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VW to Drop Diesels from MY2007 Lineup in US Due to Emissions Requirements

Vwdiesel06
VW diesel model sales Jan-Apr 2006.

The Detroit Free Press reports that Volkswagen of America will drop the diesel versions of the Jetta, Golf and Beetle models from its US line-up for the 2007 model year due to their inability to meet the new, incoming stricter emissions standards nationwide.

Currently, VW only sells its diesels in states covered by US EPA emissions requirements; the diesels do not meet the tougher California standards, and are not sold in California, Massachusetts, Maine, New York or Vermont. With the phase-in of the EPA Tier 2 standards that comes fully into effect this year, the US and the California standards are converging, however.

US EPA Tier 2 and CA LEV II Standards (g/mi)
Category 50,000 miles 120,000 miles
NOx PM CO HCHO NOx PM CO HCHO
EPA Bin 8 0.14 0.02 3.4 0.015 0.20 0.02 4.2 0.018
EPA Bin 5 0.05 0.01 3.4 0.015 0.07 0.01 4.2 0.018
CA LEV 0.05 0.01 3.4 0.015 0.07 0.01 4.2 0.018
CA ULEV 0.05 0.01 1.7 0.008 0.07 0.01 2.1 0.011

VW will offer a diesel version of its Touareg SUV in 2007, although monthly sales of the current diesel Touareg model have so far been in the single-digit range. VW, according to the Free Press report, also plans to build extra model year 2006 diesel Jettas, which it hopes to sell well into next year. A new “50-state” diesel Jetta should be available for the 2008 model year.

Diesels as a component of VW’s sales rose from 12% in 2003 and 2004, to 14% in 2005, and to 22.7% for the first four months of 2006. (Earlier post.)

“They are becoming a significant part of our business, so it’s disappointing,” [VW spokesman Steve] Keyes said. “If diesels continue to contribute 20%-22% of our sales, this has some significant impact on us.”

The removal of the VW diesel models from the MY2007 lineup will leave only DaimlerChrysler with a new diesel passenger car to sell into the US (E320 BLUETEC). (Earlier post.)

Honda recently announced it would introduce a Tier 2 Bin 5 compliant diesel in the US within the next three years, and has patented a new plasma-assisted catalytic NOx reduction system that may factor into its plans. (Earlier post.)

Comments

NBK-Boston

This really is a double edged sword. On the one hand, increasingly stringent emissions standards have almost certainly prompted the development of the new clean diesels, such as the T2B5 compliant ones mentioned in the article. Without such prompting, I do not think that automakers would have gone to the time or expense of developing these technologies.

On the other hand, it really is a shame that VW will see a disruption in its ability to see diesels on the US market. Just as their image has begun to be rehabilitated over here, another problem arises.

Cervus

It will always be politically popular for regulatory agencies to say "We're making your air cleaner!" when we have past the point of diminishing returns. The current NOx reductions are actually haveing a negative effect on air quality.

More info:

http://www.altfuels.us/nafa_vs_epa.php

Joseph Willemssen

Too bad. Hope they can get that figured out soon.

And here's some details on the Heartland Institute, the "think tank" Cervus referenced in his link.

http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Heartland_Institute

Rafael Seidl

All carmakers, including VW, have known for some time that the EPA would delete tier 2 bins 9 through 11 at the end of MY 2006 for LLDTs (up to 6000lbs GVW). So this was hardly a surprise.

US emissions regulators (EPA and CARB) are charged with ensuring air quality, while fuel economy is the preserve of the DOT. By splitting these roles, US lawmakers have introduced structural impediments to lean burn technologies such as diesels and jet-guided stratified GDI. Climate change has fallen through the cracks entirely. That may suit certain industries, but in the end it is the US consumer/voter who loses out, both in the showroom and at the filling station. Not to mention beachfront property in the South.

