What Led Volkswagen To Use Emission Cheats

What Led Volkswagen To Use Emission Cheats As the tale of Volkswagen’s emission defeat devices continues to unfold, details on how the diesel engines were rigged and which cars are affected are slowly coming to light.
But executives within the carmaker – along with others involved with the investigation – have said very modest on what motivated Volkswagen Assemble to install these cheats on more than 11 million cars worldwide. Like many scandals that have come before, the trigger of Volkswagen’s “dieselgate” appears to be rooted in money.
Over the last decade, Volkswagen had been struggling to gain a solid footing in the U.S. diesel market. The perception that diesel emitted more pollution than gasoline engines, tumultuous diesel fuel prices and the cost of diesel technology proved challenging to overcome.
This ad for Volkswagen proudly describes the TDI engine as “clean diesel.” Promise not kept.
To help boost sales, Volkswagen started a marketing campgain labeling its powertrain as “clean diesel.” The ads seemed effective.
“In 2012, Volkswagen’s U.S. sales volume rose to the highest level since 1973,” noted Timothy Cain, an analyst that tracks vehicle sales for GoodCarBadCar.net.
Sales numbers refused to solidify for the company, as Business Insider noted just two years later:
“Volkswagen recently announced that its U.S. auto sales dropped by a staggering 22 percent in June,” Business Insider reported in June 2014. “This will mark the fourth time in the last six months that the brand has experienced a double-digit fall in sales.”
Volkswagen’s share of the U.S. diesel market was quick ground, though. Last year, Car and Driver noted that 75 percent of all diesels cars sold in 2013 were a Volkswagen.
But at the same time Volkswagen was working to maintain its market share, the cost of efficient diesel engines was chipping away at its profits.
“The problem for VW was that cutting NOx [nitrogen oxides] is expensive,” said Automotive News‘ Nick Gibbs. “Analysts from Exane BNP Paribas estimate that reduction technologies have risen from around 700 euros ($790) per vehicle to meet Europe’s Euro5 emissions targets to 1,300 euros for Euro6, which has just come into force this month.”
SEE ALSO: Volkswagen Was Warned in 2007 By Bosch In this area Illegal Software
When comparing markets, Alberto Pisoni, a director with Genera Motors Powertrain in Europe, said lower unit sales and more stringent emissions regulations make the U.S. the “most challenging” diesel market.
“When you have a larger scale for your product then for sure there is a benefit,” commented Pisoni.
For other auto manufacturers trying to mix together low-emission technology in an appealing, competitive vehicle, the reality of Volkswagen’s pressure to use a defeat device could become a warning against using diesel. Gibbs clarifies why:
“The knowledge that arguably the world’s technology leader in diesels can’t make the U.S market work without cheating could now repel other makers.”

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Tesla P85D Versus P90D Street Race Video

Tesla P85D Versus P90D Street Race Video You knew someone would do it, and so here it is – a Tesla P85D versus Tesla P90D drag race.
Drag Times found what looks like a deserted stretch to stage the sprint between Tesla’s two highest-performance all-wheel-drive Model S versions.
Tesla says the P85D delivers 691 cattle and the P90D delivers 762.
Both cars are in their respective fastest modes – “Insane” for P85D and “Ludicrous” for P90D.
Some have started to say these races are a waste of time, and miss the point of electric cars, but in other circles it’s become one of Tesla’s claims to fame.
At any rate, the 56-second clip speaks for itself. Delight in.

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Fuel Cell Vehicles Can Only Be Eco-Friendly With One Key Factor

