The Volkswagen AG dieselgate emission scandal has brought intense scrutiny over the technology, fueling detractors and could increase the shift towards regular and plug-in gasoline-electric hybrids.
There’s only one issue – at the moment the very cheap gasoline in some parts of the world – such as the United States, has affected tremendously the demand for greener (and more expensive) cars. The automotive industry has already been aiming to reach out towards green alternative power solutions, from regular hybrids to plug-in hybrids and electric powered by batteries or fuel cells. But the fallout from the VW diesel scandal, which has admitted last month to rigging diesel emission tests in the US and having on the roads 11 million cars equipped with illegal software, could massively impact the car sector. The German company is already feeling the “pain” after it posted its first quarterly loss in more than 15 years. Diesel technology – especially in Europe – has been considered a mainstream alternative to assist the industry reaching the tougher fuel economy and emissions standards, looks pretty vulnerable at the moment.
“Anybody can, with certainty, guess what’s going to happen … This (VW) scandal is not going to make diesel more popular in the United States. This scandal is not going to make diesel more popular in Japan,” commented Renault Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn on the sidelines of the Tokyo Motor Show. Experts and auto industry executives believe in the near future hybrids – especially plug-in hybrids – could emerge as a more mainstream solution, with Volkswagen itself aiming to focus on such alternative powered vehicles.