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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2016 Nissan Leaf To Get 110-Mile Range

2016 Nissan Leaf To Get 110-Mile Range Certain models of the 2016 Nissan Leaf will get up to 110 miles of all-electric range.
Rumors of the Nissan Leaf getting an increased range have been circulating for quite some time now, but one Nissan dealership has more or less confirmed the changes. Andy Mohr Avon Nissan also confirmed that the 2016 model is the end of the first-generation Leaf, but it will also be the first time the model is existing with two different batteries.
The standard Leaf will come with the same battery as the 2015 model, giving it an EPA-estimated pouring range of 84 miles while higher trim levels will get a battery with as much as 25-percent increased room, delivering a range as high as 110 miles, says the dealership on its website.
SEE ALSO: 2016 Nissan Leaf Could Have Over 105 Miles Range
It’s unclear whether the Japanese automaker intends to offer new trim levels for the 2016 Nissan Leaf lineup, or if the SV and SL models will be the ones benefiting from the larger battery. The dealership also didn’t announce pricing or availability yet and it’ll be fascinating to see if Nissan charges significantly more for the larger battery pack in a segment that is apt more competitive. The second-generation Nissan Leaf is expected to arrive within the next couple of years as a 2017 or 2018 model.
This article originally appeared at Rawvehicle.com
Andy Mohr Avon Nissan

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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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Tesla To Critics: Stop Calling Us An Elite Brand

Tesla To Critics: Stop Calling Us An Elite Brand Despite the fact that Tesla Motor’s current models are all existing at luxury-vehicle pricing, executives with the carmaker want critics to stop labeling it as an elite brand.
After all, clarified Tesla executives, it has only been through these higher priced models that the upcoming, affordable Model 3 will be possible.
“We have a business plot that we’ve been working on from the beginning, and it’s more than what we are today,” said Diarmuid O’Connell, the vice president of business development for Tesla.
O’Connell addressed these misconceptions while speaking at the Center for Automotive Research (CARS) Management Briefing Seminars this week in Traverse City, Mich.
“There are competitors out there who are trying to characterize us as what we are aptly now, at this snapshot in time, with the products we have,” said O’Connell. “They also did that in 2008 when all we had was the even more expensive roadster.”
The base price of the Tesla Roadster was $109,000.
“It is not the vision of this company to produce a mass-market $35,000 car by 2017 – it is the plot,” he added. “There is a massive disbelief glide over at each stage of our development. We will by no means launch a roadster. We will by no means launch the Model S. And each time, we overcome the disbelief.”
Of Tesla’s three versions of the Model S now on the market, the cheapest starts at $75,000. The company’s website subtracts the $7,500 federal tax credit, and somewhat misleadingly deducts another $10,000 for “estimated gas savings over 5 years,” to arrive at a starting price of $57,000.
This adjusted tag prices the Model S in the locality of luxury models like the Cadillac CTS or the BMW M3. But, said Nelson Ireson with Motor Authority, price doesn’t make the Model S a luxury car.
The Model S is “well-built and comely, even surrounded by, and it does have a desktop-sized screen in its dash, but against the Mercedes-Benz S Class and BMW 7-Series, the Model S comes off as more of an up-market mainstream sedan in materials and design. Reckon premium Treaty rather than Audi A8,” clarified Ireson.
At the second, Tesla seems pleased to distance itself from other luxury vehicles, with O’Connell emphasizing that this is mark not an accurate submission of the brand as a whole.
“The fact is, this is the business plot we were mandatory into because we were coming from zero with no capital, no reputation and no product. Other manufacturers can place a compelling $35,000 vehicle on the road today. In the meantime, we place an aspirational product out in the market that hopefully will attract others,” said O’Connell.
“We have a plot and we’re going to get there. The demographics of our buyer is going to change.”
SEE ALSO: Spy Photos Capture Tesla Model X Towing Cargo Trailer
If this rhetoric sounds familiar, it’s because Tesla CEO Elon Musk said much the same thing two years ago when he defended the price of the company’s electric cars.
“Our goal when we made Tesla a decade ago was the same as it is today: to accelerate the advent of sustainable transport by bringing compelling mass market electric cars to market as soon as possible,” Musk said.
“If we could have done that with our first product, we would have, but that was simply impossible to achieve for a startup company that had by no means built a car and that had one technology iteration and no economies of scale. Our first product was going to be expensive no matter what it looked like, so we chose to build a sports car, as that seemed like it had the best chance of being competitive with its gasoline alternatives.”

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Next-Generation Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid Could Have 30-35 Miles Electric Range

Next-Generation Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid Could Have 30-35 Miles Electric Range If a report is right, the next Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid may offer 30-35 miles rated all-electric range.
By present standards, this electric range would rank it second among plug-in hybrids by that vital metric and it would build on the new Prius platform.
This could therefore be a very significant car to plug-in enthusiasts as that much range also would mean it’s more capable of using like a part time all-electric car for longer daily pouring trips.
Whether this comes to pass remains to be verified officially by Toyota. The source is “an executive in the auto diligence who’s deeply familiar with the current and future universe of battery-electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles,” says Green Car Reports.
Green Car Reports also clarifies it is normally reluctant to publish just any anonymous source, but says without revealing who it is that this one is trusted.
SEE ALSO: Is This The 2016 Prius?
That the plug-in Prius could have as much as 30 miles range also fits a more-questionably sourced rumor by a Taiwanese automotive webite which said the new Prius plug-in would double its effective range. That article did not even hint who its source was leading journalists to stand back even while reporting it for what it was worth, along with full color images in place of the new Prius. Read more

