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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California Raises Green Car Rebates For Low-Income Buyers, Cuts Off Top Earners

California Raises Green Car Rebates For Low-Income Buyers, Cuts Off Top Earners Yesterday the California Air Resources Board (ARB) voted to increase state rebates to as high as $4,000 for plug-in electrified vehicles and $6,500 for fuel cell vehicles to better subsidize low-income earners, while also setting a limit on the highest earners.
Those in a middle income range will see no changes to state rebates enabling $2,500 for buyers of all-electric vehicles, $1,500 for plug-in hybrid buyers, and $5,000 for fuel cell vehicle purchasers.
The Robin Hood-like gesture followed SB1275, legislation from last year by state Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León requiring the board to set income-level limitations for those receiving this state-level perk over and above federal tax credit eligibility.
The choice is a response to complaints that rebates – such as the present $2,500 discount for buyers of all-electric cars like the Nissan Leaf and Tesla Model S – was subsidizing the wealthy and doing nothing for those less fortunate.
ARB’s vote is effectively a $1,500 increase crosswise the program for low-income folks. It raise a $2,500 EV discount to $4,000, a $1,500 PHEV discount to $3,000, and a $5,000 FCV credit to $6,500.
What defines low income or upper income?
Low-income qualifications can be met by those earning 300-percent of the federal poverty level. For a family of four, this is capped at $73,000 reports the San Francisco Tale. For an individual, it is $48,000.
Whether the extra $1,500 will help increase sales is being questioned.
The middle ground of those who make more and who are still eligible for the $2,500 EV credit, $1,500 PHEV, and $4,000 FCV credits is for those earning between $73,000-$340,000.
So, with the ARB setting the upper limit to those earning up to a third of one-million dollars per year, Tesla is not having its customer base overly targeted. But, those earning more than $340,000 will not be eligible for California rebates.
Underlying these rules is the authority the Air Resources Board has to impose penalties and rewards as it sees appropriate to budge the emissions lower for vehicles sold in state.
Both all-electric cars and hydrogen fuel cell cars are zero-emission vehicles, but FCVs do refuel quicker, and grant longer range in many cases.
A similar rationale by the ARB has been seen for its worthwhile manufacturers more Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) credits for FCVs than EVs.
Toyota MIrai.
This is right even for cars like the 85-kilowatt-hour Tesla Model S which may travel 270 miles, and has a growing arrangement of Supercharger station, and is a state startup, no less. It’s been capped at four ZEV credits while FCVs are eligible for nine.
At the upper limit of EV pricing, Tesla’s nationally available Model S starts at $75,750. A Toyota Mirai, for now existing in only California is to start at $57,500.
Buyers and sellers of FCVs are existing the sweetest carrot on a stab to go FCV by the rule makers in California.
And, now, low-income buyers of cars like the Nissan Leaf may also get up to $3,000 For a Ford C-Max Energi, $4,000 for a Nissan Leaf, or $6,500 for a Mirai.
Whether these amounts will spur sales for these types of vehicles remains to be seen. Since 2010, California has handed out 110,000 rebates to qualifying car buyers.
San Francisco Tale

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Automakers: Safety Tech Should Count Towards CAFE Credits

Automakers: Safety Tech Should Count Towards CAFE Credits An automaker trade assemble wants regulators to grant CAFE credits for autonomous technology.
Collision warnings, automated braking and adaptive cruise control are more than just safety features, said Mitch Bainwol, president and CEO of the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers. They are fuel-efficiency boosters.
Bainwol’s diligence lobbying assemble represents 12 auto manufacturers, including Ford Motor Co., Toyota, General Motors Co., and Fiat Chrysler.
“New safety systems are fuel economy game-changers, because fewer crashes mean less congestion, less fuel use, and fewer carbon emissions,” said Bainwol.
“The Texas Transportation Institute estimates that, in 2011, congestion in 498 metropolitan areas caused Americans to travel 5.5 billion hours more and buy an extra 2.9 billion gallons of fuel.”
A separate study by the University of California at Riverside estimated that technology to decrease accidents and congestion would reduce emissions by as much as 30-percent.
In a white paper on automated vehicles, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) agrees with these conclusions.
“Vehicle control systems that automatically accelerate and brake with the flow of traffic can conserve fuel more efficiently than the average driver,” wrote the NHTSA.
“By eliminating a generous number of vehicle crashes, highly effective crash avoidance technologies can reduce fuel consumption by also eliminating the traffic congestion that crashes cause each day on our roads.
“Reductions in fuel consumption, of course, yield corresponding reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.
To the extent vehicles can communicate with each other and with the highway infrastructure, the potential for safer and more efficient pouring will be increased even more.”
SEE ALSO: New Car MPG Up in January, Greenhouse Gases Down
But translating the benefits from autonomous tech directly to gains in fuel economy is challenging, according to former NHTSA leader David Strickland.
“It’s going to be very hard to prove the amount of crashes avoided … that turns into the amount of congestion avoided that turns into the amount of fuel savings and emissions reduced,” said Strickland.
“You want to give a credit for something that is consequential.”
The potential connection between safety features and fuel economy is not a new topic for the auto diligence, said Mike Spector with The Wall Street Journal.
But the upcoming review of CAFE guidelines is prompting automakers to spotlight the thought again.
“In 2012, when setting new fuel-economy standards, regulators said safety features should be evaluated only on their skill to save lives or reduce injuries, and not be considered for mileage credits,” Spector said.
“Exploiting the benefits of the technology is critical for auto makers ahead of 2017’s so-called midterm review of U.S. mileage standards.”
For the upcoming review, the NHTSA stated that it may “consider evidence” to see if safety tech “can be shown to have a significant effect” on fuel economy. The EPA, but, is hesitant to take the matter back under examination.

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Would The 2016 Volt’s Transaxle Be Ideal For An Extended-Range Truck?

Would The 2016 Volt’s Transaxle Be Ideal For An Extended-Range Truck? In revising the second-generation Chevrolet Volt, General Motors re-designed its electrical/mechanical transaxle, and one might now pose the inquiry whether this same design would be ultimate to use in a super fuel-saving truck such as VIA Motors now makes.
VIA builds pure series plug-in hybrid trucks based on the Chevrolet Silverado and other light-duty GM trucks.
The Oregon start-up’s Mexico-based gift takes whole GM trucks from a close production plant, tears out the drive train and retrofits whole new plug-in hybrid systems with up to “100 mpg” averaged efficiency.
GM itself had a 2-mode hybrid it discontinued and there is a gaping hole in this gas-guzzling segment. Following is a look at the possibilities …
A Superior Design
The gen 2 Volt transmission lowers cost.
A week ago on the GM-Volt forum, an special article was posted on the Voltec transmission screening it cuts cost and weight while rising vehicle performance and efficiency.
The lower cost is achieved through the new motor designs which use fewer rare earth metals. Most importantly GM is now additively linking the two motors in EV mode so they can get by with a less vital main traction motor but still end up with the same total power in EV mode as before. In small more for less.
Could this same theory be used in an ‘EREV’ truck?
It seems to me that answer is an unequivocal yes. GM could start an extended-range electric truck that would be lower cost than a pure series hybrid truck. In other words, GM could out VIA VIA.
The VIA VTrux pickup is a pure series hybrid.
The VIA truck has one huge traction motor and a generator driven by an ICE like Gen 1 Volt. GM can get by with lower motor costs than the pure series arrangement by linking the two motors and also offer more efficient operation in extended-range mode since all the pure series conversion losses are eliminated. You may recall that GM has eliminated pure series as an in commission mode in the new Volt transmission.
We are all aware that GM produced a 2-mode hybrid transmission for the Silverado truck. Although much maligned as a failure it was really an engineering work of art. Its breakdown was that GM exciting too much for it and by no means really tried to lower costs and finally it was cancelled.
All the cost cutting features that GM used in the new Gen 2 Volt transmission should apply to a truck transmission. The two units are very similar from a technical point of view. Both transmissions have identical hybrid modes: input split and compound split. The rest of the modes are just fixed gear ratio modes: gen 2 Volt has one fixed gear and the Silverado 2 mode had four fixed gears. The ancient 2 mode had three planetary gearsets and four clutches so it had one more clasp and one more planetary gearset than the gen 2 transmission.
2013 Silverado Hybrid. Former GM Vice Chairman Bob Lutz, now working for VIA, has said GM should have started with pickup trucks as these stand to save the most fuel.
Of course the Silverado transmission did not have an EV mode but that could easily be added since all the hardware components are the same.
Therefore not only could GM make a pure hybrid version of the transmission they could also make an extended range version.
SEE ALSO: 2014 VIA VTRUX Test Drive Review
Granted, an EREV version seems like a long shot but a plain hybrid version does not. In person I reckon that it is just a matter of time until mileage supplies dictate that configuration anyhow. Both Ford and Toyota are believed to already be working on one.
GM just beat all the other EV makers to the punch with their new 200 mile Bolt EV.
Could GM be first on the market with a successful version of a hybrid truck … or better yet an extended range electric truck? What do you reckon?
George Bower is a retired aerospace engineer, Prius and Volt owner, motorcyclist, long-time reader and occasional tech writer for GM-Volt.com.

