New engine software: Car manufacturers are lagging behind commitments in diesel conversion
TIME ONLINE | News, backgrounds and debates
Berlin (dpa) - The upgrades older diesel with a better exhaust gas software are progressing - the manufacturers limp their commitments but still afterwards. Currently, 4.5 million cars have received updates, as the Federal Ministry of Transport on request of the German Press Agency announced.
At the Diesel summit of politics and industry two years ago, however, the German carmaker had agreed to reduce the emissions of 5.3 million cars with new engine software - and that until the end of last year. In the meantime, 85 percent of these cars have been retrofitted.
"Other vehicles are in the conversion, are close to it or are in the concrete planning for the conversion," it said. The fact that not all cars have been converted, is because manufacturers would have to provide some necessary technical documentation.
The Association of the Automotive Industry (VDA) called the conversion rate of 85 percent "a very good result". This would have significantly reduced the nitrogen oxide emissions of 4.5 million diesel cars on the roads. This is an active contribution to improve air quality. "Our companies are working hard to keep this rate up," the association said.
Background of the software updates is that in many cities the air is too bad. Diesel exhaust gases are considered as a relevant reason. In the meantime, courts have imposed driving bans on older diesels for some cities, but politicians want to take countermeasures.
At the diesel summit with federal and state governments on August 2, 2017, the German automakers had agreed to reduce nitrogen oxide emissions by an average of 25 to 30 percent by software update for 5.3 million diesel engines in the Euro 5 and 6 classes - up to the Year-end 2018 on the basis of approvals by the Federal Motor Transport Authority (KBA) and the available vehicles. The costs are borne by the manufacturers. The 5.3 million cars also included 2.5 million cars of the VW Group, from which illegal exhaust gas software had to be removed anyway.
In August 2018 it was also announced that one million additional diesel should get new software. Exact numbers, how many of these cars are now converted, called the Ministry not. It pointed out that for a total of 5.5 million vehicles a clearance by the KBA was made.
In addition to the software updates, the German government had also agreed after a long dispute on hardware retrofits - ie modifications of the exhaust gas purification directly on the engine. As announced on the weekend, the KBA has now issued the first general operating permit. According to the Bamberg technology provider Dr Pley, this relates first to retrofit kits for Volvo models. Approvals will soon be expected for vehicles from Daimler and BMW.
Ministry of Transport to the National Forum Diesel on 2.8.2017