AMID THE chaos and confusion over the future of the diesel engine, which led to a 17% fall in UK sales of new diesel-burning motors last year, comes a glimmer of hope. One of the car industry’s giants says it has developed breakthrough engine technology that can slash harmful nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions by up to 90%.
Bosch, the German company that is one of the world’s biggest developers of automotive technology, claims to have redesigned the diesel engine so that it will dramatically outperform tougher car emissions coming into force from 2020.
The news is likely to be enthusiastically greeted by millions of motorists who have enjoyed the fuel efficiency and willing performance of diesel engines.
Following the Volkswagen dieselgate emissions cheating scandal, and the government’s announcement that new, traditional diesels will be banned from showrooms from 2040, many diesel vehicle owners have postponed replacing their car, as they are unsure whether diesel, petrol, hybrid or even an electric car would best meet their needs, satisfy future legislation and do on to be in demand on the used car market.
Dr. Volkmar Denner, CEO of Bosch, said the technology shows there is a future for diesel-powered cars. “Today, we want to put a stop, once and for all, to the debate about the demise of diesel technology.”
Since 2017, European legislation has required that new cars meet real driving emissions (RDE) testing, and emit no more than 168 milligrams of NOx per kilometre. From 2020, the limit will be cut to 120 milligrams.
Yet Bosch says its innovations, which add no more cost or components to the typical diesel engine, can lower NOx emissions to 13 milligrams on the RDE cycle. That is approximately one-tenth of the 2020 limit.
Even in town, where diesel-powered cars are their least efficient, the emissions are claimed to be 40mg/km.
It means “diesel will remain an option in urban traffic, whether drivers are tradespeople or commuters,” says Denner.
Bosch’s solution is said to manage exhaust gas recirculation and optimise the engine’s turbochargers. It is claimed to be effective from the moment the car is started and can cut NOx in all driving conditions.
The company invited press to drive a Volkswagen Golf diesel fitted with the system, around central Stuttgart. Emissions measurements recorded during the demonstration drives showed NOx levels were under 40mg/km, despite the city centre traffic.
The German company says its technology could be incorporated into diesel engine immediately, and would have no detrimental impact on fuel economy or carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions.