[Due to the increasing size of the archives, each topic page now contains only the prior 365 days of content. Access to older stories is now solely through the Monthly Archive pages or the site search function.]
Toyota to produce hybrid transaxle and new gasoline engines in Poland; adjusting to shrinking diesel share in Europe
October 20, 2016
Toyota Motor Europe will start production of a hybrid transaxle in 2018 at Toyota Motor Manufacturing Poland (TMMP) in Walbrzych, and add two gasoline engines—a 1.5L in 2017 and a 2.0L in 2019—at Toyota Motor Industries, Poland (TMIP) in Jelcz-Laskowice. Combined, the new projects represent an additional investment of approximately €150 million (US$165 million), bringing the total investment to-date of Toyota’s manufacturing operations in Poland to more than €950 million (US$1 billion) since operations started in 2002.
The hybrid transaxle to be produced at TMMP is a key part of Toyota’s hybrid powertrain, and will be fitted with the 1.8L ZR engine. This hybrid engine equips all Toyota Auris and Auris Touring Sports Hybrid vehicles sold in Europe, and will equip the new crossover Toyota C-HR when it starts production at the end of this year.
FCA, IVECO and Snam sign MoU for development of natural gas as an environmentally friendly vehicle fuel
October 06, 2016
Alfredo Altavilla (Chief Operating Officer of FCA EMEA Region), Pierre Lahutte (IVECO Brand President) and Marco Alverà (Chief Executive Officer of Snam), signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) aimed at fostering the development of natural gas as a fuel for road vehicles. The MoU was signed in the presence of Italy’s Minister of Economic Development Carlo Calenda and Minister of Infrastructure and Transport Graziano Delrio, and is part of a wider set of initiatives to promote sustainable mobility.
Italy is the leading European market for natural gas consumption for vehicles, with more than 1 billion cubic meters consumed in 2015 and about 1 million vehicles currently in circulation. Italy’s natural gas value chain in the transport sector is globally recognized for its technological and environmental excellence, and Italy is also able to leverage Europe’s largest, most accessible gas pipeline network, stretching over more than 32,000 km (20,000 miles).
Toyota Motor Europe hybrid sales up 45% year-to-date; targeting 50% hybrid take-rate by 2020
September 27, 2016
Toyota Motor Europe (TME) reported that sales of hybrids have increased 45% so far this year compared with the same period in 2015—which was already a record year. The company is tracking to sell close to 300,000 hybrids this year, said Karl Schlicht, Executive Vice President of TME.
31% of Toyota Motor Europe’s customers have opted for a hybrid powertrain in 2016; 41% in Western Europe alone. Toyota’s target is to reach 50% of its European sales with hybrid vehicles by 2020, with a hybrid version in every major market segment.
EEA: large-scale roll-out of EVs will help EU shift to green transport, but may challenge power grid
A large scale roll-out of electric cars on European roads would result in significantly lower greenhouse gas emissions and lower levels of certain air pollutants, according to a new European Environment Agency (EEA) assessment. However, widespread use of such vehicles would pose challenges for Europe’s power grid in meeting increased electricity demand.
The EEA briefing Electric vehicles and the energy sector — impacts on Europe’s future emissions looks at the impact of different scenarios that take into account the increased use of electric cars and their effect on the European Union’s (EU) energy system, and on emissions of greenhouse gases and selected air pollutants.
T&E: VW sells least polluting Euro 6 diesels in Europe; no brand meets Euro 6 in real-world driving; loopholes & defeat strategies
September 26, 2016
A new study by Transport & Environment (T&E) shows that Volkswagen is currently selling the least polluting (Euro 6) diesel vehicles. However, the report “Dieselgate: Who? What? How?” also found that no brand in Europe complies with the latest Euro 6 air pollution limits for diesel cars and vans in real-world driving.
For the in-house analysis, T&E analyzed emissions test data from around 230 diesel car models. Data were taken from the investigations conducted by the British, French and German governments, as well as a large public database. The carmakers’ ranking was built with on-road performance figures mostly measured in real world driving. Among the real-world findings per car brand:
Cummins introduces next-gen X-series Euro 6 engines; up to 605 hp
September 22, 2016
At the IAA Show in Germany, Cummins Inc. revealed the next generation X Series for heavy-duty truck applications with 15-liter and 12-liter displacements to meet Euro 6 (VI) and equivalent emissions standards as they become globally adopted from 2019 onward.
