Jens adds his voice to 25 German scholars who are crying out for reason and sanity – and for an end to discussions about killing the diesel engine.
The era of the diesel is over, and e-mobility is the future – this is what we’re told day-in and day-out by politicians and the pundits in the mainstream media. The onslaught has been particularly hard in Europe, following the diesel scandal that originated in the US. European politicians, not to be outdone by their American colleagues, have piled on, clamouring for cities to be closed off for diesels.
Now the experts are fed up. A few weeks ago, 25 professors and department heads at some of the most prestigious universities in Germany have raised their voice. Since then, several more have co-signed a document that is no less than a cry for reason and sanity.
The three main points are: the internal combustion engine can be complemented by e-mobility, but not replaced; the emissions topic is entirely solved with the latest technology, which will lead to engines that can be operated with zero impact on the environment; and the internal combustion engine has the unique ability to be operated with a wide range of easily stored fuels.
These three points are complemented by ten further explanations that address real-life emissions standards for the future (which are welcome) and the manipulations by VW (which are criticized). The aim of the scholars is not to defend VW, but they emphasise that the difference between certification windows and real life emissions has been well known – to the extent that it’s actually been an established practise for 20 years. NOX and particulates are fully solved with the EU6 phase 2 certification that kicks in Europe this autumn.
The scholars are irked by reporting that focuses on old technologies and on cars long certified. Retrofitting those cars with new technology will be immensely expensive and have little effect, as the fleet of Euro-5 cars will have largely dwindled by the time the solutions are ready.
It’s time to end the discussion about killing off the diesel. Without this technology, it’ll be impossible to reach Europe’s ambitious CO2 targets. And going electric is hardly an alternative. No customer should be forced to pay far more for a product that can do far less than what he or she currently owns. The professors are worried about freedom and rationality, and I couldn’t agree more!
Meanwhile, the eternal battle in the automotive upper class continues with the launch of the all-new Audi A8 and the extensively face-lifted Mercedes-Benz S-Class – both events that took place in the same week.
Audi has performed a gigantic leap in terms of style, telematics, and infotainment. The interior, with vast touch-sensitive glass screens, is ultra-futuristic, and a refreshing deviation from established design. The exterior, by contrast, needs a second and third reading to reveal its sophistication. The engine portfolio will include V6 and V8 diesels engines, and V6, V8 and W12 gasoline engines – all of them turbocharged. Audi will have a hybrid as well, which is based on the gasoline V6.
Mercedes-Benz, by contrast, has changed only few things on the surface of it new S-Class. The beauty is under the skin, with an almost entirely new (and partially hybridised) engine portfolio, as well as vastly upgraded telematics and infotainment. Its straight-six engine portfolio is an attack on BMW, while they appear to have surpassed Audi with their mild hybrid system. This leaves BMW’s 7 Series a distant third, with an interior that looked dated even when it came out a few years ago. The ball is now in your court, BMW...