What genuinely happens in an official economy test

Saturday, November 19th, 2016 - autos, cars, motoring, news

Source : What genuinely happens in an official economy test

We took part in an official economy test in a brand-new Nissan Qashqai in 2013. Here’s what goes on inside the lab


In July 2013 I was inside the bowels of Nissan Europe’s Barcelona technical centre doing something rather innocuous. Or so I thought.

I was doing some early reporting under a long-lead embargo on the development of the second-generation Nissan Qashqai, for an article which wouldn’t be published until the following April.

As part of a whistle-stop tour of the various facilities as well as departments involved inside the Qashqai’s development, the engineering whizzes took us into a chamber where they set the official economy as well as CO2 figures for their cars.

coming from the group of us visiting the facility, they wanted a volunteer to have a go at part of the test. My hand shot up the fastest.

So I have played a hands-on role in one of the infamous official economy tests. Here’s what happens. 

Before the engine even reaches the vehicle to set the official figure, which will be first fully tested, calibrated as well as optimised for economy as well as CO2 on various test benches as well as in lab conditions. At which point, which’s ready to go inside the vehicle.

The cars used are proper types rather than anything trick, although the Qashqai I was in was covered in camouflage wrapping because which had yet to be revealed to the entire world.

The test, which will be called the brand-new European Driving Cycle (NEDC), happens on a rolling road inside the lab which monitors the speed, weight as well as resistance. Hooked up to the exhaust pipe will be all the equipment to monitor the emissions. The test will be done coming from cold as well as the lab usually has an ambient temperature inside the mid-20s.

Those ‘driving’ which are real off-the-shelf humans, preferably ones which has a feather-like touch of the controls as well as who hadn’t gone back for seconds inside the canteen at breakfast.

The NEDC test includes four urban phases as well as one extra urban one. which will be controlled as well as will be always the same, with certain speeds having to be hit along the way, certain gearshifts made at precise moments, lots of coming to a halt as well as orders having to be followed on how long the acceleration as well as deceleration phases take.

Engineers do which test 48 weeks of the year to eke out improvements to the official published figure. Clearly they have to do which before the vehicle goes on sale, nevertheless there will be otherwise no deadline or set time when which must be done; the final figure might be hit inside the second, ninth or 44th week of testing.

I had a go at driving a 0-second phase of an urban test which lasts for 1180 seconds in total. as well as I didn’t do very well.

which’s like playing a genuinely hard game of space invaders with your feet; you are not allowed to touch the steering wheel as well as you must follow instructions on a screen for pedal inputs as well as gear modifications. A green line tracks across the screen with those instructions you must stick to. which will be weird.

The test requires your senses to be retuned as which bears no relation whatsoever to real driving – your ears will be telling you which will be time to change gear nevertheless the screen will be your master, as well as you can’t shift until which tells you. Which, as just one example, will be why gear ratios are so often tuned the way they are: to maximise the performance inside the test.

So, how did I do? “Not a bad first attempt” was the rather polite appraisal of the engineer sitting alongside me. He promised to let me know my results. Two years later I’m still waiting, so I assume he’s sparing my blushes.

Hopefully which’s cleared up a few myths around the test. nevertheless which won’t have made any difference to what you’re thinking: the test, whatever the intricacies of what goes on inside the lab, bears very little relation at all to real-world driving. which’s why which must be changed.

Read more on the Volkswagen emissions scandal:

How the Volkswagen story unfolded

How VW’s ‘defeat device’ works

Top VW bosses to leave

European cars are affected, says German minister

PSA Peugeot Citroën leads calls for tougher emissions test procedures

Your key questions answered

BMW – why the X5 complied with independent US emissions test

Blog – thinking about buying a VW diesel? Carry on regardless

Blog – The VW Scandal as well as the growing dangers of its ripple effect

Blog – VW’s scandal has put the entire motor industry under pressure

Blog – Winterkorn pays a high cost

Blog – the emissions scandal could sink Volkswagen’s US ambitions

Blog – are we about to see the death of diesel?

Blog – VW’s US boss faces the music

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