China Heavy-Duty Vehicle Compliance Workshop

Vehicle testing

On June 8th, 2015, the ICCT and the Vehicle Emission Control Center of China’s Ministry of Environment Protection co-organized an International Workshop on Heavy-duty Vehicle Emissions Compliance funded by the Climate and Clean Air Coalition (CCAC). Regulators from MEP, California Air Resources Board (CARB), Beijing EPB, researchers from VECC, CRAES, CATARC and the Beijing Institute of Technology participated in the meeting.

Heavy-duty diesel vehicles are the primary contributor to particulate matter and black carbon emissions among all on-road transport sources. For these vehicles, China has adopted China IV standard (equivalent to Euro IV) nationwide since 2014 (with early phase in of China V standard in some advanced regions) and is developing the sixth stage of the standard. However, new vehicle emissions standards do not necessarily lead to any actual emissions reductions or improved air quality. Further, the connection in between is a robust and strong compliance and enforcement system.

China’s emissions regulatory program primarily focuses on the pre-market stage by requiring emissions type approval and conformity of production, while paying little attention to in-use compliance. Under this system, once a vehicle model has passed laboratory tests to meet the new vehicle emissions standards, manufacturers then have little motivation to make additional efforts to ensure that the emissions after-treatment devises of their vehicles work properly and deliver real-world emissions reductions while in-use.

Regulators from the US and EU have also been facing similar challenges and are trying to address them by adding requirements for in-use compliance. The United States and the State of California especially, have established the world’s most comprehensive compliance program for vehicle emissions control including not only pre-production tests against new vehicle (engine) emissions standards, but also various in-use tests against in-use emissions standards (NTE limits). Failure to meet these in-use standards may lead to recall of the affected vehicles. California also implements the world’s most stringent OBD requirements, which help identify in-use emissions issues. In Europe’s latest regulation (Euro VI) for heavy-duty vehicles introduced in-service conformity testing requirements using PEMs, which is also an effective and important move to try and better address in-use compliance issues.

The objective of this meeting was to provide an overview of HDV emissions compliance programs and experiences in the US/California and Europe to China, focusing on evolution of their program (why), program design and implementation. The meeting was also designed to spark active discussions about solutions and recommendations for China going forward.

The workshop concluded with the follwing near- to long-term efforts to enhance HDV emissions compliance in China:

  • Adopt China VI emissions standard for HDVs no later than 2020 nationwide and allow early phase-in in key regions. The China VI standard will look very similar to the Euro VI standard. However, it will include various elements to better address the in-use emissions issues compared to the previous Euro standards, such as a transient driving cycle (WHTC) that better represent real-world driving conditions, and PEMS testing for type approval.
  • Develop and adopt stronger OBD requirements and enhance the existing I/M with OBD examination.
  • Before the implementation of the China VI standard, more widely introduce near-term fixes such as reflashing China IV and V heavy-diesel vehicles to reduce in-use NOx emissions, and require DPFs in certification for the upcoming China V standard implementation.
  • Participants agreed to the need for establishing a robust in-use emissions compliance system in China, borrowing best practices from the US, such as requiring in-use testing. However, it takes time to build up the staff capacity in testing within the regulatory agencies.

Hui He