Archive for the ‘diesel’ Category

Daimler to offer software update for 3 million Mercedes-Benz diesels in EU

July 19th, 2017

Enlarge (credit: Michiel Dijcks)

On Tuesday evening, Mercedes-Benz parent company Daimler released a statement saying that it would voluntarily recall three million Mercedes-Benz diesels in the EU to offer a software update that would improve emissions control system performance. The recall will cost the company about €220 million ($254 million). Mercedes-Benz was already in the process of offering software update-focused recalls to improve emissions systems in compact-class cars and V-Class cars with diesel engines, so this new announcement widens the radius on those existing recalls.

Dieter Zetsche, a Daimler AG Chairman and the head of the German automaker’s Mercedes-Benz brand, explained the action as a move to clear up uncertainty. He described the recalls as “additional measures to reassure drivers of diesel cars and to strengthen confidence in diesel technology.”

“We are convinced that diesel engines will continue to be a fixed element of the drive-system mix, not least due to their low CO2 emissions,” Zetsche added.

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Posted in Cars Technica, daimler, diesel, emissions, Mercedes-Benz, recall | Comments (0)

Volvo says no more diesel engines, the future is electric

May 18th, 2017

Enlarge / Hakan Samuelsson, chief executive officer of Volvo Cars. (credit: Linus Hook/Bloomberg | Getty Images)

Volvo has come down with a case of electric fever, and the cure is “no more diesel engines.” The company’s CEO, Håkan Samuelsson, recently told German publication Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung that Volvo’s current diesel engines may well be the last of their kind. Samuelsson said that the technology is necessary to meet upcoming European carbon emission standards, which require OEMs to drop from 130g/km to just 95g/km in 2021.

But the outlook farther ahead involves regulations that will also severely limit nitrogen oxides (NOx). As a result, the company will devote its energy to electrification instead.

As we reported earlier this week, NOx are noxious and linked to 38,000 premature deaths in 2015 alone. Contributing to that body count is evidently beyond the pale for an automaker which has built an impressive reputation for safety. The news is all the more remarkable given that the bulk of its sales in Europe are diesel-engined vehicles. Right now, Volvo uses a 2.0L diesel engine that shares much with the 2.0L gasoline engine that we get here in the US in the S90, V90, and XC90 models.

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Posted in Cars Technica, diesel, volvo | Comments (0)

New diesel Chevy Cruze can go an estimated 702 miles on a single tank of fuel

February 16th, 2017


This week, Chevrolet announced that its new 2017 diesel Cruze will get a jaw-dropping 52 mpg on the highway, making it the car with the best fuel economy among non-hybrid and non-electric models in America. Chevy says that means the car can drive an estimated 702 miles on a highway before it runs out of diesel.

(As an aside: Ars recommends investing in adult diapers or inventing a Dune-style stillsuit to reclaim your—err…water—before you try to drive 700 miles in one go in this car.)

The 1.6L, four-cylinder turbodiesel engine has 137hp (102kW) and 240lb-ft (325Nm) of torque, as you’d expect from a diesel passenger sedan. (For comparison, the gas-powered 2017 Chevy Cruze gets 177lb-ft [240Nm] of torque.)

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Posted in Cars Technica, chevy, Cruze, diesel, GM | Comments (0)

Sources say VW Group reaches agreement on fix for 80,000 diesel vehicles

November 15th, 2016

(credit: James Workman)

According to sources speaking to Reuters, Volkswagen has come to an agreement with authorities over how to deal with the remaining 80,000 3.0L diesel VWs, Audis, and Porsches that used illegal software to cheat on federal and state emissions tests.

Apparently, VW Group will buy back 20,000 older Audi and VW SUVs, and the remaining 60,000 vehicles will receive software updates to the cars’ emissions control systems so that they comply with federal emissions regulations. If the owners of the older Audis and VWs want to keep their cars, a separate and more complicated fix has apparently been approved. But by offering a software fix for at least 60,000 cars, VW Group is expected to save billions in buyback costs.

