TTAC News Round-up: Green and Mean for '16, EU Wants to Inspect ECUs, and Opel is Anti-rear-ending (In The Worst Way)

Mark Stevenson
by Mark Stevenson

The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy has released its Greenest and Meanest cars for 2016 — and it’s bookended by vehicles from Daimler.

That, Europe wants to open up ECU code, Bosch says “You wouldn’t understand, so why bother?” and GayWheels takes aim at a possibly tasteless German Opel advert about, erm, rear-ending … after the break!

Opel loses, gays lose, everyone loses

GayWheels has a story today about the above ad from automaker Opel in Germany. The rough translation: “Nothing against gays, but…” followed by “Stop, before it bangs/hits/collides.”

The ad is for Opel’s crash avoidance system — you know, so you don’t rear-end someone inadvertently — with an illustration of a couple of men standing very close together. Oh boy.

But leave it to GayWheels to get a joke in:

If this were a Truvada ad or a condom ad, maybe we’d get it. As it is, though, we’re as vexed as the daddy and the twink, who seem ready to punch their curly-haired interloper in the face.

Europe: Are you running hopped-up emissions code or are you just really unhappy to see me?

Europe is about to crack down on emissions cheaters in a big way.

In a press release sent out Wednesday, the European Commission “is proposing a major overhaul of the so-called EU type approval framework.” This overhaul the regulations should result in more independent vehicle testing, more robust (read: real world) emissions testing, and the removal of a conflict of interest created due to automakers directly paying technical services providers for vehicle testing.

However, toward the very bottom of the release is an interesting nugget:

Under the draft Regulation, the manufacturer will have to provide access to the car’s software protocols.

What that means exactly is unclear. It could be as big as having to submit ECU code for approval to as little as knowing the inputs and outputs of a particular ECU.

I hope it’s the former. And I’m sure tuners do as well.

“What do authorities want with this? It’s so complex that it is not feasible.”

That’s what Bosch chief executive Volkmar Denner said during the company’s full-year earnings call Wednesday in regards to its ECU and associated software used by Volkswagen to cheat diesel emissions tests, reports Reuters.

The company, which is under investigation by German authorities, also launched an internal probe at the beginning of the scandal, Bosch revealed today.

“The day after the allegation became public, I ordered an internal investigation,” said Denner, who later followed up with, “2016 will not be an easy year.”

Introducing the Green and Mean Class of ’16

According to the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, Mercedes builds both the Greenest and Meanest vehicles money can buy.

Topping the list are the Smart ForTwo Electric Drive and Chevrolet Spark EV with a tied score of 63. At the opposite end, the Mercedes-Benz G65 AMG scored 20. (The G63 AMG is third last with a score of 22. Three other Daimler vehicles find themselves in the Bottom 12 for a total of five.)

Conspicuously missing from this year’s lists: Volkswagen, Audi and Porsche diesels. ACEEE says, “Modern clean diesels have repeatedly placed well in ACEEE’s annual rankings, only a few places away from the ‘Greenest’ list. However, following the EPA announcement that Volkswagen has cheated federal emissions standards since 2009 with the use of defeat devices, suspended its Green Scores for all affected VW, Audi, and Porsche diesel models.”

ACEEE explains its scoring methodology on its website should you want to know how the organization comes up with its numbers.

Here’s are the lists in their entirety.

Greenest (Top 12):

  1. Mercedes-Benz Smart ForTwo Electric Drive Convertible / Coupe — 63
  2. Chevrolet Spark EV — 63
  3. 3. Fiat 500E — 62
  4. Toyota Prius Eco — 61
  5. Volkswagen E-Golf — 61
  6. Nissan Leaf S / Leaf SV — 61
  7. Kia Soul Electric — 59
  8. Toyota Prius C — 59
  9. Toyota Prius — 58
  10. Ford Focus Electric — 57
  11. Chevrolet Volt – 56
  12. Volkswagen Jetta Hybrid – 56

Greener Choices (Top in Each Class):

  1. Toyota Prius Eco — 61
  2. Toyota Prius C — 59
  3. Mercedes-Benz Smart ForTwo Convertible / Coupe — 55
  4. Chevrolet Spark — 54
  5. Toyota Prius V — 54
  6. Honda Fit — 53
  7. Ford C-Max Hybrid — 51
  8. Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid — 48
  9. Chevrolet Trax — 47
  10. Ford Transit Connect Van —42
  11. Land Rover Range Rover Evoque — 42
  12. Chevrolet Colorado / GMC Canyon — 40

Meanest (Bottom 12):

  1. Mercedes-Benz G65 AMG — 20
  2. Chevrolet/GMC G2500 Express / Savana (Passenger) (MDPV) — 22
  3. Mercedes-Benz G63 AMG — 22
  4. Bentley Mulsanne — 23
  5. Mercedes-Benz G550 — 23
  6. Toyota Sequoia FFV — 25
  7. Ford Transit T150 Wagon FFV — 25
  8. Mercedes-Benz GL63 AMG — 25
  9. Lexus LX 570 — 26
  10. Bentley Continental GT Convertible / Flying Spur — 26
  11. Toyota Tundra — 26
  12. Mercedes-Benz GL550 4Matic — 26
Mark Stevenson
Mark Stevenson

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4 of 31 comments
  • Thelaine Thelaine on Jan 27, 2016

    Many of the "bottom 12" could also be labeled "wish list."

    • See 1 previous
    • Drzhivago138 Drzhivago138 on Jan 27, 2016

      @SunnyvaleCA They did that back in the '70s. The old GVWR limit for a "half-ton"/Class 1 truck (F-100, C10, D-100) was 6000 lbs. Anything above that was exempt, so Ford created the F-150 as a Class "2a" (over 6000 lbs. GVWR but below 8500) and Dodge and Chevy/GMC followed with the D-150 and Big 10/Heavy Half, respectively. Later the GVWR exemption limit was raised to 8500; now anything above that is considered a "3/4 ton" (Class 2b).

  • Smartascii Smartascii on Jan 27, 2016

    Did I miss something? One of my comments says "Awaiting moderation." Are all the comments getting moderated now, or did I do something special to trigger that?

  • IBx1 Everyone in the working class (if you’re not in the obscenely wealthy capital class and you perform work for money you’re working class) should unionize.
  • Jrhurren Legend
  • Ltcmgm78 Imagine the feeling of fulfillment he must have when he looks upon all the improvements to the Corvette over time!
  • ToolGuy "The car is the eye in my head and I have never spared money on it, no less, it is not new and is over 30 years old."• Translation please?(Theories: written by AI; written by an engineer lol)
  • Ltcmgm78 It depends on whether or not the union is a help or a hindrance to the manufacturer and workers. A union isn't needed if the manufacturer takes care of its workers.