In 2014 a Volkswagen executive wrote to an EU committee developing real-world emissions testing protocols for 2017 to insist that two provisions be deleted.
If only all of us were told that we could meet our goals and obligations by merely being "appropriate." That's the operative word being used to describe the European Union's goals for setting up publicly accessible electric-vehicle charging station and hydrogen refueling station infrastructure by the end of the decade. Turns out, the goals were unrealistic.
Testing vehicle emissions in the laboratory is a way to guarantee identical procedures, but it doesn't exactly mimic the results from an on-the-road drive. Ford, for example, famously had a problem with dynamometer testing in the Total Road Load Horsepower (TRLHP) calculations for the C-Max Hybrid. Over in Europe, the authorities are considering new rules that will not affect the emissions levels that need to be reached (those are already in process) but how the vehicles will be tested. Reuters
It can be difficult to see from the US, where the Mitsubishi Outlander Plug-in Hybrid is not yet available, but the all-wheel drive SUV is a big hit in Europe and Japan. In fact, we learned at the Plug In 2014 Conference in San Jose, CA this week that Mitsubishi has sold over 33,000 copies of the PHEV around the world.
What, you expected European automakers to test their vehicle emissions levels on gravel roads in a wind storm? Charged with cutting CO2 emissions by more than 30 percent within the next seven years, automakers reduced fleetwide emissions by four percent last year. Of course, such automakers may be gaming the system by testing cars on "unrealistically" smooth road surfaces and with tires that can provide extra traction, Reuters says. No word on whether such cars wind-drafted behind semi trucks.
The discussion over whether electric vehicles should come with warning sounds has been going on for what feels like forever - seriously, it's been so long we've forgotten amazing little tidbits like this - but that doesn't mean the whole thing is solved. While the US has required EVs to emit a generated noise at low speeds since 2011, Europe only been discussing a similar system, the "Acoustic Vehicle Alerting Systems" (AVAS) all these years. This week, the European Parliament made a decision.
Police in the European Union are allegedly hard at work developing a remote-stopping system that would allow authorities to disable a vehicle at a moment's notice, according to a report from AutoExpress. It's being developed by the European Network of Law Enforcement Technology Services.
The 28-member European Union and the United States are currently negotiating a free trade agreement that, if successfully concluded, would rewrite the rules of international exchange for 46 percent of global trade. The magnitude of the potential deal means just about everyone is trying to influence parts of the deal, from the Sierra Club and almost 200 other organizations fighting the investor-state dispute clause to automakers aiming to get negotiators to harmonize US and EU safety regulations.
Getting drivers to change their behavioral patterns is quite difficult, but the fuel economy payoff can be huge. Consumer Reports has been informing passenger car drivers about the consequences of hitting the gas pedal, and now the Volvo Group is participating in a project to improve commercial truck driver behavior.
If Germany sneezes, does the European Union catch a cold? Kind of, at least when we're talking about the EU's recent step to making its greenhouse-gas emissions standards set for the end of the decade a little less stringent after months of German automakers crying uncle, Reuters says.
We're not sure how to translate "biting the hand that feeds you" to French, but we're pretty sure the phrase is appropriate here. See, Renault recently won funding of about $28 million from the European Commission to develop diesel-hybrid powertrains for commercial vans. The thing is, the French company may now join lobbying efforts with German automakers as they ask EC officials to loosen emissions restrictions set for the end of the decade, according to Reuters.
Would a global vehicle emission standard make sense? After all, as Automotive News writer Richard Truett points out, "Clean air is clean air no matter what continent it blows over." But, while attending a recent automotive industry conference in Traverse City, MI, Truett heard Chris Gundler, the director of the EPA's Office of Transportation and Air Quality, respond to a question about the US and European Union adopting uniform emissions standards, and Gunder responded that he doesn't think that
Since its introduction, it has been clear that the SAE Combo DC fast charging system (pictured) is contentious. While most public charging network providers are hesitant to take sides and different engineers will tell you why one system is better than the other, the big fight was always between the automakers. On the SAE Combo side are of the format war are, mostly, the German and the US automakers and, on the competing CHAdeMO side are Japanese companies like Nissan and Mitsubishi. Stepping int
That didn't take long. Shortly after a French administrative court gave the French government a ten-day window to reconsider its ban on registrations of Mercedes-Benz A-, B- and CLA-Class cars using the prohibited R134a refrigerant, the government cited an EU directive to formalize banning the sale of the cars. The country's environmental ministry said that registrations "will remain forbidden in France as long as the company does not to conform to European regulations," meaning so long as they
The brief alphanumerics R134a and R1234yf are codes for a growing battle between carmakers, states and the EU. The air-conditioning refrigerant R134a has been banned by the EU for being too damaging to the environment, with R1234yf mandated as its replacement. Daimler and Volkswagen say that in their own studies, though, R1234yf can be more dangerous in an accident, potentially starting fires and releasing poisonous hydrogen fluoride gas.
Safety and emissions regulations have long been touchy subjects in the auto industry, because they can dictate the legality of automobiles and are not the same from country to country. Fragmented regulations add costs to vehicle sales, and they inhibit the ability of automakers to offer the same products around the globe.
The last time we checked in on the battle of refrigerants, France had enacted a registration ban on some Mercedes-Benz vehicles because their air-conditioning systems were loaded with R134a, which was found to be harmful to the environment by EU tests. Now, other EU states are considering banning the substance, according to Automotive News, as they push for a new refrigerant, R1234yf, to be used in new vehicles across the board.
Just three months ago, as of April, the story was that the European car market registered its first gain in 19 months, consumer confidence was up "higher than average" and observers were hoping the month could be the first footstep in the trek to "legitimate recovery," even though Europe's four-month sales were down seven percent. The stats for June are a return to dark portents, with Bloomberg now reporting that sales for the month haven't been this bad since 1993. As a result, investor confide