German group accuses Fiat 500X compact SUV of exceeding diesel emissions levels

Article by Christian Andrei, on February 24, 2016

In a recent press conference at Berlin, Deutsche Umwelthilfe (DUH), an environmental lobby group based in Germany, continues to strengthen its campaign against automotive industry pollution as it accuses the 500X compact SUV of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) of excessive toxic diesel emissions.

The group has already named automotive company Renault, the Opel division of General Motors (GM) Company, and Daimler's Mercedes-Benz for excessive levels of harmful emissions. DUH campaigner Axel Friedrich claimed that extreme NOx emission overruns have been detected on the Renault Espace, Opel Zafira, Mercedes C Class, and recently a Fiat SUV.

So far, FCA has refused to comment on the issue. The accused car makers denied that they are involved in illegal activities. However, they recognize the fact that some of their vehicles actually release higher levels of toxic emissions when tested in real-life conditions compared to when they’re tested in the norms provided in a prescribed test regime as specified by regulators.

Earlier this month, European legislators supported more stringent testing methods, which allow a 50 percent overshoot of the legal limit of 80 mg/km for nitrogen oxide under some circumstances. Several automotive companies have been undergoing investigations with regulators.

However, so far, only Volkswagen has been found out to be involved in illegal practices. Volkswagen admitted that it manipulates its emission test results using a particular software. On February 2, FCA said that its diesel models do not have defeat devices.

Moreover, the car maker added that while emission levels vary with different driving conditions, the control systems of its vehicles function in the same way under the same conditions— regardless of where they’re tested on the road or in the laboratory.

FCA also emphasized that its diesel units performed within the regulatory limits when they were inspected under the prescribed testing cycle. Backed by emission tests conducted by the University of Applied Sciences in Switzerland, DUH Managing Director Juergen Resch claimed that the Fiat 500X, a 2015 model of FCA's newest Euro 6 diesel generation, produced nitrogen oxide emissions that were about 11 to 22 times greater than regulatory limits under the circumstances of a warm engine.

According to DUH, the Fiat 500X produced excessive toxic emissions in all eight tests with a warm engine. With a cold engine, on the other hand, the Fiat 500X exceeded the legal limit during two tests.

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