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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BMW To Test Concept Fuel Cell Car On German Roads

BMW To Test Concept Fuel Cell Car On German Roads BMW debuted its concept fuel cell car to the public during the company’s annual Innovation Days event, while also announcing plans to test the car on German roads later this month.
Though it’s been known for some time that BMW is working with Toyota to build a fuel cell vehicle (FCV), with these actions come solid indications of BMW’s future plans for the technology.
Previously, company executives said the lack of a hydrogen fueling infrastructure would prevent FCVs from apt widespread. Statements from unnamed sources connected with BMW also reported that while testing may occur, a production-level FCV won’t be in the company’s future.
But that may no longer be the direction for BMW. In addition to testing its new fuel cell concept on public roads in Germany this month, BMW is also laying out future plans for a production-level FCV.
BMW’s head of engine research, Matthias Klietz, recently told journalists that BMW plans to release “a technically mature, customer-ready vehicle some time after 2020.”
“By around 2025 to 2030, we expect fuel cell cars to have an established presence, but there are challenges that remain, like building the refueling infrastructure,” he said.
SEE ALSO: BMW ‘Light and Charge’ Combines Car Charging With Street Illumination
The concept FCV, still unnamed, is based on the BMW 5 series Gran Turismo. Its powertrain includes fuel cells developed in conjunction with Toyota, an 180-kilowatt electric motor, a tunnel tank mounted between the adjoin and rear axle to store the hydrogen and a high voltage battery. According to BMW, the FCV concept is rated at 245 horsepower and will have a range that surpasses 300 miles.
But BMW said it still isn’t ready to go towards production just yet.
“Technically, we’re ready to place fuel-cell cars on the road, but so far it remains too expensive,” said Axel Ruecker, a limb of BMW’s hydrogen development team. “Making fuel-cell technology a reality is a task not just for carmakers, but for the whole of the upper classes.”
It appears that for now, BMW’s plans for fuel cell vehicles is no longer an “if,” but a “when.”

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Top 5 Least Fuel Efficient Hybrids

Top 5 Least Fuel Efficient Hybrids Hybrids tend to be synonymous with brilliant fuel economy, but that doesn’t mean all hybrid vehicles are gas sippers.
At the top end of the scale sits the Toyota Prius. A hybrid with one of the best gas mileage ratings, its combined 50 mpg is far above many gas-only vehicles.
At the other end but, some models grow to be taking advantage of their hybrid badge, offering marginal efficiency. And we’re not talking in this area supercars like the LaFerrari (which has an overall fuel rating of 14 mpg).
When shopping for a new car, Edmunds.com said that 79 percent of Americans name fuel economy as the most vital factor in their buying choice. Instead of assuming that a hybrid status automatically bestows a vehicle with farthest fuel economy, buyers should take a quicker look at the EPA rating.
Below are five of the least fuel efficient hybrid models now on the market.
5. Audi Q5 Hybrid
Combined fuel economy rating: 26 mpg Read more

