In all reality, Volkswagen probably won’t pay $37,500 for each car that cheated its way through U.S. emissions standards, but the German automaker will probably pay thousands for each car to fit a device that would clean up their acts.
The presumed fix would come by retrofitting a Selective Catalytic Reduction (Adblue or urea) system although that wouldn’t be the only fix necessary. Researchers discovered that the Passat TDI that they tested, fitted with the SCR system, was 5 to 20 times over the NO limit — less than the 10 to 40 times by the lean NO filter cars, but still illegal.
The long list of items needed to fit models of the Volkswagen Golf, Jetta, Beetle and Audi A3 doesn’t include the engineering needed to retrofit the cars and the costs to crash test the models after the significant modifications. That’ll add hundreds of millions to the bottom line.
Truck Mountain may still be held by the soon-to-be-lightened Ford F-150, but the fuel-efficiency battle in the valley below is already underway, thanks to Ram’s 1500 EcoDiesel pulling the highest mile-per-gallon highway rating of any light truck in the United States at 28 mpg.
Consumer Reports may have discovered why owners of clean diesel cars might feel a bit suicidal from time to time. They recently took a long-term tester Mercedes GL320 BlueTec clean diesel into the shop to have its urea-based AdBlue exhaust-scrubbing fluid refilled, and the results were… eye opening.
The total bill just for adding AdBlue? A stunning $316.99. We were down to 18% full on the additive at 16,566 miles. It took 7.5 gallons to fill the tank, costing an eye-opening $241.50 for the fluid alone. The labor to add the fluid plus tax accounted for the rest. None of this was covered by the warranty… At the current rate and cost of consumption, just the AdBlue itself (without the labor, which would probably be included as part of the routine service) would cost $1,457.80 for 100,000 miles of driving. That’s a lot of money, knocking about a third off of your fuel savings vs. buying a GL450 V8.
And you thought gas was expensive! From what we’ve been able to dig up, the $32/gallon price is a fairly typical price at Mercedes dealers. Are there any Mercedes or Audi clean diesel drivers in the house who can confirm?
One of the enduring lessons of the car game is that good vehicles don’t always sell well. As a car writer who took on news analysis before ever getting manufacturer-sponsored time behind the wheel, this lesson can’t help but tinge my impressions of a road test. So when my first weeklong tester arrived in the form of a Q7 TDI, I felt no desire to justify Audi’s decision to bring the thing to market. After all, by any reasonable analysis, the brand built by Quattro wagons should have been the primary beneficiary of America’s SUV craze. Or, at least its worst enemy. Instead the Q7 showed up for the party fashionably dressed but fashionably late. And very few wanted to buy it. With the high price of luxo ute party fuel already killing the festive vibes, is switching to a new drink enough to make Audi’s SUV sales party like its 1999?