Archive for the ‘emissions’ Category

Tesla sold greenhouse gas credits to Fiat and… GM?

June 3rd, 2019
Tesla sold greenhouse gas credits to Fiat and... GM?

(credit: Jeffrey Sauger / Chevrolet)

GM and Fiat Chrysler have reported that they purchased federal greenhouse gas emissions credits from Tesla, according to filings made to the state of Delaware and viewed by Bloomberg.

Both the US federal government and California offer automaker credits for selling zero-emissions vehicles. Those automakers can then sell those credits to automakers who exceed their pollution restrictions in a sort of cap-and-trade system that imposes extra cost on automakers not improving the fuel efficiency of their fleet.

Tesla has reported sales of its credits for years, but generally the buyers have been kept private. An exception to this occurred in April, when the Financial Times discovered a deal between Fiat Chrysler and Tesla that was reportedly worth hundreds of millions of euros. According to FT, Tesla had allowed Fiat to pool its European fleet with Tesla's in order to meet strict EU average fuel-economy emissions laws.

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Posted in cars, emissions, Energy, Federal, Fiat Chrysler, GM, Tesla | Comments (0)

Germany’s first criminal indictment in VW emissions scandal is ex-CEO Winterkorn

April 15th, 2019
Martin Winterkorn.

Enlarge / Martin Winterkorn, former Volkswagen Group CEO. (credit: Matthias Balk/picture alliance via Getty Images)

On Monday, German prosecutors filed a criminal indictment against former Volkswagen Group CEO Martin Winterkorn for participating in the fraud that led to the diesel-emissions scandal that rocked the company in 2015. Four other managers were also indicted today, but their names were not released.

In 2015, US officials accused VW Group of putting illegal software on diesel Audis, Volkswagens, and Porsches. The software would essentially kill the cars' emissions-reduction systems during real-world driving to improve performance, but under laboratory conditions, the cars would pass emissions tests easily. Later, it was discovered that VW Group's diesels were using the same mechanism to subvert European Union vehicle emissions standards. Winterkorn and other VW Group management said they had no knowledge of this software and blamed its presence on "rogue engineers."

Winterkorn stepped down from his position shortly after VW Group's cheating was made public.

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Posted in auto, cars, diesel, emissions, Energy, Policy, Volkswagen | Comments (0)

BMW, Daimler, and VW colluded to prevent better emissions control tech, EU says

April 5th, 2019
Four German auto executives sit at an event.

Enlarge / Right to left: Matthias Wissmann, president of the German Automobile Industry Association (VdA), Harald Krueger, CEO of German car maker BMW, Dieter Zetsche, chairman of German car maker Daimler AG and head of Mercedes-Benz cars, and Matthias Mueller, CEO of German car maker Volkswagen, take a seat to attend a so-called diesel summit on August 2, 2017 in Berlin. (credit: AXEL SCHMIDT/AFP/Getty Images)

On Friday, the European Union Commission accused BMW, Daimler, and Volkswagen Group (which makes VW, Audi, and Porsche vehicles) of colluding to limit emissions reduction technology in their diesel and gas vehicles.

The commission accused the three manufacturers of coordinating to limit the size and refill ranges of AdBlue tanks on their diesel vehicles made between 2006 and 2014. AdBlue is a urea-based liquid that is injected into exhaust gas to reduce the amount of nitrogen oxides (NOx) that are released during diesel combustion.

The commission also accused the three manufacturers of agreeing to avoid or delay the introduction of "Otto" particulate filters on gas-powered vehicles between 2009 and 2014.

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Posted in BMW, cars, daimler, emissions, Energy, fuel, Policy, Volkswagen | Comments (0)

862,520 Fiat-Chrysler vehicles have emissions issues, will be recalled

March 13th, 2019
RAM logo covered in snow.

Enlarge / The Fiat-Chrysler Automobiles NV Dodge Ram logo stands on display outside the company's Warren Truck Assembly plant in Detroit, Michigan, on Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2019. (credit: Anthony Lanzilote/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Issues with the catalytic converters of 862,520 Fiat-Chrysler vehicles are prompting a semi-voluntary recall, according to officials from the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the California Air Resources Board (CARB).