A sensible energy and environment policy would bundle responsibility for harmful emissions, greenhouse gases and energy security for the transportation sector in a single, appropriately staffed agency. This would permit rational trade-offs local and regional air quality against energy security and climate change goals.

Many other nations already do this to some extent, typically through a historical differentiation between gasoline and diesel engines. The standards are adapted for new technologies such as stratified GDI prior to series production.

Ash

The problem here is the high sulfur content of diesel in the US.

Making NoX emission standards higher without improving diesel was a blatantly idiotic move.

t

If GHG were one of the emissions that EPA regulated, then they would be forced to look at the total picture. Bush decided that wasn't important early in his term. In any event, sounds like this will be a temporary setback.

Whats in a name

> A sensible energy and environment policy would bundle
> responsibility for harmful emissions, greenhouse gases
> and energy security for the transportation sector in a
> single, appropriately staffed agency. This would permit
> rational trade-offs local and regional air quality
> against energy security and climate change goals.

The solution to bureaucracy is larger bureaus? I can think of absolutely no reason that this would be true. The US didn't stall on fuel economy regulations because the clean air interests were stronger; we stalled because the interests fighting fuel economy increases were stronger. Despite clear mechanisms and mandates to allow for improved fuel economy standards nothing was done for at least 20 years. Consolidating wouldn't have changed this, and removing partial clean air responsibility from CARB would have only stalled out emissions improvements as well.

European regulators went the other way, favoring fuel economy over emissions regulations. This has stalled out potential improvements in urban air quality despite a much more favorable climate. This is a different tradeoff, but not necessarily better. Now both of us need the improvements the other has already proven out. This is a great opportunity to collaborate, but I don't see any reason that either should give up the gains that they've made.

This 'Heartland Institute' post is nothing but red meat. The regulators are well aware of the 'weekend effect', the effects of stationary sources vs. 'mobile' sources, and the cost-effectiveness of different approaches. They have implemented all of the measures this paper discusses as solutions and more, and are still working to make long-term gains. The main problems they come up against are very complex:

Is it ethical to force someone to sell their car to improve air quality?

How can ship traffic and international trucking be regulated by local air quality bodies?

How quickly should standards be changed on industries with long-lived equipment which represents the majority of operating costs (i.e. dry cleaners)?

For a better and quite current reference see:

http://darwin.nap.edu/books/0309101514/html

Rafael Seidl

Ash -

actually, ultra-low sulphur diesel (15ppm) will be introduced nationwide in the US this fall. In the EU, the limit is 50ppm falling to 10ppm by 2010. Refineries in countries where diesels are very popular, such as Austria, are voluntarily meeting the 10ppm standard today. Actual values are typically 3-4ppm.

t -

technologically, the setback may indeed be temporary. With sulphur essentially removed from on-road diesel, the life expectancy of NOx store catalysts may become adequate for series production. These have a low light-off temperature and do not require any new additive. However, they do require the engine to be frequently switched from lean to slightly rich mixture to permit NOx desorption and reduction. This has to happen transparently to the driver, in terms of both torque and engine sound. As you can imagine, the application development effort is very high.

Mercedes is advocating its SCR-based Bluetec technology instead. The concept has a strong track record in the power generating industry and has recently been adopted by virtually all commercial vehicle operators in Europe in order to meet the strict Euro 4 limits. As a result, a production and distribution infrastructure for the required AdBlue urea additive is being set up. The consumption rate is about 4-5%, cost about 50% of diesel fuel, so total consumables cost is increased by 2-3%. The tank has to be heated in winter as AdBlue will freeze at -11 deg C (12 deg F).

SCR systems are effective and will become more so once the fast NOx sensors required for closed loop control become available. However, the system is complex and expensive and, it requires the operator to keep his eye on nut just one but two tank gauges. FOr these reasons, it will likely be used only on commercial and high-end passenger vehicles.

