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EPA Passes BMW Diesels Using New Tougher Testing

U.S. officials placing diesels under more scrutiny.

by on Aug.05, 2016

BMW delayed the launch of its various diesel models in the U.S. due to added testing, which they have passed.

Call it “Invasion of the Diesels: The Sequel.”

German automaker BMW AG received approval from the Environmental Protection Agency to sell diesel vehicles in the U.S. The maker’s engines were subject to a substantive review after it came to light that Volkswagen AG had been cheating on emissions testing with its diesels for more than a decade.

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While VW recently reached a settlement costing them $14.7 billion to right its wrong, federal officials moved to ensure there would not be a repeat performance by other makers. Testing was rigorous enough to cause delay in BMW’s certification due to logistical issues. (more…)

France Planning to Phase Out Diesels

Increased taxes, urban travel restrictions could follow.

by on Dec.01, 2014

French regulators are moving to phase out oil-burners like this Porsche Cayenne Diesel.

Diesels have accounted for as much as half of the European new car market in recent years, but that number could plunge in the near future if the French government takes step to phase out the high-mileage powertrain option.

That’s a very real possibility, Prime Minister Manuel Valls now saying past support for diesel power was a “mistake,” and calling for a gradual phase-out in favor of less polluting technologies.

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“In France, we have long favored the diesel engine,” the Prime Minister said on Friday. “This was a mistake, and we will progressively undo that, intelligently and pragmatically.”

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New Air Pollution Study Raises Concerns About Diesel

Study confirms air pollution causes lung cancer.

by on Oct.21, 2013

Diesel emissions have been linked to lung cancer, especially in emerging markets where pollution controls are minimal.

Government officials took the unusual step of closing some of the freeways in Beijing earlier this month, the latest in a series of increasingly frantic efforts to reduce the city’s seemingly endemic problems with air pollution so severe many residents now walk around wearing masks to reduce the amount of soot and smoke they breathe in.

They have reason to worry, warns a new study released by the International Agency for Research on Cancer. Based in Lyon, France, and the cancer research arm of the World Health Organization, the IARC has formally declared what many medical experts have long suspected: that air pollution causes lung cancer.

The study points an accusing finger at a variety of sources, including the coal-burning power plants of China, the widespread agricultural operations of California – and the diesel cars and trucks found all over the world.

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“The air most people breathe has become polluted with a complicated mixture of cancer-causing substances,” said IARC department chief Kurt Straif told the Associated Press, warning that air pollution is now considered to create a more serious risk of lung cancer than second-hand cigarette smoke. The agency contends more than 220,000 people around the world died in 2010 due to cancers arising from air pollution.

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Five Green Car Finalists Revealed

Not all even have hit market yet.

by on Oct.24, 2011

Though it won't go on sale until December, Ford's Focus Electric is a finalist in the Green Car of the Year awards announced next month.

The first 2012 Ford Focus Electric won’t even reach buyers in California until the very end of the year but it apparently has had a significant impact on the judges for the Green Car of the Year, landing among the five finalists for the prestigious award.

The jury has chosen a mix of products that reveals the breadth of alternative powertrain market, with the finalists including a conventional hybrid, two pure battery-electric vehicles, a clean diesel and a natural gas-powered offering.

Along with the Focus Electric, the Green Car finalists include the 2012 Honda Civic Natural Gas, the 2012 Mitsubishi i, the 2012 Toyota Prius v and the 2012 Volkswagen Passat TDI.

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“This year’s Green Car of the Year finalists underscore that there is no single solution to our transportation challenges,” said Ron Cogan, editor and publisher of Green Car Journal and GreenCar.com “Here we have five exceptional answers to the question of how we’re going to increase efficiencies, reduce tailpipe and CO2 emissions, and decrease petroleum use.”

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Costs, Range Issues Likely to Limit Green Car Sales

“Automakers will be fighting” for the few green buyers, warns Power study.

by on Apr.27, 2011

Ford's Focus Electric will be one of 159 battery-based vehicles on the U.S. market by 2016 - but will car buyers care?

Despite the endless headlines and the steady roll-out of battery cars, plug-ins, hydrogen vehicles and natural gas-powered sedans, the market for alternative powertrain vehicles is likely to remain extremely limited for some years to come, warns a new study that predicts “automakers will be fighting over the relatively few consumers who are willing to drive green.”

Though large numbers of U.S. car buyers might say they want a clean vehicle, cost and convenience matter more than the environment when it comes time to buy, concludes the Green Automotive Study released today by J.D. Power and Associates.

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“It is the financial issues that most often resonate with consumers, whether it is the higher price of the vehicle itself, the cost to fuel or charge the vehicle, or the fear of higher maintenance costs,” said Mike VanNieuwkuyk, Power’s executive director of global vehicle research. “The bottom line is that most consumers want to be green, but not if there is a significant personal cost to them.”

By 2016, Power forecasts there will be 159 hybrid and electric vehicle models available in the U.S., a more than fivefold increase from the 31 marketed in 2009.  But they’re collectively expected to account for just 10% of the total U.S. automotive market.

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Mercedes Eyeing “Wonder Diesel” for U.S.

E250 Bluetec could deliver 44 mpg.

by on Apr.08, 2009

Mercedes wants to know if Americans would embrace a 4-cylinder diesel delivering 44 mpg in a midsize luxury sedan.

Mercedes wants to know if Americans would embrace a 4-cylinder diesel delivering 44 mpg in a midsize luxury sedan.

