Germany paves way for upgrading exhaust systems on older diesel cars
Petroleumworld 12 31 2018
Germany on Friday cleared away legal hurdles for carmakers to upgrade exhaust emissions filtering systems on older diesel cars as a way to avoid vehicle bans, but failed to quell doubts among manufacturers and suppliers over the effectiveness of retrofits.
Carmakers have been forced to consider upgrading exhaust treatment systems on older cars after German cities started banning heavily polluting diesel vehicles to cut pollution from fine particulate matter and toxic nitrogen oxides.
The fight over refits is the latest fallout from an emissions cheating scandal triggered by Volkswagen in 2015 after it admitted systematically hiding illegal pollution levels from regulators.
An environmental and regulatory backlash ensued and lawmakers and the auto industry are now at odds over how to clean up dirty air in inner cities.
Carmakers want customers to buy new cars with cleaner engines, while environmentalists and consumer groups argue that retrofitting older vehicles may be more cost-effective.
The transport ministry on Friday released a 30-page document setting out guidelines for getting regulatory approval to install upgraded exhaust filtering systems on older cars.
“Now it is the turn of the retrofit industry to develop effective systems to meet all limits and regulations,” transport minister Andreas Scheuer said in a statement.
The Federal Motor Transport Authority would grant approval quickly so that the retrofit systems could be offered on the market as soon as possible, he added.
Baumot Group, which makes exhaust filtering upgrade kits, welcomed the guidelines. “Under a normal vehicle certification process, we believe we can deliver our system in 2019 in a timely fashion,” said Marcus Hausser, the company's chief executive.
German auto lobby group VDA, however, said that customers should buy new cars rather than spend money on installing new exhaust filtering mechanisms on older vehicles.
“We cannot give a guarantee for a vehicle in which third-party exhaust purification systems have been retrofitted,” VDA president Bernhard Mattes told Die Welt newspaper. “If a customer has his vehicle modified, then he and the retrofitter are responsible for any consequential damage.”
German environmental lobby group Deutsche Umwelthilfe (DUH) won a landmark ruling in February to force diesel bans after it sued cities that failed to meet clean air rules.
Cities have considered banning older vehicles which do not conform to the latest Euro 6d engine emissions standards.
Hamburg has banned older diesel cars from the city centre, and other cities, including Berlin and Stuttgart, the home of Germany's car industry, are set to introduce similar bans.
Of the 15 million diesel cars on Germany's roads, only 2.7 million have Euro-6 technology. Evercore ISI has estimated that upgrading the exhaust cleaning of just the Euro-5 fleet could cost up to 14.5 billion euros ($17.9 billion).
German carmakers have already agreed to spend up to 3,000 euros ($3,431) per vehicle to upgrade engine management software to make exhaust filtering systems more effective, but environmentalists say these measures are insufficient.
Carmakers are divided over who will pay the retrofit costs, given that most older diesel cars met clean air rules at the time when they were sold.
Volkswagen and Daimler announced they would cover some retrofit costs, while rival BMW has refused, only proposing incentives to trade in old vehicles for new ones.
Volkswagen said on Friday that customers may not benefit from installing new exhaust systems on older cars.
“All concepts known to us to date have disadvantages for our customers, such as increased fuel consumption and thus increased CO2 emissions and, in some cases, reduced performance,” VW research and development head Frank Welsch said in a statement.
BMW said exhaust system upgrades that would not penalise fuel consumption or cause additional wear and tear could take up to three years to develop and certify.
Selling newer cars through incentives combined with the ramp-up of electric car charging infrastructure would bring down pollution levels in inner cities much faster than trying to retrofit older vehicles, BMW said on Friday.
Supplier Continental supported the carmakers' critical stance. A spokesman said developing retrofits for each model would be extremely costly and time-consuming.
Paris, Madrid, Mexico City and Athens have said they plan to ban diesel vehicles from city centres by 2025, while the mayor of Copenhagen wants to ban new diesel cars from entering the city as soon as next year. France and Britain will ban new petrol and diesel cars by 2040.
($1 = 0.8742 euros)
We invite you to join us as a sponsor. Circulated Videos, Articles, Opinions and Reports which carry your name and brand are used to target Entrepreneurs through our site, promoting your organization’s services. The opportunity is to insert in our stories pages short attention-grabbing videos, or to publish your own feature stories.
Reporting by Arno Schuetze, Paul Carrel, Hans Seidenstücker, Jan Schwartz; writing by Edward Taylor; editing by David Evans and Adrian Croft from Reuters.
reuters.com 12 28 2018
Hit your target - Advertise with us
PW 300.000 plus request per week
Copyright© 1999-2018 Petroleumworld or respective author or news agency. All rights reserved.
We welcome the use of Petroleumworld™ (PW) stories by anyone provided it mentions Petroleumworld.com as the source.
Other stories you have to get authorization by its authors. Internet web links to http://www.petroleumworld.com are appreciated.
Petroleumworld welcomes your feedback and comments, share your thoughts on this article, your feedback is important to us!
We invite all our readers to share with us
their views and comments about this article.
Write to firstname.lastname@example.org
By using this link, you agree to allow PW
to publish your comments on our letters page.
Any question or suggestions,
please write to: email@example.com
Best Viewed with IE 5.01+ Windows NT 4.0, '95,
'98,ME,XP, Vista, Windows 7,8,10 +/ 800x600 pixels