separate studies have released public results that find Vauxhall – named Opel outside of the UK – vehicles emit larger amounts of toxic nitrogen oxide than other manufacturers. Although the research began before the huge emissions scandal surrounding rival carmaker Volkswagen, the results have arrived in the aftermath – making them all the more publicised.
The first study was conducted by air pollution expert Dr. James Tate, of the Institute for Transport Studies at the University of Leeds. Using roadside emissions testing equipment, Tate recorded the fumes emitted by 20,000 cars and found that Vauxhall models were the highest rated NOx emitters.
Independent testers in Germany have also released findings from emissions tests on a Vauxhall Zafira model. Commissioned by the German consumer and environmental protection group Deutsche Umwelthlife (DUH), the tests followed the New European Driving Cycle (NEDC), which are the standard emissions testing under EU regulations. They were carried out on a 2015 diesel Vauxhall Zafira 1.6 CDTi, registered in August of this year, with 6,000km on the clock.
The testers claim the Zafira met the legal NOx limits when only the front wheels were rotating, but when all four wheels rotated, the results were very different. During 4WD mode and in certain conditions, the car emitted up to 17 times the legal nitrogen oxide limit of the EU.
Vauxhall/Opel, and its parent company General Motors, have refuted the results and categorically deny that none of its software is affected. In an official statement the company said, “Opel emphatically rebuts the claims of the German Environmental Relief. We would once again like to emphasise the following, valid for all our cars: the software developed by GM does not contain any features that can detect whether the vehicle is being subjected to an emission test”.
The carmakers have also announced they have run their own identical tests and found all the results to meet the legal guidelines.
It’s unclear yet whether General Motors has been up to the same tricks as rival Volkswagen, or whether the DUH tests were simply an anomaly.