Would American luxury buyers embrace a midsize Mercedes-Benz sedan delivering fuel economy better than most of today’s hybrids?

That’s the question the German automaker is trying to answer as it ponders whether to begin importing its E250 Bluetec, a high-mileage luxury car that European autowriters have taken to calling the “wonder diesel.”

“We’re asking whether (people) could imagine a 4-cylinder diesel E-Class here in the U.S.,” said Klaus Meier, Mercedes’ executive vice president of sales.

The automaker already plans to introduce a new Bluetec version of its E350, shortly after the launch of the gasoline-powered 2010 E-Class sedans and coupes, later this year.  The E350, which will meet the toughest emissions standards in all 50 states, provides near-V-8 performance but V-6 fuel economy.  The E250, would provide V-6 levels of horsepower and torque, but fuel economy Meier estimates at 44 mpg.  That would meet or exceed the mileage of the best hybrid models in its segment, but still offer substantially better performance, according to the automaker.

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Audi Bullish on Diesel as it Launches 1st New TDI

German luxury maker sets price for “clean” Q7 TDI at $50,000.

by on Apr.08, 2009

Audi of America CEO Johan de Nysschen, announcing the $50,900 price for the new Q7 TDI.

Audi of America CEO Johan de Nysschen, announcing the $50,900 price for the new Q7 TDI.

Audi will launch its first “clean” diesel, the Q7 TDI, later this month for $50,900, officials have announced, not including destination charges.  The Q7 is expected to usher in an assortment of new Audi diesel-powered vehicles, despite growing skepticism about the role of the high-efficiency engines in the American marketplace.

Though Audi has steered clear of the hefty incentives becoming commonplace among luxury import makers, the company’s U.S. CEO, Johan de Nysschen, acknowledged that the automaker is hoping a federal tax credit of up to $1150 will help boost sales of the Q7 TDI and subsequent diesel offerings.

Click Here to Subscribe to TDB“America’s reliance on gasoline-powered cars must come to an end,” said Audi of America’s chief executive, during a diesel “forum” marking the start of the annual New York International Auto Show.  While de Nysschen acknowledged there’s no “silver bullet,” no single solution to the challenge of reducing America’s dependence on foreign oil, the automaker is hoping that diesel could become one of the more popular solutions.

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Sneak Peek: 2010 Volkswagen Polo

VW's global small car - finally bound for America.

by on Mar.03, 2009

Polo Blue Motion Concept: "Cleaner than any hybrid on the market"?

Polo Blue Motion Concept: "Cleaner than any hybrid on the market"?

Take the latest Volkswagen Golf, shrink it down a size class and you’ve pretty much come up with the all-new 2010 Volkswagen Polo. No longer a plain-Jane econobox, the Polo debuting at this year’s Geneva Motor Show is decidedly more stylish and better-equipped than VW’s past attempts at entry-level motoring.

Squeezed by buyers wanting more content and regulators who alternately demand better crash protection and improved fuel economy, Volkswagen engineers had a tough challenge ahead when they launched the fifth-generation Polo project. If initial appearances prove accurate, they’ve redeemed themselves well.

Not only is the ’10 Polo better looking and more lavishly outfitted but it’s also expected to meet the tough new European 5-star NCAP crash tests, revealed VW Board Member Ulrich Hachenberg. On a comparably-equipped basis, the new model comes in 7.5 percent lighter than the Gen-4 Polo. And across the board, VW claims significant improvements in mileage. The most frugal, a BlueMotion diesel, is set to lay claim to being the most fuel-efficient 50-door non-hybrid model on the planet, yielding an impressive 62 mpg in the European test cycle.

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Motor Week Fetes Jetta Clean Diesel

Best of all worlds, TV show declares

by on Feb.11, 2009

Motor Week Host John Davis with Best-of-the-Year VW Jetta TDI

Motor Week Host John Davis with Best-of-the-Year VW Jetta TDI

The JETTA TDI clean diesel was named “Best of the Year” by Motor Week in its 2009 Drivers’ Choice Award competition.

John Davis, Motor Week host, said the Jetta TDI really had no peer this year. “It is the best of all worlds rolled into one vehicle. It’s clean, powerful, fun to drive, roomy and comfortable and it also happens to be very affordable. If history is any judge on past Volkswagen diesels, you can add extremely reliable and durable to the list.”

The Environmental Protection Agency estimates the Jetta TDI gets an economical 29 miles per gallon in its City cycle and 40 miles per gallon on the Highway. Volkswagen went a step further to show the true fuel economy of the Jetta TDI. Third party testing found the Jetta performed 24 percent better in real world conditions – in sharp contrast to most vehicles, which typical deliver lower mileage than the EPA forecast — achieving 38 miles per gallon in the city and 44 mpg on the highway.

The other ‘Driver Choice’ awards included Best Small Car, Honda Fit; Best Family Sedan, Mazda6; Best Minivan, Dodge Grand Caravan/Chrysler Town & Country; Best Sport Sedan, Cadillac CTS; Best Luxury Sedan, Hyundai Genesis; Best Convertible, BMW1- Series; Best Small Utility, Subaru Forester; Best Large Utility, Honda Pilot; Best Pickup Truck, Dodge Ram; Best Sport Coupe, Audi A5/S5; Best Performance Car, Nissan GT-R, Best Eco-Friendly, Volkswagen GTI; Best Dream Machine, Chevrolet ZR1.