Fuel Cell Vehicles Can Only Be Eco-Friendly With One Key Factor One part of the ongoing debate over fuel cell vehicles questions how environmentally forthcoming the technology really is; one new study said the answer depends on the source of the hydrogen fuel.
Dominic Notter, a researcher with Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Knowledge and Technology (Empa) and his colleagues used a life cycle assessment approach to better know this issue. Their methods tracked fuel cells for cars and home heating units, beginning with the hydrogen’s production, through the life of the fuel cell and its eventual disposal.
“The result was conclusive,” said Empa. “Fuel cells for cars are only ecologically sound if they are able to run on hydrogen from renewable energy sources.”
Notter and his associates compared fuel cell vehicles (FCVs) with battery electric vehicles (BEVs) and gasoline-powered cars. The calculations were based on standard refueling methods now used for each type of technology in Europe.
“Today, a small fuel-cell car that uses [European Union] electricity to generate hydrogen would easily be the worst option,” Empa said. “The car would have the same environmental impression as a luxury sports car.”
Using electricity from the grid to produce hydrogen fuel is inefficient and makes a high amount of carbon emissions, said the study. And extracting hydrogen from natural gas didn’t improve the equation.
“At present, industrial hydrogen is predominantly obtained directly from natural gas. But, the fuel cell does not really have any environmental advantages with this kind of fuel, either,” Empa said. “A car with a combustion engine now has the edge: The production of square cars is less harmful for the environment.”
When comparing fuel cells to BEVs, researchers found   the latter once again had the advantage.
“First of all, electricity is needed to generate hydrogen, which the car tanks up on,” clarified Empa. “Electricity is then produced from hydrogen again in the car. This double conversion significantly reduces the efficiency level. Public who use the same electricity to charge the battery in their electric cars directly travel more economically and thus in a more environmentally forthcoming way.”
SEE ALSO: Three Ways To Expand The Fuel Cell Market
But that doesn’t mean that fuel cells can’t be an eco-forthcoming key. The rotary point, according to the study, will come when hydrogen fuel can be existing at mass-production levels from renewable sources.
“We found an environmental advantage” of an FCV over a gasoline-powered vehicle, “but only if hydrogen is produced with renewable electricity,” said Notter.
“A fuel cell car will become competitive as soon as a company chiefly produces its electricity from solar, wind and hydro power – because the vehicle will scoff fewer resources during production than a battery-operated electric car, have a far superior range and can be refueled more rapidly,” Empa said.
Notter’s full study is available here through the Energy & Environmental Knowledge journal.

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Countdown: Eight Months To Tesla Model 3 Release Date

Countdown: Eight Months To Tesla Model 3 Release Date The Tesla Model 3 may be the most anticipated electric car on the horizon and as public search for news, a few tidbits of new and seemingly new information surfaced last week.
Some of it appears to be conjecture, but Autocar, a widely read publication in the UK last Thursday authoritatively stated the Model 3 “will be revealed Development 2016,” around eight months from now, and will go on sale in mid-2017.
The has been selected up and re-reported, but the date-certain statement really adds to something Elon Musk said in May.
“We are looking to start production of the Model 3 in second half of 2017,” Musk said with less than full certainty. “We are hoping to show the Model 3 in Development (or around then) of next year.”
Quicker Than Original Model S P85 Performance?
What may be a revelation to some but is the Model 3 – which is broadly reported to be a competitor to the pending “200-mile range” Chevy Bolt and 200-250 mile estimated range next-generation Nissan Leaf will be more than that.
Without revealing where it cultured it, Autocar said the Model 3 won’t just be a Bolt or Leaf beater, it could be a BMW M3 beater and vie head-to-head with potent gas-powered cars in this echelon coupling up to “300 miles” e-range with a blazing quick 0-60 time.
“[S}ources have indicated that performance up to 62 mph could eclipse that of the BMW M3, which minutes a 0-62 mph time of 4.1 seconds,” said Autocar.
Is a 200-Mile EV the Next Automotive Benchmark?
While readers having seen the 0-60 mph time of the Model S plummet with a 3.2-second “Insane” P85D last fall and 2.8-second “Ludicrous” P90D, 4.1 seconds is still aptly quick, and the Model 3, said Autocar will be quicker.
Note the measurement is 0 to 62 mph (100 km/h) in Europe which could mean under 4 seconds to 60 from Tesla’s $35,000 and up “entry level” car meant for “the masses.”
If right, the financial statement Tesla may beat the fastest 4.2-second Model S of just a couple years ago, which to many might come as no surprise given the company’s over-the-air updates, and continual evolution philosophy.
For now this statistic too is not verified by Tesla which has successfully prevented nosy cameras from detecting any test mules or preproduction prototypes of the “volume” EV expected to increase its progression. Read more

