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European Commission adopts guidelines on improvement of vehicle PTI

6 April 2023

On March 20, 2023, the European Commission published a recommendation to improve the periodical technical inspection (PTI) of vehicles. With road transport being the largest source of air pollution in cities, accurate testing is key to ensure that vehicles are in line with emission standards throughout their lifetime, the Commission said in a news release.

As current testing methods—largely based on smoke opacity—are not adapted to more recent vehicles equipped with particle filters, they cannot ensure that vehicles with defective or tampered diesel particulate filters are detected during inspections. Some EU countries—including the Netherlands, Belgium, and Germany—have therefore introduced or will soon introduce particle number (PN) measurement as part of their PTI inspections.

The PN-PTI test has been developed through an initiative of the VERT Association and the Netherlands (Ministry for Infrastructure and Water Management, RDW, TNO, and NMi). The test is performed at idle, with the vehicle stationary, using a portable PN tester. While the test protocols, PN limit values, and other requirements are similar in the countries that adopted PN-PTI testing, they however differ in several aspects.

To ensure a coordinated approach across the EU, the Commission’s guidelines define requirements related to the PN measuring equipment and procedure, as well as metrological and technical requirements. The guidelines also recommend a pass/fail PN limit of 250,000 cm-3.

The recommendations are based on the existing PN-PTI methods, laboratory tests carried out by the Joint Research Centre, and a consultation of the Commission’s Roadworthiness Expert Group. The guidelines apply to the periodic technical inspection of vehicles equipped with compression ignition engines and represent a first step towards harmonized PN measurement during roadworthiness testing, the Commission said.

Source: European Commission