The EPA has not yet agreed to permit the system in the US because the distribution infrastructure does not exist and, it is not yet convinced that the OBD can reliably foil attempts at defeating the system.

The third option, currently favored by many European carmakers, is to achieve further reductions in NOx production during the combustion process. Researchers are looking to even higher injection pressures (>2000 bar), more but smaller injector nozzles arranged in two levels and, flameless (HCCI) combustion control in part load with extremely high rates of cooled EGR. None of these options is cheap, either.

Therefore, by the time diesel technology finally meets US standards, it will be nearly as expensive as electric hybrids. At just $3/gallon for the fuel, the ROI will be 6-8 years. EPA's overly narrow remit on air quality will continue to mitigate against the introduction of fuel-efficient lean-burn engines in the US, with all the implications that has for national energy security and climate change.

Whats in a name

> Therefore, by the time diesel technology finally meets
> US standards, it will be nearly as expensive as electric
> hybrids. At just $3/gallon for the fuel, the ROI will be
> 6-8 years.

Exactly -- making a good Diesel car is no more cost effective than making a great gasoline car.

Talking about the cost-effectiveness of powertrain improvements in the context of vehicle efficiency is also addressing the wrong problem. The main reasons for the abysmal efficiency of the US fleet are excessive size, weight, and power. Using better powertrains in the same cars will never be as cost-effective as improving the cars.

Cervus

Joseph:

Facts before politics. They link to a whole series of articles regarding the Weekend Effect at NREL:

http://www.nrel.gov/vehiclesandfuels/nfti/publications.html

And here's a scientific article online. I found it via a Google search. The weekend effect is well documented.

Cervus

That was very odd. The link did not format correctly.

http://www.rsc.org/chemistryworld/Issues/2003/May/weekend.asp

Rafael Seidl

what`s in a name -

CAFE and the gas guzzler tax have achieved virtually nothing because the standards are far too lax and US carmakers have used their influence to ensure they remain so. This is a direct result of how political campaigns are funded in the US.

The US electorate has had a strong historical preference for clean air. The quasi-independent EPA was set up for just this purpose and its role has expanded since. That's a political choice that must be respected. My argument is that this choice has by now become so deeply enshrined in US institutions that making a different one now that the priorities have shifted is extremely hard.

The Clean Air Act (which even Bush hasn't dared question) has apparently become more sacrosanct than the constitution (which he apparently considers fair game). Whenever a bureaucratic/political status quo is cast in stone, it's usually a good idea for voters to apply a little dynamite just to keep everyone on their toes.

Whats in a name

I'm not sure what you're getting at Cervus. The Heartland Institute link you referenced cherry-picked good science to support a contradictory conclusion. The second article you linked had a much more balanced conclusion:

> Policy-makers taking into account the effects of
> non-linearity need to consider the following:
>
> * reductions in VOC and NOx emissions will not
> produce proportionate decreases in ozone exposures;
> * small or moderate decreases in NOx may actually\
> increase ozone concentrations and exposures in regions
> of high pollution;
> * in the long term it will be necessary to reduce
> both NOx and VOC appreciably to secure worthwhile
> reductions in ozone;
> * in the short term it may be necessary to identify
> regions as NOx- or VOC-limited in order to maximise
> the cost effectiveness of strategies;
> * measures that offer benefits at the regional or
> European scale may be locally counter-productive; and
> * different strategies will probably be necessary
> for different geographical regions and perhaps for
> different regions within one country.

This essentially comes back to the same conclusion: this is a long-term problem that must be addressed on a regional basis. Changing national emissions standards to allow higher pollution will serve nobody in the long term. Allowing our current tight standards to take effect while using stationary sources to tune the mix is a much more practical solution.

Whats in a name

> CAFE and the gas guzzler tax have achieved virtually
> nothing because the standards are far too lax and US
> carmakers have used their influence to ensure they
> remain so... it's usually a good idea for voters to
> apply a little dynamite just to keep everyone on their
> toes.