Reuters says that talks are ongoing between consumer plaintiffs’ lawyers and VW Group to mete out exactly how much money consumers will be compensated.

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Posted in Cars Technica, diesel, emissions, EPA, VW Group | Comments (0)

Germany’s Bundesrat votes to ban the internal combustion engine by 2030

October 10th, 2016

(credit: Toni Almodóvar Escuder @ Flickr)

Is the tide turning for the internal combustion engine? In Germany, things are starting to look that way. This is the country that invented the technology, but late last week, the Bundesrat (the federal council of all 16 German states) voted to ban gasoline- and diesel-powered vehicles by 2030.

It’s a strong statement in a nation where the auto industry is one of the largest sectors of the economy; Germany produces more automobiles than any other country in Europe and is the third largest in the world. The resolution passed by the Bundesrat calls on the European Commission (the executive arm of the European Union) to “evaluate the recent tax and contribution practices of Member States on their effectiveness in promoting zero-emission mobility,” which many are taking to mean an end to the lower levels of tax currently levied on diesel fuel across Europe.

Europe bet big on diesel, something that now seems increasingly misguided with continuing revelations about companies cheating their emissions tests and the growing awareness of the health implications of diesel particulates.

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Posted in Cars Technica, climate change, diesel, gasoline, internal combustion engine | Comments (0)

Queen of the Road: The 2016 Range Rover HSE Td6 has kingdom-crossing range

July 25th, 2016

A fuel-sipping uber-luxo SUV? Not quite. A technological marvel? Not exactly. If one definition of luxury is the lack of worry, then this Land Rover Range Rover Td6 achieves it, but for an unexpected reason.

Range Rovers have long been the manifold destiny of the modest-yet-moneyed equine set—those who want to slog through unpaved slop to reach the perfect lake or meadow. And nobody driving one has failed to make it anywhere due to shortcomings off-road; Land Rovers and Range Rovers are the virtual poster dogs for exploring the wooded backlands. But until now, no Land Rover has beached itself onto American shores with diesel power, even though diesel has been an option in Europe for more than 30 years. It’s been all-gasoline Range Rovering in the US, be it with a V8 or a supercharged V6.

However, the upper-crustiest party segment of SUVing has been crashed recently with Bentley’s splash into the vat of beluga caviar with the Bentayga. It’s another leather-lined and hyper-coiffed dreadnought SUV that won’t get out of bed for less than $231,825—the base Range Rover tips the finance scale at just $85,945. The HSE Td6 diesel logs a comparative pittance at a base price of just $94,445, even though the two Brits don’t really compete directly for the same demographic. The uppermost Range Rover—aside from the Holland & Holland Edition, with its outdoor picnic seating and ability to do your taxes—is the V8 Supercharged SV Autobiography long wheelbase model at $200,490.

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Posted in Cars Technica, diesel, Range Rover HSE Td6 | Comments (0)

Here’s how Volkswagen’s $15 billion proposed settlement would be divided up

June 28th, 2016

And lo, that which was rumored last night has come to fruition this morning. On Tuesday morning, Volkswagen Group proposed a number of companion settlements with the Department of Justice representing the Environmental Protection Agency and the California Air Resources Board (CARB), the Federal Trade Commission, more than 40 state attorneys general, and a class-action complaint from people who bought 2.0L diesel cars from Volkswagen and Audi.

The amount of the settlements will tally more than $15 billion, with $10.033 billion going toward compensating consumers. In a conference call on Tuesday morning, Elizabeth Cabraser, the court-appointed lead counsel for Volkswagen consumer plaintiffs, detailed exactly how the German automaker would compensate its customers after the company was discovered last September to have included illegal software on many of its recent diesel models. The software helped the diesel vehicles pass federally required emissions tests in a lab but turned off the cars’ emissions control systems while under normal driving conditions, causing significantly increased levels of nitrogen oxide to spew on open roads.