Across a broad 350 hp to 605 hp (260-451 kW) range, the X Series introduces an innovative approach to duty-cycle optimization with a medium-bore X12 engine and two big-bore configurations, available as the X15 Efficiency Series and the X15 Performance Series.
Cummins Euro 6 engines compatibile with HVO renewable diesel & other paraffinic fuels; fuels at “point of commercial maturity”
Cummins Inc. announced Euro 6 (VI) engine compatibility for use with Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil (HVO) renewable diesel and other EN 15940 paraffinic fuels, representing a significant step forward to reduce the carbon footprint of Cummins-powered bus, truck and coach fleets operating in Europe.
Compared with conventional fossil-based diesel, HVO offers the potential to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 40 to 90 percent over the total life cycle of the fuel, dependent on the level of sustainable feedstock used in the production process.
Researchers find magnetite nanoparticles similar to those from traffic pollution in brain; possible link with Alzheimer’s
September 06, 2016
Researchers from the UK, Mexico and the US have found abundant magnetite nanoparticles in the brain tissue from 37 individuals aged three- to 92-years-old who lived in Mexico City and Manchester, UK. This strongly magnetic mineral has been implicated in the production of reactive oxygen species (free radicals) in the human brain, which are associated with neurodegenerative diseases including Alzheimer’s disease (e.g., Hautot et al. 2003). Their paper is being published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).
Professor Barbara Maher, from Lancaster Environment Centre, and colleagues (from Oxford, Glasgow, Manchester and Mexico City) used spectroscopic analysis to identify the particles as magnetite. Unlike angular magnetite particles that are believed to form naturally within the brain (i.e., biogenic), most of the observed particles were spherical, with diameters up to 150 nm, some with fused surfaces, all characteristic of high-temperature formation—such as from vehicle (particularly diesel) engines or open fires.
Peugeot brings BlueHDi diesel engines to Boxer commercial vans; 6-speed manual, Stop & Start
September 05, 2016
Peugeot is completing the roll-out of its range of Euro 6 engines with the large van segment. The Peugeot Boxer will now be available with a new range of 2.0 BlueHDi diesel engines (earlier post), designed and produced by the PSA Group.
BlueHDi technology has been tried and tested in Peugeot saloons and SUVs since 2013, treating up to 90% of NOx and 99.9% of even the finest particulates. The new range of Peugeot Boxer 2.0 L BlueHDi engines offers 3 power levels for the core market:
KCL study finds London air pollution from traffic improving, but continues to exceed limits in many parts of city
New research by scientists at King’s College London suggests that air pollution from London’s roads is improving overall but more work may be needed to tackle some sources of traffic pollution, which continue to breach limits in many parts of the city.
The study, published as an open-access paper in the journal Environmental Pollution, examined trends in air pollution over a ten-year period spanning 2005 to 2014, using data collected from 65 roads. Researchers looked at changes in a number of pollutants including nitrogen dioxide (NO2 ), particulate matter as fine (PM2.5) and coarser (PM10) particles, carbon dioxide (CO2) and black carbon.
Samsung SDI building Li-ion battery plant in Hungary; global triangular production structure
August 31, 2016
Samsung SDI has decided to use Hungary as its Li-ion battery production base in Europe. The new battery plant will be built in Goed, north of Budapest in a 330,000 m2 site, using existing facilities previously used for display production. The new facility in Hungary will enable Samsung SDI to establish a global triangular production structure along with existing plants in Ulsan, Korea and Xian, China.
Aiming to start commercial production in 2nd half of 2018, the company will build production lines with annual capacity of batteries for 50,000 pure electric vehicles, investing around 400 billion won (~US$358 million).
Opel introducing Ampera-e at Paris Show; European cousin of Chevy Bolt
August 24, 2016
In the run-up to the world premiere, Opel is touting the performance of the battery-electric vehicle. With maximum torque of 360 N·m from the 150 kW electric motor, the compact car accelerates from 0 to 50 km/h (31 mph) in 3.2 seconds; acceleration from 80 to 120 km/h (50 to 75 mph) for overtaking in 4.5 seconds (provisional figures). The Ampera-e thus performs at the same level as OPC models, the sporty spearheads of Opel.
