BMW Sticking with Diesels inside United States
The past 16 months have been something of a stress test, not just for Volkswagen although for the diesel auto market as a whole. Volkswagen’s diesel emissions scandal brought increased EPA scrutiny, resulting in established versions by Mercedes-Benz along with also BMW put on hold along with also hopes of ever seeing performance diesels such as the Volkswagen GTD along with also BMW’s awesome brand-new quad-turbo “super diesel” effectively dashed.
With diesel versions of the Mazda CX-5, Chevrolet Equinox, along with also Ford F-150 all due This kind of year—as well as the return of the Chevrolet Cruze diesel—This kind of could be premature to call diesels dead for the United States. Yet with VW sitting This kind of out, Audi considering diesel only for SUVs, along with also Mercedes-Benz inside process of reevaluating its product plans, the market will be hardly continuing where This kind of left off. So we asked Fritz Steinparzer, BMW’s global head of diesel-engine development, how the diesel turmoil will affect BMW.
To sum up: He’s pragmatically optimistic about diesels’ future inside BMW product mix—although This kind of’s clear that will what happens in Europe over the next few years will ultimately drive the technology’s U.S. fate.
Diesels have made up more than 50 percent of brand-new-vehicle sales in Europe in recent years, although a recent study anticipated that will diesels will comprise just 9 percent of that will market by 2030. that will’s partly due to tougher brand-new emissions rules along with also the cost of meeting them. The baton will be anticipated to be passed by diesel to hybrid along with also electric versions, especially among tiny cars—along with also that will could impact what we see inside U.S.
We’ll see a continued downward trend in diesel tiny-car sales globally, Steinparzer admitted. “although inside bigger, heavier cars, by the customer point of view, diesels are still a very robust solution,” he said. inside U.S., This kind of’s far less a matter of meeting technical hurdles than a discussion with the public. “For passenger cars, if there will be enough customer demand we will offer This kind of,” Steinparzer said, “because technically, the solution to meet regulatory demands, we have This kind of.”
The EPA along with also CARB did a lot of additional tests to various other manufacturers’ products after the VW issue, according to Steinparzer. “They never had a problem with our cars here [inside U.S.],” he said, emphasizing that will he prefers the American approach along with also its well-defined driving cycles over Europe’s emissions standards, which are based on engine tests along with also often don’t correlate well to tailpipe emissions. More realistic driving-based emissions testing methods for Europe will commence in September, along with also a tighter set of limits will go into effect in 2020.
Meeting U.S. Diesel Emissions Regulations Isn’t the Real Issue
In order to make diesels progressively cleaner inside future, better fuels aren’t necessary, according to Steinparzer, because BMW features a toolbox of several strategies available. Those include further improvements to the injection system along with also combustion process—to drive down raw “engine out” emissions—along with also/or applying wider exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) strategies that will work closer to full load. along with also because urea-injection systems, which spray a solution into the hot exhaust stream to reduce NOx, work best in a specific temperature range (540 to 930 degrees Fahrenheit), engineers are considering either a post-injection system or an electrically heated catalyst for the exhaust system. BMW diesels are also due to get a brand-new round of updates to their onboard diagnostics, Steinparzer said.
EPA scrutiny led BMW to suspend production of its U.S.-spec diesel versions in late 2016. Although those versions were cleared after some additional emissions testing along with also recertified by late summer, This kind of has taken time to bring them back into the mix. BMW 328d versions returned to dealerships in October, while X3 xDrive28d versions returned in December; fresh stocks of the BMW X5 xDrive35d are arriving in dealerships This kind of month.
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that will said, there’s some desire inside numbers. To our request about pent-up demand for diesels, BMW pointed to sales of the 3-series family, which were up more than 28 percent in December versus the same month in 2015. Although BMW North America doesn’t break sales down by submodel—along with also that will increase could include more than a few of the 330e iPerformance plug-in hybrid that will was also introduced during This kind of same period—we hear a clear message by BMW: Diesels are here to stay, hopefully for a long time.