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Kia Soul To Launch 2016 In US and EU

Kia Soul To Launch 2016 In US and EU Today Kia announced it will this month start building its first exported EV, the Soul EV, for a 2016 launch even as affiliate company Hyundai prepares its first fuel cell vehicle.
Soon enough also, say the companies, they’ll each offer battery and fuel-cell cars as they cautiously approach a changing automotive landscape.
Yes, it’s a courageous new world we may be heading to, but to avoid the well-known phrase from Alduous Huxley’s book of the same title, “history is bunk,” we’ll note announcements made in November 2013 and February 2014 Kia said it would launch the Soul EV this year grow no longer right, although this was not mentioned by a news report from Korea today.
By 2016 also, both companies will offer both EVs and FCVs, said Senior Vice President Lee Ki-sang who heads eco-forthcoming divisions for Kia and Hyundai – which holds 34 percent of Kia.
“There is no clear direction in this area which eco-forthcoming cars will win. We are dividing the roles of Hyundai and Kia, with Hyundai launching fuel cell cars and Kia focusing on electric cars,” he said in a report by Automotive News.
“But the time will come when Kia will introduce a fuel-cell car. Hyundai is also preparing to launch a (battery-powered) electric car in 2016.”
Range is said to be 92 miles – not 120 as previously reported – and recharge times are 24-33 minutes for a “quick” charge, or four hours for a “slow” charge, says the company.
The vehicle was previously reported to have a 27-kwh battery, so to avoid confusion yet more, though not stated, these time estimates are nearly certainly for DC quick charging on the quick end, and 240-volt level two charging is being called “slow” charging by the news report.
Really slow charging from 120-volt current in the wall would likely take far longer.
Acceleration from 0-60 is estimated at around 12 seconds.
Prices for the small all-electric SUV in Korea are on par with a gas version after huge EV subsidies are subtracted out.
Subsidies can cut the $39,400 (42 million won) car’s price in half.
To date, sales of EVs in Korea have been but a trickle. Only 713 total units of the Kiay Ray domestic EV, Renault SM3EV and GM’s Spark EV were sold last year.
FCVs will have an even slower time of it as long as hydrogen stations are rare, and this slow-paced roll-out will be right in the U.S., it has been said by those in the diligence.
Of U.S. EVs, it has often been observed proliferation of all-electric cars has been slow, and the controversial introduction of fuel cell vehicles has been so slow as to inspire jokes that they are vaporware ever on the horizon.
To date Kia has not had anything in the U.S., but not deterred by market conditions in the U.S., it and Hyundai will add their names to the major makers cautiously positioning for an electrified future.
Automotive News

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Honda Mulling ’62′ mpg Odyssey Hybrid