Survey: Norwegian PHEVs drive electrically 55% of time, BEVs driven more in total and in everyday traffic
August 16, 2016
Norway leads the European market for plug-in vehicles, with more than 105,000 units registered through May 2016. A recent survey of 8,000 vehicle owners in Norway by Norway’s Institute of Transport Economics found that plug-in hybrids there drive electrically with power from the grid 55% of the time (and 63% on work trips), while battery electric vehicles are driven more in total and in everyday traffic.
The survey also found that buyers of battery electric vehicles and plug-in hybrid vehicles have different transport needs but both are motivated by economy of use and environment; battery electric vehicle owners are also motivated by a free toll road incentive. Battery electric vehicle owners are younger, have more children, a longer distance to drive work and own more vehicles than other vehicle owners.
European Strategy for low-emission mobility stresses digital tech, electrification and ZEVs
July 22, 2016
Earlier this week, the European Commission published a strategy for low-emission mobility, which sets out guiding principles to Member States to prepare for the future. EU legislation currently refers to low-emission vehicles as vehicles having tailpipe emissions below 50 g/km. This would include some plug-in hybrids, full electric cars and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles. The latter two examples also represent zero-emission vehicles.
The low-emission mobility strategy will frame the initiatives that the Commission is planning in the coming years, and it maps the areas in which it is exploring options. It also shows how initiatives in related fields are linked and how synergies can be achieved. In parallel to this strategy, the Commission is launching public consultations on the approach towards reducing emissions from road transport: cars and vans as well as trucks, buses and coaches.
European Commission fines truck producers record €2.93B for colluding to pass on emission compliance costs
The European Commission found that truck makers MAN, Volvo/Renault, Daimler, Iveco, and DAF broke EU antitrust rules by colluding for 14 years on truck pricing and on passing on the costs of compliance with stricter emission rules. The Commission has imposed a record fine of €2,926,499,000 (US$3.22 billion).
MAN was not fined as it revealed the existence of the cartel to the Commission. All companies acknowledged their involvement and agreed to settle the case.
Automotive and telecoms sectors to launch EU project for connected and automated driving
July 07, 2016
Europe’s leading trade associations for the telecommunications and the automotive sectors intend to launch a large-scale, pre-deployment project to test connected and automated driving at the EU level.
The industry-led project will focus on use cases and test functionalities in three main areas: automated driving, road safety and traffic efficiency, and the digitalisation of transports and logistics. Functions that are being considered include high density platooning, cooperative collision avoidance, remote control parking, local-hazard warnings and traffic flow optimization. High definition maps will be updated with a fast connection to the internet on phone or other mobile devices.
BYD announces its first 16 electric buses sold in France; RATP trial; expanding capacity in China
June 19, 2016
At the Transport Publics event this last week in Paris, BYD announced orders for 16 of its all new battery-electric buses and coaches to French operators. BYD also announced a six-month trial with Paris operator RATP and unveiled its 12 meter single deck bus—displayed for the first time in France. BYD is the world’s largest manufacturer of battery-electric buses, having produced 10,000 units so far.
BYD France’s first customer is B.E. Green of Yvelines near Paris which has ordered three BYD pure electric coaches and one 12m BYD ebus to add to its 100% electric fleet. The Nedroma Group of Athis Mons, also close to Paris, has ordered 12 BYD electric coaches—the largest order so far for this new model from a Western customer.
€100M H2ME 2 launches: 2nd pan-European deployment of H2 refueling infrastructure and fuel cell vehicles
June 14, 2016
A second pan-European deployment of hydrogen refueling infrastructure, and passenger and commercial fuel cell electric vehicles has now launched. The six-year H2ME 2 project brings together 37 partners from across Europe.
H2ME 2 will include the deployment and operation of 1,230 fuel cell vehicles, the addition of 20 extra hydrogen-refueling stations (HRS) to the European network and will test the ability of electrolyzer-HRS to help balance the electrical grid. The project has been developed under the auspices of the Hydrogen Mobility Europe (H2ME) initiative and supported by the Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking (FCH JU) with funding from the European Union Horizon 2020 program.