By 2025, Hybrids Could Be Priced Evenly With Non-Hybrids

By 2025, Hybrids Could Be Priced Evenly With Non-Hybrids If hybrid vehicles continue humanizing at their current pace, a new study said manufacturing costs will “be cut in half before 2025,” positioning hybrids to compete directly with non-hybrids for sales.
John German’s technical paper, published by The International Council on Clean Transportation, named advances through the learning process, increases in vehicle production and development of new technologies as some of the factors pouring the lower hybrid manufacturing costs.
Even beyond these costs, German said hybrids as a class are also apt more refined. Better fuel efficiency, larger vehicle size and the addition of comfort features are some of the ways these vehicles have improved in the past 15 years.
In his study, German often uses the Toyota Prius to illustrate these changes, a logical choice given the model’s long production history and sales domination in the hybrid market.
“If Toyota continues to achieve the same rate of improvement in succeeding Prius generations, or if newer types of hybrid systems that are in much earlier stages of engineering development can replicate that rate of improvement, full-function hybrid system costs will be cut in half before 2025,” said German.
“And that projection does not consider modest hybrid system size and cost reductions associated with future vehicle lightweighting; for example, 10 percent reductions in weight would reduce hybrid system cost by in this area 5 percent.”
Figure 1. Historical and projected hybrid system direct manufacturing cost
Fuel savings are more than just an environmental perk for hybrid vehicles; the money saved at the gas pump also counterbalances the higher buy price of a hybrid. With more than 40 models of hybrid vehicles on the market, German said quoting rigorous savings is hard. But looking only at average savings of the hybrid class, the increased fuel efficiency is significant.
“Hybrid systems can reduce fuel consumption and CO2 emissions by up to 35 percent, equivalent to more than a 50 percent increase in fuel economy,” said German.
“Now, roughly 29 percent of hybrid models (9 out of 31) pay back the initial hybrid price premium with fuel savings within 5 years. Roughly 61 percent of hybrid models (19 out of 31) pay back within the full useful life. On average, the fuel savings over the full useful life are in this area $1,300 more than the initial price premium,” he calculated.
SEE ALSO: Toyota Prius Taxi In succession Strong With 600,000 Miles And Original Battery
Though the fuel savings are evident, German noted that they are a major motivator for hybrid sales, as determined by the category’s low market share. He attributes sales trends to other improvements instead.
“The tenfold increase in hybrid sales from 2003 to 2013 suggests that many of the ahead of schedule concerns in this area hybrids, such as reliability, battery life, resale value, and safety, have been successfully addressed,” German said.
Figure 3. Historical U.S. hybrid sales and number of models
Hybrid sales have stalled in recent months, but overall, the 15-year trend shows a steady increase. German predicts that future sales will be strongly tied to auto manufacturer’s skill to continue cutting costs. The tipping point will come, he said, when the buy price of a hybrid meets or beats the price of its gasoline-powered counterpart.
“Because most hybrid systems are at a relatively ahead of schedule stage of development, costs are still relatively high and manufacturers are looking to recover some of the costs by charging customers a premium for hybrid vehicles,” said German.
“Thus, now the hybrid system needs to offer a major improvement in fuel economy to entice customers to pay the price premium. This favors full-function hybrids and works against mild hybrid systems. But, in the future, lower cost, mild hybrid systems will be able to compete directly against square technology improvements on a cost-benefit basis.
“Thus, hybrid market penetration will likely increase only modestly in the near term, but as costs drop hybrids will become just another technology that manufacturers sell on its positive efficiency and drivability impacts, not on the technology itself, similar to what is now occurring with turbocharged gasoline engines.”
 

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New Materials May Reduce Cost Of Hydrogen Cars

