Germany planning spot checks for car emissions

Germany wants to carry out unannounced emissions tests on all carmakers, said transport minister Alexander Dobrindt, aiming to reinstate confidence in the industry that was shattered by the Volkswagen cheating scandal.

“There will be controls on vehicles in the style of doping tests [for athletes],” Mr Dobrindt told the newspaper Bild. “Unannounced and every year.”

One way to carry out the random tests would be to select models from car rental companies, the newspaper said. Technicians who carry out the tests would be rotated to ensure transparency.

Bild said a draft proposal on the new measures would be presented to the Bundestag lower house of parliament on Thursday. It would also call on the government to present plans to encourage motorists to switch to electric cars.

Volkswagen, Europe’s largest carmaker, admitted in September it had cheated US emissions tests by installing software capable of deceiving regulators in up to 11 million diesel vehicles worldwide. The admission wiped billions of euros off VW’s market value and forced out its long-time CEO.

The company has said only a small group of employees was responsible for cheating on US diesel emissions tests and there was no indication board members were involved in what has become the biggest business crisis in its history.

“I expect Volkswagen to fully disclose the procedures that led to the manipulation,” said Mr Dobrindt.

German media reported in December that Germany planned to review emissions and fuel usage of Volkswagen diesel vehicles in a second testing round once the company has installed fixes in cars caught up in a cheating scandal.

Volkswagen has set aside €6.7bn to help cover the costs of diesel recalls and another €2bn for compensation payments related to its manipulations of carbon dioxide emission levels.

Meanwhile, authorities in Delhi plan another round of tough measures to restrict the use of private cars and clean up toxic air in the Indian metropolis, the world’s most polluted city.

From April 15, for two weeks, cars will only be allowed on the road on alternate days, going by whether their number plates are odd or even, chief minister Arvind Kejriwal said.

“We are seriously considering if we can do this for 15 days every month,” said Mr Kejriwal. “We can’t do this on a permanent basis until we get better public transport.”

Doctors say Delhi’s 16m residents are at risk of suffering irreversible lung damage and some children there already have the lungs of chain smokers.

The proposal follows a two-week trial at the start of January that took more than 1m cars off the roads daily.

The World Health Organization said in 2014 that New Delhi had the most polluted air among nearly 1,600 cities it studied.


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