PSA Group outlines powertrain production strategy: gasoline PHEVs, EVs and next-gen diesel and gasoline engines
May 25, 2016
As part of the energy transition process and in line with the technological offensive spelled out in its Push to Pass strategic plan (earlier post), PSA Group will focus on diversifying its offerings with plug-in hybrid gasoline systems and next-generation electric powertrains. The latter will be used in particular to equip e-CMP, its future electric platform developed in partnership with Dongfeng Motors. (Earlier post.) At the same time, the Group will continue to develop next-generation internal combustion engines, both gasoline and diesel.
For strategic reasons, PSA Group will manufacture the main electric powertrain components in France, signalling its determination to develop high-tech operations in profitable niche markets. The electric powertrain will be produced at the Trémery/Metz centre of excellence, while the gear systems will be manufactured at the Valenciennes plant.
Euro Big 5 auto markets up 8.6% in April, SUVs continue to dominate; shift in segment shares
May 13, 2016
Led by strong growth in Spain and Italy, new car registrations in Europe’s Big 5 markets grew by 8.6% to 958,400 units in April 2016, according to the latest figures from JATO Dyanmics. After the UK’s traditional volume peak in March, which saw registrations rise to 1.36 million, April produced further gains across the top five European markets with SUVs driving higher volume and counting for 24.4% and 24.9% of April’s and YTD’s totals respectively. The Seasonally Adjusted Annual Rate (SAAR) came in at 11.35 million, up from March registrations of 11.04 million and significantly higher than the 10.48 million in April 2015.
Germany continued to lead the market, with volume up by 8.4% at 315,900 units, accounting for a third of the Big 5’s total. After a relatively flat March, April saw registrations grow healthily, bringing the YTD total to 1.11 million units, up by 5.6% over January-April 2015. April’s volume for Germany was the highest since 2009. The UK also saw positive growth—despite only seeing a 2.0% rise on April 2015, last month was the best April for UK car registrations for a decade.
Nissan and Enel to launch major V2G trial in the UK; LEAF and e-NV200
May 10, 2016
Nissan and multinational power company Enel will launch the first major vehicle-to-grid (V2G) trial carried out in the UK. The partners will install and connect 100 V2G units at locations agreed upon by private and fleet owners of the Nissan LEAF and e-NV200 electric van. By giving Nissan electric vehicle owners the ability to plug their vehicles into the V2G system, owners will have the flexibility and power to sell stored energy from their vehicle battery back to the National Grid.
The announcement follows the signing of a partnership agreement between Nissan and Enel in Paris in December 2015 during the 21st UN Conference on Climate Change (COP21) to trial V2G technology in Europe. (Earlier post.) A trial comprising 40 V2G units began in Denmark in January 2016.
Roland Berger study outlines integrated vehicle and fuels roadmap for further abating transport GHG emissions 2030+ at lowest societal cost
April 30, 2016
A new study by consultancy Roland Berger defines an integrated roadmap for European road transport decarbonization to 2030 and beyond; the current regulatory framework for vehicle emissions, carbon intensity of fuels and use of renewable fuels covers only up to 2020/2021.
The study was commissioned by a coalition of fuel suppliers and automotive companies with a view to identifying a roadmap to 2030+ to identify GHG abatement options at the lowest cost to society. The coalition comprises BMW, Daimler, Honda, NEOT/St1, Neste, OMV, Shell, Toyota and Volkswagen. Among the key findings of the study were:
Germany pumping €1B into plug-in vehicle subsidies, infrastructure; base price cap of €60K
April 27, 2016
The German government will put approximately €1 billion (US$1.1 billion) into subsidies for plug-in vehicles and the supporting charging infrastructure, beginning next month.
Electric car buyers will receive a €4,000 (US$4,500) subsidy; buyers of plug-ins will receive €3,000 (US$3,400). Half of the amount will be provided by the government, the other half by automakers. The total funding is limited to €1.2 billion (US$1.4 billion) (€600 million from the federal government, €600 million from the auto industry) and has a term expiring no later than 2019.
Ford introduces new 2.0L EcoBlue diesel; fuel consumption cut by up to 13%
April 26, 2016
In Europe, Ford revealed the all-new 2.0-liter EcoBlue diesel engine—the first in a new range of diesels that will offer optimized fuel efficiency and reduced CO2 and NOx emissions. Building on the performance and technology of Ford’s award-winning EcoBoost gasoline engines, the EcoBlue diesel range will deliver power outputs ranging from 100 PS to 240 PS (99 to 237 hp).