Definitely. The dynamite I hope to see is to have CARB win the fight to regulate CO2. That should shake things up.

mahonj

How many US boys and girls have died in Iraq ?

All so people can drive gas guzzlers.

If you (US types) switched to diesel (say 30%), they could all go home - alive, with all limbs attached.

That is the choice: EPA numbers or US troop deaths.

You could also switch to hybrids or just smaller cars, but all "simple" options seem to have been eliminated in favour of SUVs and war.

Joseph Willemssen

Facts before politics.

Please, Cervus. Your first post linked to two industry-funded websites that have CLEAR political agendas. Please don't lecture me about "facts before politics" if you yourself are grinding a political axe and using highly biased sources.

It isn't a question about whether the "weekend effect" occurs, it's a question of what's causing it and how to deal with it. And the two sites you first referenced have clear agendas about that. Some theories posit that its shifts in peak drive times which can also cause the effect, and even though some decreased NOx emissions by trucks may increase smog (since apparanetly NOx can suppress ozone formation under certain conditions), it also appears that big decreases in NOx emissions will overcome that effect and reduce smog.

Cervus

Joseph:

I find it interesting that instead of refuting their arguments point by point you instead discount them out of hand by saying "they have an obvious agenda". Well, so does Greenpeace, or the Sierra Club. That is attacking the messenger, which is no way to debate an issue.

Unless you can tell me why they're wrong.

Rich

I was just thinking about test driving a diesel VW. If I can't buy one then I'll just keep driving my 20 year old gas car. I'm sure it pollutes way more than a VW diesel.

Joseph Willemssen

I find it interesting that instead of refuting their arguments point by point you instead discount them out of hand by saying "they have an obvious agenda". Well, so does Greenpeace, or the Sierra Club. That is attacking the messenger, which is no way to debate an issue. Unless you can tell me why they're wrong.

This is the last time I'll address this, Cervus.

The first two sources you gave are junk. I don't make a habit of refuting something "point by point" put out by people without credibility.

I already told you that there are competing theories as to the cause of the weekend effect, and that scientists believe that substntial reductions in NOx will overcome the "weekend effect". So your assertions have been refuted and your sources are not legitimate.

I'm not going to get into some inane pissing match about Greenpeace or whatever. Is there a "weekend effect"? Yes. Do we know what causes it for certain? No. Do we know what to do about it, then? No.

You do yourself a disservice by bringing in bad sources from the beginning. GM and Exxon excecs on their board and they're condemning air quality regs? Wow - how shocking.

Cervus

Joseph:

The first two sources you gave are junk. I don't make a habit of refuting something "point by point" put out by people without credibility.

Then this is the core of our problem. Unless we can mutually agree on which sources have credibility, then we'll just shout at each other.

Randy

Is this a joke? Many VW's here in Oregon run on biodiesel.
Why run on gas when you can get 50 mpg and get better than ULEV emissions by running biodiesel in 4 cylinder TDI?
A TDI has far fewer parts than a hybrid, it runs on renewable fuel, and the life of the engine is much longer than it's petroline counterpart. Wasn't VW the company that back in 1999 built the one-car that got 260mpg and now there are going to stop building diesel cars. Gas is passe' because it pollutes.

Rafael Seidl

Rich -

since the car you're driving is 20 years old, you could consider switching to a used TDI and just drive it for many happy years. You'll save money and reduce your pollution footprint. Also, VW will keep selling new 2006 diesel Jettas for a while longer.

Randy -

more than half of VWs global sales volume is diesels so they are not about to stop building them. They are just being forced to stop selling them in the US until they can come up with a way to meet the new, more stringent emissions regs.

The 1 l/100km car used a carbon fiber chassis and other technologies that would have priced it way out of contention. A more realisitic offering, the 3 l/100km Lupo, failed in the marketplace in Europe because it sacrificed too much functionality on the altar of fuel economy. It's better to shoot for 4-5 l/100km for high volume sales than something much lower in very small volume.