First Autonomous Driving Calif. Permit Issued To Audi

First Autonomous Driving Calif. Permit Issued To Audi Audi announced it will be the first company to receive a newly established autonomous pouring permit issued by California.
This announcement came as range of new regulations that govern the testing of automated pouring on the state’s roads took effect September 16.
California has allowed limited use of its roads for automated vehicle testing in past years. But the state legislature, led by Sen. Alex Padilla, passed legislation that Gov. Jerry Brown signed in 2012 to establish new guidelines for testing and eventually consumer use of automated pouring technologies..
Audi added it has conducted research over tens of thousands of miles in Europe and various U.S. states, where such testing is tolerable. The research, clarified the German company, is aimed at preparing a highly automated Piloted pouring system for freeway traffic conditions. Audi envisions this technology could be ready for consumer introduction within five years.
California roads are especially crucial to Audi Piloted pouring testing because the state is home to the brand’s Electronics Research Lab (ERL), clarified Audi. ERL engineers are working on a wide range of automated pouring issues, including human-machine boundary prompts that indicate when the human or the vehicle are handling pouring functions.
Audi and ERL researchers have been involved in the pursuit of automated pouring from its earliest stages, added the automaker. Audi, ERL and Stanford University engineers collaborated on the development of the Autonomous Audi TTS Pikes Peak car, which successfully completed the 12.42-mile route of the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb race in Colorado in 27 minutes without a human in the car.
“Audi is a pouring force behind the research taking automated pouring from knowledge fiction to pre-production readiness,” said Scott Keogh, President, Audi of America. “Obtaining the first permit issued by the State of California shows that we intend to remain the leader in this vital technology frontier.”
Regulations taking effect this week include proof of insurance or surety bonds for manufacturers testing automated pouring research cars, and permits for company-designated operators of those vehicles. Regulations require surety bond coverage of at least $5 million for each vehicle covered by a ticket and allows testing on any state road. Read more

Toyota Reveals Three Reasons For Driving A Hybrid

Toyota Reveals Three Reasons For Driving A Hybrid It isn’t often that Toyota shows a self-aware sense of humor in its press releases. The newest example, listing three reasons why hybrids should be in everyone’s driveway, starts like this: “You don’t have to be a pious Prius driver (but it sure helps) to delight in the benefits of hybrid technology.”
The pious Prius driver has been a well loved meme highlighting the holier-than-thou attitude of some of the car’s most strident supporters, including being skewered by the show South Park with an episode called Smug Alert! back in 2006.
Regardless, Toyota cites some huge figures regarding the impression made by the Prius and its hybrid brethren, including saving 26.5 million tons of CO2 emissions in the U.S. since 2000, and that the vehicles could drive around the earth 4.39 million times with the fuel saved.
But as with most huge-depiction pieces, the most striking is the claimed $5 billion in saved fuel costs “compared to an average car.”
Toyota place together some clean graphics putting those figures into more easily understandable comparisons. And while these “facts” come from the company’s own calculations, even if the reality is a fraction of what’s presented, the company deserves some applause for its accomplishments.
 

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First Formula E Test Session Underway

First Formula E Test Session Underway The EV championship known as Formula E is holding its first official test session July 3 and 4.
E.dams-Renault’s Sebastien Buemi set the fastest time during July 3’s official test for the new FIA Formula E Championship at Donington Park, as fans got their first glimpse of the new all-electric series.
The first of five public tests took place at the Leicestershire circuit in dry, bright conditions and saw all 10 teams and drivers use the full Donington Park GP circuit, modified to include an additional chicane at the exit to the Ancient Hairpin, declared the series organizers.
Being the first outing for many of the drivers, the day focused on getting to grips with the Spark-Renault SRT_01E cars with German driver Daniel Abt, pouring for Audi Sport Abt, laying down the ahead of schedule benchmark for the morning session. The German, who finished the day eighth overall after missing the afternoon session due to other commitments, lapped in the low 1:37s, closely followed by Buemi and Andretti’s Franck Montagny.
Formula E said times started to tumble in the afternoon session with Buemi once again on the pace, posting a 1:35.475s with under an hour to go and holding on to the top spot until the end of the day. Abt’s Lucas di Grassi finished over a half a second shy of the Swiss despite only in succession during the afternoon session with Virgin Racing’s Sam Bird a additional three-tenths back in third. Mahindra Racing’s Bruno Senna ran well all day to end fourth with Venturi’s new signing and ex-Le Mans driver Stephane Sarrazin rounding out the top-five during his first outing in a fully-electric release-seater.
“I’m more than pleased to be honest,” said Sebastien Buemi. “I didn’t have any problems with the car at all and that meant we were able to learn quite a lot in this area it. It’s always nice to be P1 so let’s hope it continues tomorrow.”
Nicolas Prost of team e.dams-Renault and son of four-time Formula One World Champion Alain Prost finished sixth to edge out Jarno Trulli with Virgin Racing’s Jaime Alguersuari and Mahindra Racing’s Karun Chandhok completing the top-10.
The day also saw outings for several of the championship’s new signings including Amlin Aguri duo Katherine Legge and Antonio Felix da Costa, Venturi’s Nick Heidfeld, Trulli’s Michela Cerruti and Dragon Racing’s Mike Conway.
Former F1 racer Jerome d’Ambrosio and Spain’s Antonio Garcia tested for China Racing with Scott Speed making his test debut for Andretti – sharing the car with IndyCar legend and Formula E ambassador Gil de Ferran.
“Today’s first test has been a special occasion for everyone involved with the FIA Formula E Championship,” said Alejandro Agag, CEO of Formula E. “This project has been a long time coming but to see all the cars and drivers taking part is a very proud second and my thanks goes to all our investors, partners, teams and Formula E personnel for transforming the FIA’s dream into a reality.”
Agag also said day two of testing gets underway July 4 at 9 am with free access to fans, including a pitlane walk.
FIA Formula E Championship – Day 1, Test results (Combined times):
 