The four-cylinder 2.0-liter Ford EcoBlue debuts in the new Transit and Transit Custom commercial vehicles, increasing fuel efficiency by more than 10%. Drivability is enhanced with 20% more torque at 1,250 rpm compared with the outgoing equivalent power 2.2-liter TDCi diesel engine. The new engine also delivers passenger car refinement to the commercial segment, reducing radiated noise by 4 decibels at idle.
European Transport Ministers sign Amsterdam Declaration on steps for development and harmonization of connected, autonomous driving in Europe
April 15, 2016
On 14 April, the transport ministers of all 28 EU member states signed the Amsterdam Declaration, laying down agreements on the steps necessary for the development of connected, autonomous driving technology in the EU. The signatories pledge to draw up rules and regulations that will allow autonomous vehicles to be used on the roads.
A lack of good cooperation between EU member states could give rise to a jumble of different rules, thereby preventing the large-scale availability of this new technology. Agreements also need to be made on issues such as liability, privacy, data security and the effects of self-driving vehicles on traffic and the road network.
Toyota Motor Europe hybrid sales up 38% in first quarter; 30% hybrid mix
April 14, 2016
Toyota Motor Europe (TME) reported a 38% increase in its Q1 2016 hybrid sales (Toyota and Lexus brands) versus the same period last year, representing 30% of total sales, compared to 24% for the full calendar year 2015. The Toyota brand hybrids accounted for 59,608 units (+43% year-on-year) for a hybrid mix of 27%; Lexus brand hybrids posted 12,141 units (+15% year-on-year), for a hybrid mix of 67%.
Total TME sales for the first quarter of 2016 were 241,600 Toyota and Lexus vehicles, an increase of 5.1% from Q1 2015, in a European market still split between growth in the West and Central Europe (+7.9%) and further decline in the East (-10%). Total market share for the group stood at 4.8%.
Opel outlines steps in engineering initiative for WLTP-based fuel consumption numbers and improved NOx reduction
March 29, 2016
Starting with the new Opel Astra from June 2016 onwards, and in addition to the official fuel consumption and CO2 information, Opel will publish fuel consumption numbers reflecting different driving behavior recorded under the WLTP test cycle. In addition, Opel will implement an initiative to improve NOx emissions on SCR (Selective Catalytic Reduction) diesel applications in new vehicles from August onwards.
Six automated truck platoons to compete in European Truck Platooning Challenge
March 25, 2016
At the end of this month, six automated truck platoons—representing 6 different truck OEMs and their partners—will leave several European cities of origin and drive along public roads, targeting arrival at the APM Terminals, Maasvlakte II, Rotterdam on 6 April. This European Truck Platooning Challenge represents large-scale testing of cross-border automated truck-platooning; its aim is to bring platooning one step closer to implementation.
Truck Platooning involves trucks driving a short distance apart using automated driving technology; platooning offers benefits in terms of fuel consumption and CO2 emissions, safety and the flow of traffic. The Truck Platooning Challenge will demonstrate that a second vehicle is technically capable of automatically following the combination ahead using wireless communications, radar and cameras.
CNG Fuels and National Grid unveil first high-pressure grid-connected CNG filling station; biomethane option
March 21, 2016
UK-based CNG Fuels, in partnership with National Grid, has unveiled a new state-of-the-art filling station in Leyland, Lancashire, allowing vehicles to fill up on compressed natural gas (CNG) directly from the high-pressure local transmission system.
The new facility is the first of its kind in the UK and features a high-pressure connection, delivered by National Grid. This key piece of transport infrastructure is capable of refueling more than five hundred HGVs per day. The first major customer, Waitrose, part of the John Lewis Partnership, filled up at the new facility at unveiling, as a fleet of branded heavy-duty trucks rolled onto the forecourt.
H2 Logic delivers 9th H2 fueling station for Denmark; 100% renewable hydrogen, 1st country-wide station network
March 04, 2016
H2 Logic has delivered the ninth hydrogen fueling station in Denmark. The latest site was inaugurated in Kolding. This narrows the driving distance to the nearest station in Hamburg, Germany to only 245 km (150 miles) making cross-border driving on hydrogen more feasible. The station in Kolding is the third to open in Denmark during the past six months, and in total the ninth public accessible hydrogen station in 24/7 operation throughout Denmark.