2016 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid Priced From $26,100

2016 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid Priced From $26,100 Hyundai today announced pricing for its redesigned seventh-generation 2016 Sonata Hybrid starting at $26,100.
Above the base Hybrid trim level is a Hybrid Limited starting at $30,100 and Hybrid Limited with bluye pearl interior for the same $31,100.
These prices, not including an additional destination fee, are in line with the existing $26,000 2015 Sonata Hybrid’s starting point and the car is due to start sale nationwide this summer ahead of a plug-in hybrid version pending this fall.
SEE ALSO: 2016 Hyundai Sonata Plug-in Hybrid Sets New Electric-Range Benchmark Read more

Tesla Battles Carmakers Over California’s ZEV Sales Requirements

Tesla Battles Carmakers Over California’s ZEV Sales Requirements Tesla Motors is gearing up for another battle, this time taking on carmakers in its home state of California.
Disparate at other times, the argument is not over the company’s factory-direct sales method, which previously has pitted Tesla against auto dealers in states like Texas and Michigan. Instead, the issue relates to California’s push to increase the number of zero emission vehicles (ZEVs) on the roads.
In October 2013, California – along with seven other states – said it will require 15 percent of all vehicles sold to be zero emission vehicles by 2025. Only battery electric (like the Tesla Model S) and fuel cell vehicles (Toyota’s Mirai is one of the few) fall under this definition.
But, the regulation does allows auto companies to make up a less vital part of the ZEV supplies with sales of two types of low emission vehicles: plug-in hybrids (including the Chevrolet Volt and Toyota Prius PHEV) and battery-electric vehicles outfitted with a range extender (like the BMW i3 REx).
If car companies don’t sell enough ZEVs on their own, they can buy credits from other companies to fulfill their supplies.
For the midterm review coming up next year, automakers are approaching the state to complain that the mandate is too hard to meet. Executives with Honda, among others, have already been in the press recently, calling for changes to the mandate that allow more credit for plug-in hybrid sales.
“The mandate is already far too weak,” countered Tesla’s Vice President of Business Development Diarmuid O’Connell. “I don’t reckon it was ever conceived that a pure-play electric car company like Tesla could exist, let alone flourish, but we have. The inconvenient truth is that our success has revealed the weakness of the mandate.”
During a hearing over the mandate last month, Tesla executive Ken Morgan said companies like Subaru and Mazda “have access to the same financial markets that enabled Tesla to raise all of the funding it needed to launch electric vehicles.”
SEE ALSO: Automakers: Increase CARB Credit For Plug-Ins
On the other side of the arena, generous automakers are crying foul over Tesla’s skill to sell credits.
“All they care in this area is protecting their market to sell credits,” said one unnamed auto executive, according to Automotive News.
It’s hard to overlook these credits, especially when they amount to over $76 million of revenue during last year’s third quarter.
Tesla has stated that these credits are no longer a major source of income, though.
“Credit revenue used to go the needle at Tesla. It doesn’t any longer, and it hasn’t for some time,” said O’Connell. “What is a strategic driver of the company is to place as many EVs on the road as possible, whether they’re ours or whether they’re produced by other manufacturers.”
Whether the ZEV credits or increased sales are the largest motivators behind Tesla’s actions, it all may be a moot point, according to some that have followed the debate.
“I don’t reckon California is going to roll back the standards,” said Simon Mui, director of California’s Vehicles and Fuels, Energy & Transportation Program.
“Now that we have leaders within the diligence with a competitive advantage in EVs, it’s a very different game than it was 10 years ago.”

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Daimler Follows Tesla Into The Energy Storage Business

Daimler Follows Tesla Into The Energy Storage Business Tesla Motors isn’t the only automaker branching into the energy storage market, and now Daimler has announced that it too will also start selling generous battery units to capture solar or grid energy for home and industrial uses.
With a much quieter approach compared to Tesla’s Powerwall debut, Daimler released news of its Mercedes-Benz branded products last week not even announcing a special name – such as “Powerwall” – but instead calling them only “stationary energy storage plants.”
That said, its first industrial-scale storage unit is already up and in succession, tied to the grid, and being operated in cooperation with partner companies The Mobility House and GETEC.
SEE ALSO: Will Tesla Powerwall Fail To Live Up To Expectations?
Similar to Tesla’s Powerwall options, Daimler will have lithium-ion batteries for both home energy storage (at 2.5 kilowatts) and larger system intended for industrial use (at 5.9 kw). These allow users to store electricity collected from either a solar array or the utility company.
“Households with their own photovoltaic systems can buffer surplus solar power virtually free of any losses. Initial plants are already in succession in trial operation,” said Daimler. The system is also designed to allow users to connect multiple batteries together for increased room.
Branching Out
The new energy storage units will be built by one of Daimler’s subsidiaries, Deutsche ACCUmotive. This is the same Daimler-owned company that has been reliable for producing lithium-ion batteries for Mercedes and Smart over the past six years.
For business with private customers in Germany, Daimler AG is plotting to work together with EnBW AG. Daimler also aims to cooperate with other sales and distribution partners in Germany and abroad. Read more