Claim: Tricycle emissions meet Euro 3 or 4 standards. We have heard the claim many times that new tricycles in the Philippines meet Euro 3 or Euro 4 Emission Standards.
First, we must make it clear that when we talk about tricycles we follow what the senate says is a tricycle and that is a motorcycle with a sidecar.
The Motorcycles used are Euro 3 or 4
This is true many of the motorcycles used in a motorcycle and sidecar combination are Euro 3 or even Euro 4 compliant.
In fact, all new motorcycles sold should be Euro 4.
You might think if the motorcycles are Euro 4 then even if used as a tricycle they are Euro 4. However, that does not take into account how emission tests for Euro Emission Standards are carried out.
Euro Emission Tests
You might have seen emission tests by the side of the road where they put a sensor in the exhaust pipe and rev the engine, these are nothing like Euro Emission Standards tests.
Euro Emission Standards used a system called the New European Driving Cycle (NEDC) up until 2017. However because of many flaws in the testing system and the fact it did not use real-world conditions many manufacturers found ways to beat the NEDC test.
The WLTP test includes a wide range of driving conditions (urban, suburban, main road, highway), simulates a long-distance driving, steep accelerations and decelerations, tests optional equipment separately, includes hot and cold engine starts and much more.
Euro Emission Standards also require all new models and from September 2019 and all new vehicles to undergo Real Driving Emissions testing (RDE) which is a test of emissions on real roads rather than just on rollers.
To carry out the RDE a portable emission measuring systems is attached to the vehicle to check to emission levels of nitrogen oxides (Nox) plus particle numbers (PN).
Many people seem to think Euro Emission standards just check Carbon monoxide emissions but the tests check far more than Carbon monoxide they also check Unburnt hydrocarbons, Nitrogen oxides and Particulate matter.
The RDE tests many driving conditions such as:
Low and high altitudes
Additional vehicle payload
Up- and down-hill driving
Urban roads (low speed)
Rural roads (medium speed)
Motorways (high speed)
Because it is real-world testing weight matters as does drag, these factors are also programmed into the computer for the WLTP test.
A Tricycle is heavier than a Motorcycle
Extra weight, friction and wind resistance mean even if the Motorcycle meets Euro 3 or 4 standards a tricycle would not.
First the weight, a sidecar fitted to a motorcycle adds a lot more weight also a motorcycle tested with load would mean testing with the driver and one passenger, most tricycles can legally carry 4 people including the driver and we all know they often carry more, but we will presume they stick to 4 people, that is double the load the motorcycle is tested for.
The heavier the load the more pollutants the engine will emit, it will also burn more fuel so reduce the fuel consumption.
A Tricycle has more friction than a Motorcycle
Adding an extra wheel especially in a set up that is not symmetrical also adds a lot of extra friction not only is there the extra friction of another tyre on the road but an unsymmetrical vehicle tends to pull to one side which causes even more tyre friction.
This extra friction again means the engine has to work harder so burns more fuel and in turns emits more pollutants.
A Tricycle has more wind resistance than a Motorcycle
No doubt fitting a sidecar creates a lot more wind resistance than a motorcycle alone, add to that they nearly always fit screens, roofs etc. to the motorcycle, plus waterproof covers.
All the extra wind resistance is going to cause the Motorcycle engine to burn even more fuel and cause even more pollution.
Without having a portable emission measuring system and attaching it to a few tricycles to test them we can not be sure.
It does seem very unlikely that a Euro 4 motorcycle when fitted with a sidecar of the type used in the Philippines would even meet Euro 3 standards, all the extra weight, friction and drag would make it almost certain that the amount of fuel used and the pollutants emitted would go up to a level beyond what is required to meet Euro 3 emission standards.
What about Three-Wheelers from India?
Since 2017 all-new two and three-wheeled vehicles in India must meet Euro 4 emission standards, as they are tested how they are and do not have sidecars fitted, despite LTOs claim that they do have sidecars we can assure you they do not. So they do meet Euro 4 emission standards.