Thomas Pedersen

With recent acvances, VW could probably make a 3 l/100km Polo, which is an acceptable car to many Europeans (as opposed to the too-small Lupo). That would really be something!

The engine-stop feature of the Lupo should be mandatory on all new cars IMO. I strongly dislike the sound (smell) of cars idling behind a red light.

I agree with Rafael on his point about high-volume sales, though. The former CEO of VW, Ferdinan Piech (or whatever) was very religious about achieving certain thresholds in fuel economy. I say, get as much as you can in a car that is still "sellable".

Bonus info: because of less tax, the Lupo 3L is very popular in Denmark. I believe almost half of the Lupo 3Ls ever produced have been sold in Denmark..!

Carl

Joseph - if you don't believe a group with a "political agenda", would you believe the U.S. Department of Energy?


"…NOx controls in Southern California (and other urban U.S. locations) are *counterproductive* for reducing ambient ozone, and they actually increase ambient ozone levels. Were it not for large concurrent HC emission reductions on weekends, weekend ozone would be even higher than it is, and the weekend/ weekday ozone difference would be even larger....

…Gasoline exhaust and gasoline vapor account for ~80 percent of ambient NMHC in on-road samples and at regional air monitoring locations suggesting that *gasoline emissions are responsible for the majority of ozone found in the SoCAB*…." (emphasis added)

Source: DOE’s Studies of Weekday/Weekend Ozone Pollution in Southern California, Douglas R. Lawson, National Renewable Energy Laboratory, DEER Conference, August 2002


"...NOx reductions in urban areas currently do not reduce, and usually increase, ambient ozone..."

Source: Weekday and Weekend Air Pollutant Levels in Ozone Problem Areas in the United States, Dr. Douglas R. Lawson, et al, NREL, August 23, 2005, DEER 2005; http://www.osti.gov/fcvt/deer2005/lawson.pdf


How about the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration?


"...reducing NOx emissions causes the “ozone production efficiency” (OPE) of NOx to increase, offsetting the decrease in NOx emissions...

...OPE lower with higher NOx emissions..."

Source: from a presentation by Dr. James F. Meagher, NOAA's Air Quality Program Manager, at the "East Tennessee Ozone Study 2006 Science Workshop", May 2006, "Ozone Formation - Is All NOx Created Equal?" (I attended this seminar the week before last)

"…Simplified chemistry:

UV radiation (hv), acting on atmospheric NO2 creates ozone (O3):

NO2 + hv ---> NO + O

O + O2 ---> O3

But ozone is also destroyed (titrated) if NO is still present:

O3 + NO ---> NO2 + O2

Why does O3 build up? If volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are also present, NO is consumed by other reactions and is not available to titrate the O3: VOC + NO ---> NO2 + other products …"

Source: http://www.nws.noaa.gov/ost/air_quality/Davidson.pdf


Even EPA scientists are bullish on light-duty diesels:


"…The diesel engine is one of the most promising technologies available today to reduce the environmental footprint of the transportation sector…."

Source: http://www.epa.gov/otaq/technology/deerpresentation.pdf

"...The powertrain technologies with “greatest likelihood for success” are, in order, *clean-diesels*, then series hydraulic-hybrids, then “high-efficiency alcohol fuel engines,” then gasoline-fueled homogenous charge compression ignition (HCCI) engines, or “free-piston engines in series hydraulic-hybrid vehicles,” although the latter two schemes will require more years of development, he cautioned. Besides consumer demands for better fuel efficiency, governments likewise are calling for actions to cut growing dependence on oil from politically unstable regions, he pointed out...." (emphasis added)

Source: http://www.greendieseltechnology.com/News.asp?ID=371&link=

dursun

Hard to beleive VW can be that stupid! Honda will eat their lunch. Oh! Honda is already eating their lunch.

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