Thursday, August 3, 2017

Three Takeaways from the Diesel Summit

Wednesday, German automakers and policymakers met at a big diesel summit in Berlin. This was a discussion on the future of diesel vehicles after a two-year scandal saga spread from Volkswagen to other companies. It’s clear that diesel car makers are not ready for a revolution.

1. Breakthroughs didn’t happen.

The group did not decide to recall the NOx spewing cars and commit to not using defeat devices. They did however agree to update the software of 5 million diesel cars. Included are 2.5 million recalled Volkswagen cars and for the rest of the year diesel cars will be allowed to emit poisonous NOx. The environmental pressure group known as DUH pointed out that automakers will still be allowed to switch off their exhaust treatment at outside temperatures below 50 degrees Fahrenheit, calling it “an especially egregious scandal.”

2. Automakers are looking past their older more polluting cars.

Courts are deciding that diesel bans for the dirtiest diesel vehicles are the only way to bring down air pollution as soon as possible. These account for older vehicles which are unaffected. Only diesel cars complying with Euro 6 will be called to shops. Automakers promise that their software changes will lower the NOx output of the recalled cars by 25% to 30%, “but many experts doubt that,” BILD reported. As only a fraction of Germany diesel cars will be called to the shops, the net effect will be more like a 2% to 3% reduction of NOx emissions, DUH said.

3. The tide has turned on diesel.

Europe public sentiment has changed drastically. People are no longer willing to accept bogus reassurances from the car industry that cleaner cars are coming. Half of Germany drives diesel cars, but looming are diesel bans in 16 cities. A study cited from Reuters said that 57% of Germans support the bans; half of car owners are very much against them. Then there is the worry that people might switch to gasoline cars, which they have already been doing in increasing numbers.