Bosch Claims It Can Save Diesel With New Exhaust Tech
Bosch says its engineers have developed a new diesel exhaust system that could lower emissions to a point where governments no longer have to worry about banning the fuel.
It’s not a defeat device.
If you’ll recall, Robert Bosch GmbH found itself caught up in Volkswagen Groups emissions scandal. Owners of affected cars accused the company of helping develop the illegal software that allowed the vehicles to fool environmental regulators. Bosch launched an internal probe as a sign of good faith and has not officially been charged with any wrongdoing by federal authorities.
That’s good news for the company, because any attempt to promote diesel-friendly equipment would have been overshadowed by a preexisting scandal — especially something as miraculous-sounding as this.
“This breakthrough offers the opportunity to shift the heated debate over diesel into new territory and, hopefully, bring it to a close,” Bosch CEO Volkmar Denner said at a press conference outside Stuttgart on Wednesday.
According to Bloomberg, the company’s new diesel exhaust system can cut emissions below the legal limits taking effect in 2020, and should help automakers avoid the forthcoming European diving bans for metropolitan areas. Diesel is losing favor in Europe fast, but Bosch, as a major parts supplier, still has a lot riding on it. Likewise, automakers need time to adapt to a market that’s changing faster than they’re able to keep up with.
Governments started cracking down in the wake of the 2015 emission scandal, with consumers now abandoning diesel vehicles in droves. Denner’s announcement could mean they won’t have to, giving automakers and suppliers some room to breathe while electrification moves into the mainstream.
The new process optimizes thermal management of exhaust temperatures, reducing nitrogen oxide emissions to one-tenth of the legally permitted limits coming for 2020. According to Denner, it doesn’t require any new hardware and can stabilize emission levels even at colder temperatures.
“With this new exhaust technology, blanket driving bans in the centers of the world’s major cities will no longer be an issue. Why? Because we now have the technology to resolve the problem of nitrogen oxides in road traffic,” he said.
Bosch made it clear that it supports prohibiting emissions technology that recognizes test cycles. It also reiterated that the company has continued to cooperate with authorities during their investigations.
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The main reason why Diesel sales have crashed is because people are afraid of purchasing a vehicle which may end up being banned. Diesel vehicles still enjoy many fans on the Old Continent. Many people, me included, still believe in and like our Diesel-powered vehicles and we depend on their fuel economy for our long distance driving. For drivers like me, who average over 40,000 km a year, a Diesel is essential to keep fuel costs in check. The Diesel witch hunt has already crossed over to gasoline-powered vehicles. There was recently some talk of banning older gasoline cars from the cities, which may even include my 1995 Renault Twingo, which is in the EURO2 emissions category. Furthermore, beginning in September 2018 (according to the German magazine, Auto Motor und Sport), all gasoline-powered vehicles for the European market will by law be required to be equipped with a particulate filter and a type of Urea injection for gasoline exhaust. In other words, this means more overall vehicle maintenance (and costs) and the addition of a particulate filter means constant short trips under 10-20 km are taboo or else the filter can potentially (or eventually I should say) clog/fail. All this added technology for the sake of cleaner emissions means more potential reliability and drivability issues. And of course added costs.
"Help save the diesel" may well be a bit too late, as most European governments and in particular city governments already have made up their mind regarding phasing out diesel cars, to begin with the older and most polluting ones.