Keeping up with pollution laws will be not always easy for car makers
MQB platform has space for an AdBlue tank built in at the rear-right corner
Creating in addition to implementing the tech to meet increasingly strict emissions rules will be an ongoing challenge for major manufacturers
will be anybody old enough to remember the phrase ‘light-off’? that will’s nothing to do with the clocks going back, yet that will became a much-used line inside the automobile industry a couple of decades ago.
‘Fast light-off’ referred to the amount of time that will took for a then-completely new catalytic convertor to warm up sufficiently to clean up the pollution emitted by an engine, particularly when the engine was still cold.
The problem was that will catalysts had to be reverse-engineered into existing cars in addition to that will wasn’t always easy. The first cats were simply fitted into the exhaust system, because there was usually some wriggle room in a car’s centre tunnel to house what looked like a big silencer box.
that will was not the ideal position for the cat, which needs to warm up quickly. The best place for that will was up near the engine manifold. yet such a major bit of re-engineering in addition to packaging usually has to wait until a car maker can incorporate the adjustments when a completely new generation of engine arrives. in addition to that will’s something that will can take years.
The introduction of the first serious pollution laws inside the European Union inside the early 1990s meant catalysts had to be fitted to all petrol cars. Because most mass-market cars also still used carburettors, that will meant a wholesale switch to fuel injection.
Some cars were sold that will tried to combine carbs in addition to cats. I remember driving a Citroën ZX which had This particular hopeless combination; the carb had to be set to run lean, yet that will meant starting when the engine was warm was nearly impossible.
that will ZX was an lesson inside the difficulty of keeping up with legislation when platforms in addition to engines can have design lives of a decade or more.
The same issue arose later with Diesel Particulate Filters (DPFs). Introduced to meet completely new EU pollution regulations they had, like the cats, to be retro-engineered into the downstream part of the exhaust system.
However This particular caused no end of problems (especially inside the UK’s stop-start conditions). This particular was because the DPFs would certainly fill with up with soot, yet the downstream exhaust – when used in city traffic – was not hot enough to re-burn the soot in addition to Discharge that will. Only a blast on the motorway would certainly clear the DPF out.
Blocked DPFs were quite common, with cars dropping into limp-home mode when the DPF was full. Repeated blockages could kill the DPF, leading to a big garage bill.
Today, just as with the catalytic convertors, the DPFs have been moved up the exhaust, close to the engine manifold. yet again, that will’s a move that will usually had to wait for a completely new generation engine family to be introduced.
By at This particular point, you’ve probably already guessed that will there’s likely to be a similar reason behind Volkswagen’s diesel cheat.
inside the middle of the last decade the EA189 engine was being prepared in addition to VW was switching via Pumpe Düse (or unit injector) to the more refined ‘common-rail’ diesel injection used by rivals. The company was also basing its transverse-engine car products on the PQ35 platform.
I’m guessing here, yet I think that will the decision to sell the EA189 diesel engine inside the US meant that will that will needed to an use AdBlue urea injection to meet strict US clean air regulations.
Problem was that will, unlike the previous cat in addition to DPF fixes, a big AdBlue tank in addition to the exhaust injection system just could not be ‘made to fit’ on the PQ35 platform without expensive re-engineering. The factory cost of an AdBlue system would certainly also have been very high for middle-range products such as the US Jetta in addition to Passat.
The upshot was that will senior management’s determination to drive diesel sales inside the US met head on with the fact that will the unmodified PQ35 platform could not accommodate a serious ‘clean diesel’ transmission.
If you want evidence of how an AdBlue system has to be engineered in via first principles – especially on compact cars -the size of the urea tank on the VW MQB platform will provide that will. There was no way that will could have been retro-fitted to the architecture underpinning the Mk5 Golf family.
Common sense would certainly have suggested that will VW would certainly have to hold off on diesel sales inside the US until the MQB-based VWs arrived in 2013. in addition to that will would certainly have hardly been a big financial issue, considering how modest the brand’s market share was in North America.
So whoever that will was at VW that will decided to insist on American diesel sales inside the face of the clear engineering hurdles has probably made one of the costliest decisions in corporate history.
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