After the VW/Audi bombshell in which they admitted cheating on emissions tests, other manufacturers are trying to calm consumers’ fears about their diesel engines. For those who are not aware, VW engineers created software that only had certain emission controls active while they were being tested. Under normal driving conditions many systems were turned off thus improving performance and creating a more satisfying car to drive. I certainly enjoyed the performance of the Audi A3 TDI I drove this summer. Little did I know that my Audi “Clean Diesel” test car was anything but.
The result of VW’s malfeasance is that their TDI engines put as much as 40 times more pollutants in the air than allowed. VW’s Chairman, Martin Winterkorn, has already resigned over this scandal and several other executives and managers are rumored to be ousted very soon.
In a meeting I attended with Jaguar/Land Rover executives on Tuesday, they went to great pains to assure me their new Ingenium Diesel engines meet all EPA and other global emissions standards. And today BMW released this statement after the German magazine Auto Bild published an article in which one of their car’s seemed to exceed emissions statndards. Auto Bild has since retracted their claim, but not before BMW’s stock fell 30% yesterday.
BMW Group statement concerning the current discussion of diesel engines, Thursday, 24 September.
BMW Group is committed to observing the legal requirements in each country and fulfilling all local testing requirements.
In other words, our exhaust treatment systems are active whether rolling on the test bench or driving on the road.
Clear, binding specifications and processes are in place through all phases of development at the BMW Group in order to avoid wrongdoing.
Two studies carried out by the ICCT have confirmed that the BMW X5 and 13 other BMW vehicles tested comply with the legal requirements concerning NOx emissions. No discrepancies were found in the X5 between laboratory-test and field-test NOx emissions.
We are not familiar with the test results mentioned by Auto Bild on 24 September concerning the emissions of a BMW X3 during a road test. No specific details of the test have yet been provided and therefore we cannot explain these results. We are contacting the ICCT and asking for clarification of the test they carried out.
We are willing to discuss our testing procedures with the relevant authorities and to make our vehicles available for testing at any time.
The importance of diesel engines in achieving CO2 targets
Policymakers worldwide, and in particular in the European Union, are setting tough standards for CO2 and other emissions. The 2020 targets in Europe can only be fulfilled through extensive use of modern diesel engines and further electrification.
The progress achieved so far in CO2 reduction in Europe is largely due to the use of diesel technology. Meeting future requirements will not be feasible without diesel drive trains, since a diesel engine emits roughly 15 to 20 per cent less CO2 on average than a comparable petrol engine.
At the BMW Group, we have invested a great deal in recent years in refining and optimizing diesel technology.
At BMW, diesel vehicles accounted for 38% of vehicles sold worldwide last year: Europe 80%; Germany 73%; US 6%. This represents approx. 20,000 vehicles in the US in 2014.
The Euro 6 emissions standard, which took effect on 1 September 2015 and is binding for all new vehicle registrations, improves both environmental and consumer protection.
To bridge the gap between test results and real-life fuel consumption and emissions, the European Union is working on a new test cycle (WLTP) and an emissions test for real driving situations, known as “real driving emissions” or RDE. We support the swift introduction of the new regulations to create clarity for consumers and the industry as quickly as possible.
At this point VW/Porsche/Audi are barred from selling diesel powered vehicles until fixes are made and verified. We are confident that BMW and other luxury manufacturers have not conspired to game the system. If you want the superior fuel economy and torque inherent in a diesel engine, you can buy one of theirs with a clear conscience.