Additional H2Stations are planned during 2016 which will ensure that 50% of Danish population will have less than 15 kilometers to hydrogen fueling. Already today hydrogen available is in all of the major cities across the country, making it the first countrywide hydrogen station network in the world.
Initial results from French NOx emissions testing of 100 diesels show high discrepancies between official and on-the-road results
February 29, 2016
Two French environmental NGOs—France Nature Environment (FNE) and Réseau Action Climat (RAC)—along with European umbrella NGO Transport & Environment (T&E), have released initial test results from the Royal Commission’s inquiry into diesel engine NOx emissions in France. The initial results from 22 vehicles from different automakers highlight the discrepancy between the emissions levels measured in official testing and those emitted by cars on the road.
French environment minister Ségolène Royal established the commission last October following the Volkswagen scandal and concerns that the rigging of emissions testing procedures might be happening at other carmaking companies. The Royal Commission is testing 100 vehicles.
European Parliament rejects proposed veto of plan to raise diesel NOx limits temporarily for RDE deployment
February 03, 2016
Members of the European Parliament voted yesterday to reject a proposed veto of the plan to raise NOx emission limits for diesel cars temporarily by up to 110% when the Real Driving Emissions (RDE) test procedure is introduced. The EU Commission promised a review clause and tabled a long-term legislative proposal to revamp the EU car approval regime, leading to the vote. (Earlier post.)
According to the European Commission, the transitional relaxation of limits is justified by the need to take account of technical uncertainties to do with the use of the new Portable Emission Measurement Systems (PEMS) device used for RDE testing, as well as “technical limits to improving the real world emission performance of currently produced diesel cars in the short-term.”
Volkswagen Group begins EA189 diesel engine emission fixes in Europe; 2.0L Amarok first
In December 2015, the Volkswagen Group presented specific technical measures to the German Federal Motor Transport Authority (KBA) for the EA189 engines affected by the NOx issue. (Earlier post.) As agreed, the Group began implementing the measures in Germany at the end of January for 2.0L engines.
Volkswagen is starting with the Amarok (a mid-size pickup truck produced by Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles), with the Passat to follow shortly. The installation of the new engine control software means that the Amarok now meets the limits required to comply with the EU5 emissions standard. Over the next few months, the measures will also be implemented on the engines with 1.2- and 1.6-liter displacements.
Jaguar Land Rover in two UK projects worth ~$16M to advance connected and autonomous vehicle technology
February 01, 2016
Jaguar Land Rover is participating in two new projects in the UK worth a combined £11 million (US$15.7 million) to advance connected and autonomous vehicle technology. The £5.5-million (US$7.9-million) UK-CITE (UK Connected Intelligent Transport Environment) project will create the first test route capable of testing both vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure systems on public roads in the UK.
The three year £5.5-million MOVE-UK project, which is led by Bosch, is intended to help future autonomous vehicles drive naturally—more like human drivers rather than like robots. The project will also help develop future insurance policies for automated vehicles
European Commission proposing overhaul of type-approval framework to ensure strict compliance with EU requirements; centralized enforecement
January 28, 2016
The European Commission is proposing a major overhaul of the EU type-approval framework (Whole Vehicle Type-Approval System, WVTA). Under current rules, national authorities are solely responsible for certifying that a vehicle meets all requirements to be placed on the market and for policing manufacturers’ compliance with EU law. The new proposals will make vehicle testing more independent and increase surveillance of cars already in circulation, as well as give the EC itself enforcement capabilities.
The Commission was already reviewing the EU type-approval framework for motor vehicles prior to the Volkswagen revelations. It has since concluded on the need for more far-reaching reform to prevent cases of non-compliance from happening again. The proposal for a Regulation on the approval and market surveillance of motor vehicles complements efforts to introduce more robust emissions testing (Real Driving Emissions testing).
Volkswagen Group confirms 20 more EV or PHEV models by 2020; Müller says Europe needs to lead with electric mobility
January 26, 2016
At the Volkswagen Group’s New Year reception in Brussels, Group CEO Matthias Müller said that the Group would concentrate on sustainability more than ever before—encompassing products, strategy and management. Müller will present the new Strategy 2025 for the Group this summer.
Among other things, the company’s brands will introduce about 20 additional models with electrical or plug-in hybrid drive trains by 2020, the CEO confirmed. (That number had been put forth by former CEO Martin Winterkorn at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September 2015. Earlier post.) The Volkswagen Group comprises twelve brands from seven European countries.
