Isn’t this interesting

Renault diesel cars emit the highest levels of toxic nitrogen oxides of all the big manufacturers and the French company’s recent models produce nine times the legal limit, tests have found.

Volkswagen, which has paid £15 billion to settle cases in the US over cheating emissions tests, now produces the least-polluting cars, according to Which?, the consumer group.

Jeep, Nissan, Hyundai and Ford scored badly in the Which? tests, producing at least five times the limit.

As engineers the world over have been saying, absolutely everyone has been lying. Because the basics of diesel technology are that you can’t reduce both CO2 and NOX in a cheap diesel engine. Only an expensive one.

Well done to the planners there.

27 comments on “Isn’t this interesting

  1. I suspect the French government knew this from the beginning, but decided EU rules don’t apply when one of their national champions is on the wrong end of them.

  2. Okay, so ill-informed planners come up with unworkable possibly counter-productive rules.

    Colossal and politically privileged industry decides to suck its collective thumb and do nothing, aside from defraud its customers (and, ultimately, machine-gun itself in the foot). How dripping wet can you get?

    Actually, I think you may be under-estimating the race for competitive advantage here. I don’t know the situation now, but BMW were a long way ahead of their diesel rivals. That must have had an affect on VW.

  3. Meanwhile, what about the authorities?

    We pay for an awful lot of regulation, but no one seems to have been checking at all.

  4. VW should get their money back and every one of the regulators involved should be fired and lose their pension. Consumers can decide what their priorities are.

  5. There is a way, use Urea in the exhaust system to absorb and neutralise the NOX. BMW (and Daimler Benz) did this; it is messy, expensive, and somewhat corrosive. You must regularly service and replace the Urea for it to work. It costs a lot; which is why VAG decided NOT to use it initially; it would be hard to generate a profit on the VW and Skoda (and SEAT etc) models using that technology. And without that, you cannot use the higher temperatures necessary to get good performance in small turbo-diesels.

    Actually it has been obvious for quite a while for those with a “cultivated” chemical nose, you can almost always detect the small of NOX when a small turbo diesel under load goes by. And if you can smell it, then the concentration is well over the limits set.

  6. re Ed Snack
    It’s called a DEF (Diesel Exhaust Fluid) system. Used on trucks and high end diesel cars where the extra costs is only a small percentage of the total price.

  7. Some companies have done far better than others though. Your linked article tells us that two models of Mini managed to scrape under the limits, so it is technically feasible. Either that or the tests were a fluke: we don’t know how rigourous Which? have been.

    It’s not because the Mini is small & light either – the modern ones are as chunky as any other car.

  8. So it turns out the Germans do excellent engineering and the French cheat.

    Way to challenge national stereotypes there guys.

  9. That’s not what the graph says at all, SMFS.

    Renault have a dismal record, but haven’t got any worse. Peugeot-Citroen have improved quite dramatically.

    VW have, unlike anyone else, got worse. That’s abysmal.

  10. Ed Snack said:
    “There is a way, use Urea in the exhaust system … You must regularly service and replace the Urea for it to work”

    So you have to piss up the exhaust pipe every week?

  11. It’s an SCR that uses the DEF.DEF isn’t the system. Typically found on all euro 6 engines. The problem was that to maintain the reduction NOX it used more that was available between services. Since the system tank isn’t accessable to your average drive as its buried in the car somewhere. In trucks it’s topped up as frequently and it’s fuelled. So car manufacture only limited it’s used for specific parts of the drive cycle- ie where its mandated in the cert. So no wonder some random test detects NOX outside the declared limit.

  12. ‘Renault diesel cars emit the highest levels of toxic nitrogen oxides of all the big manufacturers and the French company’s recent models produce nine times the legal limit, tests have found.’

    How much regular nitrogen oxide do they produce?

    Junk science journalism.

    Nitrous oxide – laughing gas – is used by dentists and party goers.

    ‘legal limit’ is absolutely arbitrary. Nine times arbitrary has zero meaning. Scary, but meaningless.

    “The right dose differentiates a poison from a remedy.” – Von der Besucht, Paracelsus, 1567

  13. “you can’t reduce both CO2 and NOX in a cheap diesel engine”: the CO2 matters not a button, so you could concentrate on the NOx, once the particulates problem is solved. (I’m assuming that the particulates really are a problem, but I’m decades out of date on the literature. And anyway much of the environmental literature is crap.)

  14. Gamecock,

    Nitrous oxide is N₂O. Nitrogen oxides are NO and NO₂. They’re completely different things.

  15. OT, but can anyone here explain why my Audi Q3 diesel does many more mpg in Spain (65+) than in the UK (55)? I don’t change my driving style, I buy supermarket diesel in both countries. I’ve noticed the same phenomenon with my wife’s A3 diesel but it’s even more marked.

  16. “Some companies have done far better than others though”

    I read the report in today’s paper, and noticed that Dacia had lower NOx values than Renault – strange, as Dacia use Renault engines and parts.

  17. @Theo
    Everybody does. You might not change your driving style but the roads are very different. Different traffic patterns. My average speed reading on the GPS is 20km/h higher here than back UK. So there’s more time being spent in the efficient band of the engine.

  18. Theo, as BIS says it’s probably the roads and relative lack of congestion outside the big cities in Spain. In the UK, on motorways you constantly have to change speed because of some fool clogging up the middle lane at 50 mph. And traffic levels are horrendous. In Spain you can travel 200 miles on cruise control without having to brake at all.

  19. BiS/Diogenes
    Thanks, but I am comparing country roads in Spain with country roads in East Anglia.
    So I doubt it’s driving style.

  20. You can feel the hysteria mounting by the day. What is certain is that this is a golden opportunity for virtue signalling on the part of the political elites, and if they can remove some mobility from the plebs at the same time, then the opportunity won’t be passed up. It’s just become a huge feeding frenzy.

    You have to pinch yourself to realise that not a single death certificate has been signed with air pollution as the cause. As John Brignell says these are all virtual deaths, arrived at by some dodgy methodology that makes climate science look respectable by comparison.

    Bollocks though it all is you have to take notice of it. I’m soon going to have to change my car, and getting another diesel is leaving myself open to wallet raping, and bans, plus the wrath of every ill-informed NetMums contributor thinking of the children.

  21. IR
    Yup, virtue signalling and hysteria. As for wallet rape, I’m driving back from Spain to the UK in mid-May via Lyon. To visit my friends who live in the centre of Lyon, I’ve had to pay €29.95 for an emissions pass or Crit d’Air for my diesel Q3.

  22. “the wrath of every ill-informed NetMums contributor thinking of the children.”

    Nicely put. I’m afraid this is what happens when you ‘educate’ women (or indeed men) beyond the level of their intelligence.

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