Monday, 25 February 2019

The future of diesel: “Are we all supposed to drive electric vehicles now?”

The car industry has been trying to green itself, but then back in September 2015, we had 'Dieselgate' erupt upon us:
Volkswagen emissions scandal - Wikipedia
"Dieselgate" - a timeline of Germany's car emissions fraud scandal | Clean Energy Wire

Which raised all sorts of other issues:
Futures Forum: VW... and making 'wholly opaque disposable vehicles' >>> rather than making vehicles which 'run for a long time and are easy to fix'
Futures Forum: The fall and rise of the Electric Vehicle ... and yet "the electricity power grid needed behind the recharging still uses fossil fuels."

Not least, a year ago when further manipulation of testing was uncovered:
Suppressed: rigged diesel tests on monkeys showed new cars more harmful than 20-year-old models - Telegraph 

10 Monkeys and a Beetle: Inside VW’s Campaign for ‘Clean Diesel’

By Jack Ewing
Jan. 25, 2018

FRANKFURT — In 2014, as evidence mounted about the harmful effects of diesel exhaust on human health, scientists in an Albuquerque laboratory conducted an unusual experiment: Ten monkeys squatted in airtight chambers, watching cartoons for entertainment as they inhaled fumes from a diesel Volkswagen Beetle.

German automakers had financed the experiment in an attempt to prove that diesel vehicles with the latest technology were cleaner than the smoky models of old. But the American scientists conducting the test were unaware of one critical fact: The Beetle provided by Volkswagen had been rigged to produce pollution levels that were far less harmful in the lab than they were on the road.

The results were being deliberately manipulated.


10 Monkeys and a Beetle: Inside VW’s Campaign for ‘Clean Diesel’ - The New York Times

And this week things continued to look bad for VW:

VW Dieselgate woes continue after German court decision

Federal court decision in favour of disgruntled customers means Volkswagen may have to compensate Europeans too

by Greg Kable
22 February 2019

The Volkswagen Group has been dealt a severe setback in its efforts to put a close to the diesel emissions scandal following a decision by Germany’s top court that may force it to compensate thousands of European customers.

In a surprise ruling handed down on Friday, Germany’s Federal Court of Justice rebuked VW Group arguments that the cheat software it fitted to various diesel models was legal under European Union law, and therefore resolved it of any responsibility to compensate customers.

The court, acting on a case originally set to be heard on February 27, 2019, but since withdrawn at the behest of the plaintiff, brought down its decision, classifying the cheat software as a “material defect”.

In a statement, the court said the Volkswagen Group was obliged to provide customers with a car free from defects.

The decision is thought to open new legal avenues to customers seeking to claim compensation on the basis that the car they were sold was not representative of that advertised. In certain cases, it may even force the Volkswagen Group to provide customers with a brand new car, even if the car in question has been superseded by a new model.


VW Dieselgate woes continue after German court decision | Autocar

And meanwhile, we have a parallel court case going on over the relaxation of emissions:
Brussels to appeal Dieselgate ruling - Financial Times
EU commission appeals Dieselgate ruling - EU Observer 

Finally, in the UK, diesel clearly doesn't have a future - although what future car technologies there will be is not clear:

Car industry: What's behind recent closures? - BBC News 

And in Germany, home of VW, there is a backlash: 

Yellow Vests hit German streets in pro-diesel protests - France 24 


“Are we all supposed to drive electric vehicles now?”

By Wolfgang Kerler Feb 22, 2019, 9:00am EST

Germany is divided about the future of its most important industry: while some automakers pursue electric vehicles, a noisy group of diesel-energy enthusiasts are expressing their frustration through protests. These have gone on every weekend so far this year, since the first on January 11th.

The first protest took place in Stuttgart — the hometown of Daimler, Bosch, and Porsche — and was organized by Ioannis Sakkaros, who works as a mechatronics technician for Porsche. Since then, hundreds of protesters wearing yellow vests have gathered each weekend to rally against court-mandated driving bans for older diesel cars. The bans were put in place in response to excessive air pollution.

At a rally on February 9th in Munich, where BMW’s headquarters is located, dozens of people chanted a pro-diesel rhyme together, and cheered on speakers who accused “eco-fascists” and “green ideologists” of wanting to destroy the car industry. A man earned applause from the crowd for calling electric vehicles “hazardous waste.”


The debate about the future of cars — diesel or electric — is emotional for many Germans, as the auto industry and its dependent companies employ 1.8 million people, hundreds of thousands of whom work directly with internal combustion engines. But new carbon emission limits and pending bans on diesel and gasoline cars in major markets threaten their livelihoods. German cars are big business, bringing in almost $500 billion annually. And a successful switch to electromobility will cost 114,000 jobs in Germany by 2035, according to predictions from the Institute for Employment Research. After all, electric motors require significantly fewer components and less maintenance than internal combustion engines — which means an annual economic loss that will grow to reach $22 billion in 2035.

“The diesel is only the beginning,” Michael Haberland, who organized the protest in Munich, tells The Verge. “The gasoline engine is next.” Haberland is president of Mobil in Deutschland, a motor club. He feels the European emission limits for air pollution, which are responsible for driving bans, are nonsense. “Are we all supposed to drive electric vehicles now?” he asks. “They just don’t work. The diesel engine, on the other hand, has been a success story for more than 125 years.”

Volkswagen, the largest car manufacturer in Germany (and the world), disagrees with Haberland’s assessment. Last December, VW’s strategy chief surprised the industry when he announced that the company’s final generation of combustion engines will be launched in 2026. After 2040, Volkswagen wants to only sell electric vehicles. Other German manufacturers have not yet presented a deadline for their final traditional engines, but BMW, Daimler, and Porsche are also starting an EV offensive with dozens of new models lined up, investments in battery factories, and the development of rapid charging stations.

But the car industry isn’t united — many managers, especially from the supply industry, share the skepticism of the protesters. More than half of Western European car managers expect electric mobility to fail, according to a 2018 survey by KPMG, a consulting company with significant car world expertise.


In the face of electric vehicles, some Germans fight for their diesel - The Verge


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