European Parliament to vote on proposal to veto increased diesel emissions limits
January 19, 2016
The European Parliament will vote at the next plenary session on a proposal to veto a draft decision to raise diesel car emission limits for NOx by up to 110% when the Real Driving Emissions (RDE) test procedure is introduced.
Parliament’s Environment Committee argues that MEPs should veto plans to relax the limits because this would undermine the enforcement of existing EU standards.
ICCT analysis shows growing divergence between official and real-world fuel economy values for new cars in Europe
January 15, 2016
Researchers at the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT) have used data from Spiritmonitor.de—a free web service that allows users to track their fuel consumption by entering odometer readings and the amount of fuel added during fill-ups—to calculate the divergence between official fuel consumption values in Europe and real-world performance.
Presented in a working paper, the ICCT findings show that after EU-wide CO2 standards were introduced in 2009, official fuel consumption values decreased by 15% while real-world figures only decreased by 2%.
Toyota hybrid sales in Europe up 17% in 2015, representing 24% of total TME sales
January 14, 2016
Despite the lowest gasoline prices in Europe in 5 years, Toyota Motor Europe’s (TME) sales of hybrid vehicles continued their 5-year increase to reach 209,000 units for the full year 2015, up 17% year-on-year. Sales of Toyota and Lexus-branded hybrid vehicles now represent 24% of the group’s sales on the continent, up from 20% a year ago. In Western Europe only, sales of hybrid represent a third of total sales. Overall sales of Toyota and Lexus vehicles were 874,000 units in 2015, a drop of 1.5% year-on-year.
Within those hybrid sales, the Yaris hybrid recorded sales of 72,000 in 2015, up 23% versus last year, showing that hybrid technology is accessible even on a B-segment vehicle. More than one in three Yaris sold in Europe is a hybrid.
PwC: electrified vehicle sales on the rise in Europe, continued growth expected
January 13, 2016
PwC’s Autofacts group estimates sales of pure electric, plug-in mild and full hybrids will grow 433% to 2.2 million units by 2021, driven by a number of factors, including regulatory pressure. While alternative fuel vehicles (AFVs)—including hybrids and pure electric—are gaining consumer acceptance in the European Union (EU), even in the face of decreased fuel prices, these reduced emission offerings are still a comparatively low%age of overall vehicle sales in this critical market.
Pure electric and plug-in hybrids vehicle sales grew 82.2% from September 2014 to September 2015, as opposed to mild and full hybrids which increased 22% during the same period. The significant EV growth can be attributed to several factors, according to PwC, including consumer desire for more emission-friendly vehicles, the maturation of pure electric technologies and their positive perception among consumers, and continued government incentives.
Bain: Germany’s goal of 1M electric cars by 2020 is unattainable; fewer than 50,000 units on road by end of this year
December 23, 2015
The German Federal Government plan to have one million electric cars on its roads by 2020 has failed, according to the analysis of international management consulting firm Bain & Company. By the end of 2015, there will be a total of about 50,000 electric cars and plug-in hybrids on the roads in Germany (about 75% below plan); nevertheless, structural transformation towards electromobility is continuing, according to the firm.
Stricter emission laws and the technological advances in electric drives will accelerate the trend towards e-mobility in the medium term, Bain said.
2nd annual Bosch analysis of ADAS finds emergency braking and lane assist systems on the rise
December 21, 2015
An analysis of new car registration in Germany for 2014 reveals that driver assistance systems are playing an increasingly greater role when it comes to purchasing a car. The importance of lane assist and automatic emergency braking systems in particular has grown significantly, according to the analysis by Bosch—the company’s second annual assessment of adoption of the technology.
According to the evaluation, based on the 2014 registration statistics, one in five of the nearly three million newly registered passenger cars in Germany last year were equipped with such systems. By way of comparison, the evaluation for 2013 revealed that the two assistance systems featured in only one in ten new cars.
Volkswagen: CO2 “irregularities” issue largely concluded; no unlawful changes
December 09, 2015
In early November, the Volkswagen Group announced that during the course of its internal investigation into the diesel emission cheating issue, it had uncovered “irregularities” when determining type-approval CO2 levels. (Earlier post.) Some 800,000 vehicles in Europe could be affected, the company said.