The vehicles in question include:

  • 2011-2016 Model Year (MY) Dodge Journey
  • 2011-2014 MY Chrysler 200/Dodge Avenger
  • 2011-2012 MY Dodge Caliber
  • 2011-2016 MY Jeep Compass/Patriot

The recall will be conducted in phases, with owners of older cars being notified first that they can bring their cars in to be fixed. The last phase is expected to begin in the fourth quarter of 2019. Unlike previous Fiat-Chrysler emissions recalls, these fixes require replacement parts.

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Posted in cars, diesel, emissions, Energy, Fiat Chrysler, Gas, Policy | Comments (0)

Electric car batteries might be worth recycling, but bus batteries aren’t yet

February 12th, 2019
A used electric vehicle battery.

Enlarge / A used lithium-ion electric vehicle battery sits at the 4R Energy Corporation Namie factory in Namie Town, Fukushima Prefecture, Japan, on Monday, Mar. 26, 2018. (credit: Akio Kon/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Bloomberg New Energy Finance predicts that there will be 559 million electric vehicles on the road by 2040. But electric vehicles don't last forever. And their batteries are not always filled with the kinds of materials you would want leaching into the environment if they're disposed of haphazardly. Policy makers and researchers have started considering how to deal with end-of-life on electric batteries, and recycling is often considered as a option.

Researchers from Carnegie Mellon University published a paper in Nature Sustainability this week that looks at the emissions and economic costs associated with recycling automotive batteries. They specifically addressed batteries with three types of cathode chemistry: nickel manganese cobalt oxide (NMC), nickel cobalt aluminum oxide (NCA), and iron phosphate (LFP). The first two cathode chemistries are common in passenger vehicles, and LFP is common in buses (bus maker BYD use LFP batteries, for example).

Since the packaging of batteries is important to the recycling method, cylindrical batteries (the types of cells that Tesla makes) are compared to pouch cell batteries in the analysis.

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Posted in batteries, battery electric vehicles, cars, cobalt, electric buses, emissions, Energy, lithium, science | Comments (0)

California’s cap-and-trade dollars are building a hydrogen fuel cell boat

November 8th, 2018
hydrogen fuel cell vehicle

Enlarge / A mock-up of what the Water-Go-Round may look like. (credit: Golden Gate Zero Emissions Marine)

All aboard: construction of a hydrogen fuel cell boat, with aims to be the first of its kind to run commercially, was announced on Thursday in San Francisco.

A startup called Golden Gate Zero Emission Marine (GGZEM) held a keel-laying ceremony on Thursday for its new, 70-foot hydrogen fuel cell ferry. The keel-laying ceremony marks the beginning of the construction of a vessel, and GGZEM expects that it will be completed by September 2019.

The boat, which will be called the Water-Go-Round, will likely be the first hydrogen fuel cell boat to run commercially, ferrying people around the San Francisco Bay. Generally, ferries tend to be diesel-powered, creating significant noise underwater, as well as greenhouse gas emissions and potential marine pollution from spills. By contrast, a hydrogen fuel cell boat would be quieter, and its only emissions while operating in the water would be more water.

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Posted in Biz & IT, boat, emissions, Energy, fuel cell, hydrogen, science | Comments (0)

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)

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)

Diesel VW owners could get up to $10,000 after settlement, sources say

June 28th, 2016

(credit: Erik B)

The evening before Volkswagen Group and the US Department of Justice (DOJ) are supposed to submit a settlement to San Francisco District Judge Charles Breyer, Bloomberg’s sources have leaked new details about that supposed settlement.

Last week, VW Group was rumored to offer a settlement of $10.2 billion, with $1,000- $7,000 per car affected by the diesel emissions scandal that’s rocked the company since September. Today, Bloomberg is reporting that that number has gone up to a total of about $15 billion, with affected diesel owners potentially getting up to $10,000 in compensation.

Bloomberg’s sources specify that VW Group will set aside $10.03 billion to pay back the owners of nearly 500,000 Volkswagen and Audi 2.0 L diesel engine vehicles in the United States. “Those figures could rise if VW misses certain deadlines,” the news outlet writes.

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Posted in Cars Technica, emissions, 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)