Archive for the ‘emissions’ Category

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)

GM says it misstated fuel economy, Opel denies emissions cheating allegations

May 19th, 2016

(credit: valérie kuki)

This week brought confusion for General Motors and its German subsidiary Opel.

US-based General Motors told the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that it had misstated the fuel economy on some 130,000 Chevy Traverses, GMC Acadias, and Buick Enclaves from 2016, overestimating the cars’ mileage by 1-2 miles per gallon. GM has said it will compensate customers for the miles per gallon they thought they were getting, possibly with gift cards. The automaker also halted the sales of another 60,000 affected vehicles.

GM said that the misstated mileage came from incorrect calculations made by the company when it was updating numbers for their 2016 models. The company said that new “emissions-related” hardware had changed the cars’ miles per gallon, and GM failed to take that change into account. GM noted that its engineers discovered the error as they were working on the 2017 models.

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Posted in Cars Technica, emissions, GM, Opel, Volkswagen | Comments (0)

Japan finds emissions issues in diesels from Toyota, Mitsubishi, Nissan

March 4th, 2016

(credit: tokyoform)

On Friday Japan’s Ministry of Transportation said that it had found discrepancies between lab and real-world emissions measurements for diesel vehicles from Toyota, Nissan, and Mitsubishi. However, the ministry said that it had not found any illegal software on the vehicles and that the automakers had not violated any of Japan’s regulations.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Toyota’s Hiace van and the Land Cruiser Prado sport-utility vehicle, as well as Nissan’s X-Trail SUV and Mitsubishi’s Delica D:5 all emitted between four and 10 times the amount of nitrogen oxide (NOx) that is allowed in Japan’s real-world driving tests.

Japan has been testing vehicles sold in the country after the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) discovered that diesel vehicles sold by Volkswagen Group were emitting many times the legal limit of NOx due to illegal software placed on the cars that let them cheat on lab testing conducted by regulators. The ensuing scandal has sent Volkswagen’s stock into a nosedive and has potentially put the company on the hook for tens of billions of dollars in fines.

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Posted in Cars Technica, diesel, emissions, mazda, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Toyota | Comments (0)

Volkswagen stock falls 20%, CEO apologizes for emissions cheat

September 21st, 2015

On Monday morning, shares of Volkswagen Group plummeted more than 20 percent on the Deutsche Börse, Germany’s stock exchange in Frankfurt. The loss followed news on Friday morning that the automaker had installed “defeat devices” on many of its most recent diesel car models.

Defeat device software detects when a car is undergoing emissions testing and burns fuel according to testing standards. When the car is driving under normal operating conditions, however, it will burn fuel without regard to stricter standards, releasing even more pollutants into the air than normal. Some 500,000 Volkswagens and Audis manufactured after 2009 had these defeat devices installed, and they were found to release nitrogen oxide (NOx), which can cause respiratory problems like asthma, into the air at 10 to 40 times the levels permitted by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

On Sunday, Volkswagen Group said that it would stop selling used cars named by the EPA for having defeat devices installed. Volkswagen also said it would stop selling “2015 and 2016 Volkswagen and Audi models equipped with 4-cylinder turbo diesel engines, which the company has marketed as ‘clean diesel,’” the New York Times reported.

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