Cabraser noted that owners of certain diesel VW Golfs, Passats, Jettas, Beetles, and Audi A3s would be eligible for a buyback equal to the amount the car was worth in September 2015—a range from a low of around $12,000 to a high of about $44,000. The buybacks would be accepted “regardless of condition,” Cabraser said, “as long as it’s drivable.”

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Posted in CARb, Cars Technica, defeat device, diesel, DOF, EPA, FTC, Volkswagen | Comments (0)

Below 64°F, European diesels emit nitrogen oxide at an alarming rate, report says

June 22nd, 2016

According to a testing company called Emissions Analytics, many diesel vehicles on the road in the European Union are emitting much more nitrogen oxide (NOx) than expected at temperatures below 18 degrees Celsius (approximately 64 degrees Fahrenheit). While it’s public knowledge that automakers in the EU are allowed to kill the emissions control systems on their diesel vehicles in cold weather to prevent damage to the engine, it seems that “cold” has not been properly defined, and car engineers are taking advantage of that fact.

According to the BBC, Emissions Analytics tested 213 cars from 31 manufacturers and found that “millions of vehicles could be driving around much of the time with their pollution controls partly turned off.” Apparently, cars that adhere to the Euro 5 emissions control standard (which was announced in September 2009 but became mandatory in January 2011) are among the worst offenders. The more current Euro 6 cars did better on Emissions Analytics’ tests but also showed discrepancies at relatively warm temperatures.

While turning off the emissions control system can have benefits for the longevity of a diesel engine, it also can improve the car’s miles-per-gallon rating. That creates a tension between priorities—a car might release more NOx but get better gas mileage, cutting down on carbon dioxide (CO2) emitted. But NOx is a potent greenhouse gas, too, and auto manufacturers might be motivated to hide how their cars cause pollution by favoring a high mpg number while the car is still belching toxic NOx in order to market their cars to environmentally conscious customers.

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Posted in Cars Technica, diesel, emissions, europe, Volkswagen | Comments (0)

Volkswagen Group may be closing in on fix for emissions-cheating 3.0L vehicles

May 10th, 2016

(credit: We Like Cars)

According to sources speaking to Bloomberg on Tuesday, Volkswagen Group is close to proposing a fix for its 3.0L diesel engines found in Audi, Porsche, and VW models that were sold with built-in software that’s illegal in the US. These approximately 85,000 cars spew more than the federal legal limit of nitrogen oxide (NOx) when driven under normal driving conditions. The illegal software helps the cars pass emissions tests when it senses the car is being tested in a lab.

This batch of cars is separate from the nearly 500,000 2.0L diesel engine Volkswagens and Audis found with similar illegal software installed on them. Volkswagen recently said in federal court that it would be buying back those 2.0L cars from their owners after the California Air Resources Board initially rejected Volkswagen’s proposed fix. The buyback plan has not yet been made official, as it’s part of ongoing settlement proceedings.

In all, Volkswagen Group has set aside $18 billion to cover the costs of that buyback plan and associated legal fees.

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Posted in Cars Technica, defeat device, diesel, Volkswagen | Comments (0)

VW’s US chief resigns, regulator raises doubts that diesels can be fixed

March 10th, 2016

(credit: Erik B)

On Wednesday afternoon, Volkswagen Group said that the head of the US branch of the company, Michael Horn, will be stepping down to “pursue other opportunities immediately,” according to the Wall Street Journal.

Horn led Volkswagen’s US operations since January 2014, and his departure comes as VW Group is under extreme scrutiny for building its cars with “defeat devices,” or software on the car’s engine management system that disables the car’s emissions control system when its driving under normal conditions, but which enables the emissions control system when the car has to pass laboratory testing.

Volkswagen said Horn’s resignation decision was reached in “mutual agreement.” Hinrich J. Woebcken, a Volkswagen Group chairman and the head of VW’s North America operations, will lead the US division in the interim.

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Posted in CARb, Cars Technica, diesel, dieselgate, EPA, Volkswagen | Comments (0)