Today, Volkswagen announced that, “following extensive internal investigations and measurement checks,” almost all of those model variants do correspond to the CO2 figures originally determined.
DUH charges that Renault Espace diesel emits 13-25 times Euro 6 NOx limit; Renault disputes
November 25, 2015
The 1.6-liter Renault Espace diesel is the latest vehicle to come in the emissions crosshairs of German environmental NGO Deutsche Umwelthilfe (DUH). DUH published results of emissions testing by the University of Bern showing that NOx emissions from New European Driving Cycle (NEDC) driven tests with a warm engine exceed the applicable limit for Euro 6 vehicles 13- to 25-fold.
Renault immediately issued a statement disputing the Umwelthilfe findings, and asserted that Espace complies with applicable regulations, just as do all Renault vehicles.
VW: 430,046 MY 2016 vehicles in Europe affected by “CO2 issue”
November 14, 2015
On 3 November, Volkswagen AG announced that during the course of its internal investigation into the diesel emission cheating issue, it had uncovered “irregularities” when determining type-approval CO2 levels, affecting around 800,000 vehicles from the Group. (Earlier post.)
Volkswagen AG has now announced that of those affected vehicles, 430,046 units are MY 2016 vehicles from the Volkswagen (281,617 units, 65.5%); Škoda (83,262 units, 19.4%); SEAT (32,161 units, 7.5%); VW Commercial (17,253 units, 4%); and Audi (15,733 units, 3.7%) brands.
Euro NCAP introducing new test for autonomous emergency braking
November 10, 2015
European safety organisation Euro NCAP is introducing a new test that will check how well vehicles autonomously detect and prevent collisions with pedestrians. With new vehicles offering more autonomous driver assist systems, Euro NCAP’s Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB) Pedestrian tests will make it simpler for consumers and manufacturers to find out which systems work best.
Euro NCAP will test vehicles’ response to pedestrians in simulations of the three most common urban scenarios: adults walking and running into the vehicle’s path and a child stepping out from behind a parked car. To earn a good score in the test, vehicles should be able to prevent collisions with specially developed pedestrian dummies at speeds of up to 40 km/h (25mph). At more challenging speeds of 40-60 km/h (25-37mph), the tests aim to reduce the collision speed to less than 40 km/h, making the impact more survivable.
New EU/US lab for interoperability of e-vehicles and smart grids
October 29, 2015
Following the Transatlantic Economic Council’s decision to promote electric vehicles and smart grid interoperability, on 29 October the European Commission inaugurated the European Interoperability Centre, a laboratory operated by the JRC.
Together with its partner facility in the US Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory, the new lab will ensure that the next generation of electric cars and smart grids are fully interoperable, based on harmonized standards, technology validation and testing methods. This is an important step towards creating “a single language” for all components.
DUH charges Zafira diesel emits up to 17x more NOx than permitted under certain conditions; Opel rebuts with its own testing
October 23, 2015
German environmental NGO Deutsche Umwelthilfe (DUH) (earlier post) has charged that an Opel Zafira 1.6 CDTi diesel (Euro 6b) emits up to 17 times more NOx under certain driving situations than permitted by the Euro 6 limit value. Dynamometer testing for DUH was conducted at the Bern University of Applied Sciences (Berner Fachhochschule).
In three tests under the NEDC cycle with rotating rear wheels, the Zafira emitted between 2 to 4 times more NOx than allowed, according to the test report released by DUH. In three additional tests under normal test conditions—and thus with non-rotating rear wheels—however, the NOx values were below the legal value limit of 80 mg/km in each case.
JRC report finds electric vehicles in Europe on the way to full-scale commercialization
The European Union appears to be undergoing a transition from the testing of and experimentation with electric vehicles to full-scale EV commercialization, according to a new report from the EU’s Joint Research Center (JRC). This report covers battery-electric (BEV), plug-in hybrid (PHEV), range extended electric vehicles (REV), and fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEV).
The number of sold electric vehicles of all types rose from 760 in 2010 to more than 70,000 in 2014, with the trend continuing in the first half of 2015, according to the report. The choice of models went from 3 to nearly 30 in the same period. The share of electric vehicles produced in the EU has also expanded, increasing from 30% (of EV registered in the EU) in 2011 to 65% in 2014.