Europe: diesel debate could have automakers lose money image

Automakers involved in the European market are now preparing to make engines that are even more economical to meet the stringent emissions set for 2020-2021, but part of the powertrain effort – the one involving diesels is in danger now.

The European carmakers have been scrambling – at high costs – to meet the tougher emission set to take effect in the European Union between 2020-2021. But environmentalists and politicians have also been pressuring the automakers when it comes to diesel powertrains – which make up around half of annual sales. Consumers have been directed towards diesel engines for years through government taxes and policies because they are around 20 to 30 percent more fuel efficient than comparable petrol engines and thus emit lower amounts of carbon dioxide – which is believed to be the root cause of global warming. But the diesel engines are actually dirtier than modern gasoline counterparts – they emit larger amounts of nitrogen oxides (NOx), today considered a serious health problem. Even the new rules, Euro 6 have not been able to resolve the issue – the emission are measured in laboratories, with critics saying they render impossible results – which could never be achieved in real world conditions.

Detractors have called for tough actions to make automakers clean up their diesel cars. For example, a test designed to measure the engines under acceleration, had numerous vehicles – although certified as being compliant to the Euro 6 standard – fail it completely, Others, passed it very easy. The reason is simple – regulations can be met if the engine is built under the highest engineering standards.

Via Forbes