Honda Mulling ’62′ mpg Odyssey Hybrid Honda has said it is considering a hybrid version of its Odyssey that could cut its mpg in half from around 31 mpg to 62 mpg.
At least that’s what the Japanese automaker told some Australian journalists and the actual numbers they used were 3.8L/km for the hybrid compared to 7.6L/km for the non hybrid.
This translates to “31″ mpg for the standard Odyssey and “62″ mpg for a hybrid, should they build it, but these numbers are nearly surely optimistic, if not still hopeful.
In the U.S. the 2014 Odyssey gets a combined 22 mpg, but even if under the EPA cycle a hybrid Odyssey cracked into the low to mid 40s, that would be huge.
For now, the hybridization is not really under development, but only being proposed – and for the Japanese market – but disparate Toyota’s Alphard Hybrid we drove last summer in Michigan, the Odyssey is – as mentioned – also a U.S. model, so public wanting a huge public hauler may keep their fingers crossed. Read more

Gen Y Interested In Hybrids

Gen Y Interested In Hybrids Hybrids and alternative powertrain vehicles are catching the attention of Gen Y.
According to Craig Giffi, vice chairman, Deloitte LLP, and automotive do leader, Gen Y patrons are screening a clear interest in vehicle ownership and have specific thoughts of what they want in a car.
Citing data from a Deloitte report on global mobility, Giffi said that while young patrons view car ownership as less vital for mobility than previous generations, they are, nonetheless, excited in this area affordable, technology-enabled vehicles – especially hybrid electric cars.
Deloitte’s soon-to-be-released report is based on survey responses from more than 23,000 patrons crosswise 19 countries, including more than 2,000 United States patrons – 677 of whom were from the Gen Y demographic (born between 1977 and 1994).
Deloitte said the results indicate that while America’s romance with the car does not extend to Gen Y, the nearly 80 million Gen Y patrons in the United States are not giving up on car ownership.
“Well over half (61 percent) of Gen Y patrons in the Deloitte report expect to buy or lease a car within the next three years,” says Giffi, who adds that “nearly a quarter (23 percent) expect to buy or lease in the next 12 months – and a mere 8 percent do not expect to ever buy or lease a vehicle.”
Additional, Deloitte stated only 29 percent of Gen Y patrons would be willing to give up their personal cars, even as non-traditional mobility options like car-sharing and car-pooling air force breed.
Among Gen Y patrons who do not now own or lease a vehicle, cost seems to be the main barrier – with most (80 percent) saying it is because they cannot afford it and three quarters citing high operational and maintenance costs. In addition, 67 percent said their lifestyle needs are met by walking or public transportation, while 40 percent said their lifestyle needs are met by car borrowing and car sharing.
“Affordability is the song for Gen Y patrons who don’t already own or lease a vehicle,” says Giffi. “When questioned what purchasing criteria matter most to them, a majority cited cost-related items such as the vehicle’s price tag, fuel efficiency and payment options.”
What are they looking for in a car?
Deloitte clarified most Gen Y patrons – whether they now own a vehicle or not – exhibit a clear affinity for cars and trucks with alternative powertrains.
More than half (59 percent) reckon they will be pouring an alternative engine vehicle five years from now, with more than a quarter (27 percent) naming hybrid electrics as their release most ideal type of alternative engine – far ahead of plug-in hybrids (8 percent), all-battery electric vehicles (7 percent), and fuel-cell vehicles (4 percent).
What is more, they would like the government to help defray the higher costs of alternative powertrains, with 58 percent saying they would support government programs that reward patrons for choosing alternative/high-efficiency engines.
“Gen Y patrons crosswise the board also want safety technology, especially features that mitigate the risks of distracted pouring,” says Masa Hasegawa, principal, Deloitte Consulting LLP. “Nearly three quarters (72 percent) want technology that recognizes the presence of other vehicles on the road and 63 percent want technology that lets them know when they have exceeded the speed limit.”
Plus, more than half (56 percent) want technology that entertains them while they are pouring and 57 percent wish it were simpler to make to peacefulness a vehicle’s technology after buy or lease. And more than half want to connect their smart phone to use all its applications from the vehicle’s instrument panel boundary.
“While Gen Y may not necessarily scrutinize horsepower, acceleration times or engine size, they do have clear needs, wants and desires, especially when it comes to remaining connected to all of their lifestyle technology while on the road,” says Hasegawa. “This is excellent news for car makers, who already offer – or are bringing to market – many of the features Gen Y patrons most want in a vehicle.”

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