New Materials May Reduce Cost Of Hydrogen Cars Two recent studies have identified new materials used for fuel cells, which may help bring down the cost of hydrogen cars.
The studies relate to the two compound reactions completed within a fuel cell, both of which require a catalyst (a material that triggers the reaction).
“Fuel cells operate via the coupling of two complementary half-reactions: (1) oxidation of a fuel, such as H2, and (2) reduction of O2 to water,” clarified James B. Gerken and Shannon S. Stahl.
2016 Toyota Mirai
 Based at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Gerken and Stahl focused on the second half of this process. The researchers note that two-electron redox cycles, the standard catalyst, require materials that are more expensive and can start toxins during oxygen reduction. By using an organic nitroxyl called TEMPO (2,2,6,6-tetramethylpiperidinyl-N-oxyl) with a nitrogen oxide catalyst instead, Gerken and Stahl were able to more efficiently complete this process.
For the first half of the fuel cell reaction, a team of Stanford researchers found that earth abundant metal oxides were a less expensive yet still stable way to break apart water molecules, in comparison to non-precious metals commonly used.
Research from both the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the Stanford University teams is available online.
SEE ALSO: Toyota Wants FCVs To Be Priced At Diesel-Car Levels
High vehicle costs have been named as one of the primary hindrances blocking FCV sales. The Toyota Mirai will start its U.S. sales at $57,500 (not including dealer fees or potential incentives). The Hyundai Tucson Fuel Cell is similarly priced, though its lease-only cost of $499 per month does include free fuel.
Still, both are more expensive than many square luxury sedans, including the Audi A6, Mercedes-Benz E-class or BMW 5-series.
As new research develops less expensive ways to build and run fuel cells, it will become simpler for hydrogen cars to compete with other zero emission cars. A $10,000 reduction in price would place the Mirai at the same price point as two other well-appointed battery electric vehicles: the BMW i3 and the Mercedes-Benz B-class Electric Drive.
 

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BMW Developing Production-Grade Fuel Cell Car For 2020

BMW Developing Production-Grade Fuel Cell Car For 2020 BMW is moving forward with plans to develop a fuel cell car by 2020 that is suitable for production.
According to Auto Express, a senior source with BMW confirmed the company is developing a fuel cell vehicle (FCV). The first rendering, but, isn’t likely to take the next step to production.
“We will still be developing the technologies and doing all else behind the scenes, but we will pass on the chance to do a production car from the first generation of the development,” Auto Express quoted the source as saying.
“We are betting on the second generation of the technology being aptly for production, so our target is 2020.”
That doesn’t necessarily solidify the carmaker’s plans to offer an FCV for sale. BMW’s head of sales and marketing, Ian Robertson, has previously talked in this area the automaker’s FCV plans. He noted that BMW may build production-grade FCVs as an experiment, but said a lack of fueling stations will prevent hydrogen vehicles from apt a strong seller.
SEE ALSO: What We Know In this area The BMW i5
“We’ve said we’ll continue to invest in hydrogen and that will result in a small number of production test vehicles being made to prove the technology works,” said Robertson last December. “The real issues lie not around what we can do, though, but whether the infrastructure can be built up to supply hydrogen in the marketplace cost-effectively.”
Robertson said he believes battery electric vehicles are the more promising technology type of the two, adding that advances in lithium-ion batteries will eventually overcome shortcomings with charging and range.
To strengthen its market share, BMW has recently been finding creative ways to make it simpler for patrons to buy its electrified vehicles. In Japan, the i3 can be bought online through Amazon. And a recent gift in California has become the first BMW dealer to focus solely on electrified vehicles, selling and servicing the plug-in i8 and battery-electric i3.

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Hybrid Car Repair Costs Down For Fourth Year Straight

Hybrid Car Repair Costs Down For Fourth Year Straight Throughout 2014, the website CarMD kept track of over 90,000 car repairs within the U.S., concluding that for the fourth honest year hybrid car repair costs were lower than the last.
CarMD states that the reasoning behind this is fundamentally due in part to the increase of supply of hybrid car parts, which is on account of how much more common hybrid cars are apt throughout the United States.
As a result of both these factors there are now more technicalities trained to repair and maintain hybrid cars, thus helping to lower repair costs.
For example, from 2013 to 2014 the cost to replace an inverter on a hybrid car fell more than 50 percent, from $2,800 to $1,350 in that time period alone according to CarMD.
SEE ALSO: Lack of Information Hurting EV Sales Says Federal Report
Within 2014 there was only one maintenance item that increased for hybrid cars and that was the battery, the costs of replacing one increased 11 percent from $3,140 to $3,479.
In comparison, the cost of square petrol fueled cars remained the same throughout the course of the year, with labor costs slightly up, and parts costs down by nearly the same amount. Replacing a malfunctioning oxygen sensor on a gasoline powered vehicle for instance was an average cost of $259, while quite the heftier repair price-wise of a catalytic converter usually cost around $1,200.
CarMD stated that the more hybrids we see on the roads, the more common the technology used within them will become, therefor the costs of repairs should continue on its downward curve.
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