1. Sebastien Buemi, e.dams-Renault, 1:35.475
2. Lucas di Grassi, Audi Sport ABT, +0.537
3. Sam Bird, Virgin Racing, +0.895
4. Bruno Senna, Mahindra Racing, +0.910
5. Stephane Sarrazin, Venturi, +1.223
6. Nicolas Prost, e.dams-Renault, +1.232
7. Jarno Trulli, Trulli, +1.494
8. Daniel Abt, Audi Sport ABT, +1.737
9. Jaime Alguersuari, Virgin Racing, +1.970
10. Karun Chandhok, Mahindra Racing, +2.057
11. Franck Montagny, Andretti Autosport, +2.587
12. Antonio Felix da Costa, Amlin Aguri, +2.604
13. Jerome d’Ambrosio, China Racing, +2.611
14. Antonio Garcia, China Racing, +2.729
15. Nick Heidfeld, Venturi, +5.269
16. Mike Conway, Dragon Racing, +5.693
17. Gil de Ferran, Andretti Autosport, +9.497
18. Scott Speed, Andretti Autosport, +10.434
19. Katherine Legge, Amlin Aguri, +12.821
20. Michela Cerruti, Trulli, [No official time set]

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Next-Gen Prius Promises Sportier and More Efficient Performance

Next-Gen Prius Promises Sportier and More Efficient Performance A fourth-generation, sportier Toyota Prius, due more than a year from now, “will have a new type of hybrid system” as well as Toyota’s most thermally efficient gasoline engine.
Toyota’s top-selling hybrid that’s been existing in the U.S. since 2000 will be based on a modular platform called Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA).
The company’s design chief said the new Prius will be revolutionary outside and in with lower center of gravity for handling and sportier appearance while really offering better gas mileage and emissions.
Its gas engine is said to be 40-percent efficient, outdoing the 38.5 percent of the present Atkinson-cycle 1.8-liter four.
Lithium-ion batteries will replace nickel-metal-hydride, according to a Automotive News reporting from Japan where the new car will continue to be built.
Toyota’s TNGA architecture will enable commonization of many components to cut engineering time, costs, and allow flexibility in manufacturing.
Whether the Prius will be the first TNGA vehicle or merely one of others was not stated.
Last year Toyota lost market share but still sold over 1 million hybrid vehicles and is by far the number-one hybrid seller in North America and the world.
Toyota’s own success has spurred a raft of competitors either directly, such as the Ford C-Max hybrid, or indirectly from other full hybrid sedans and other types that offer relatively excellent mileage and other benefits.
Today there are close to 45 hybrids sold in the U.S. and Toyota has meanwhile said it will push its hybrid agenda all the harder.
That underlying reality is pouring the new Prius’ development, and that also of a plug-in version expected to offer significant improvements as well.
Autonews

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