German manufacturers’ software updates, trade-in bonuses and participation in Federal Government fund make important contributions to solution
German Association of the Automotive Industry comments on today’s diesel summit
All the stakeholders have a major interest in finding solutions quickly in order to avoid bans on diesel vehicles. It is therefore a good thing that the Federal Government is searching for ways to provide towns and cities with the means to improve the air quality as fast as possible. Digital measures in particular for improving the smooth flow and volume of traffic have great potential for rapidly bringing down nitrogen oxide levels. So more implementation of intelligent instruments of this kind is the right action.
In addition, promotion of alternative powertrains and mobility offers will be effective, as will the accelerated replacement of older bus and taxi fleets with vehicles satisfying the latest pollutant emission standard. Those who want to see quick results should rapidly renew the bus fleets in particular, because modern Euro VI buses emit 80 percent less NOx on the roads than their Euro V predecessors and are also much more fuel-efficient. Replacing the fleet is far more likely to be successful than any type of retrofit, which is questionable both technically and in terms of the cost-benefit relationship and is usually associated with increased fuel consumption and CO2 output. Electrification of the bus fleets will be more of a medium-term measure. Before it can go ahead, the necessary infrastructure must be installed in the towns and cities. However, until now most municipalities have not made preparations. For example, many depots are currently not yet equipped to charge electric buses. Today other alternative propulsion systems (gas) for buses are already widely available, which can make an important contribution to reducing emissions of pollutants and CO2. In general the promotional programs should be open to all technologies.
No single measure will be sufficient on its own for meeting the world’s most demanding air quality requirements in the towns and cities affected. At the end of the day it will be effective packages of measures that count.
The German automotive industry assumes responsibility and makes a large contribution to the solution. Voluntary software updates and trade-in bonuses for especially low-emission cars can effectively bring down the level of pollutants – relatively quickly. Free software updates are being installed in more than 5 million diesel cars. This can decrease NOx emissions per vehicle by an average of 25 to 30 percent. The automotive companies have already made significant progress with these updates. The German OEMs are standing by their promises, and making a considerable contribution to improving urban mobility through the fund approved by the German Government in August.
The “Platform for Urban Mobility” initiated by the VDA is catalyzing the development of projects in several towns and cities, some of which might be eligible for promotion from the fund. Furthermore, in cooperation with manufacturers and suppliers the VDA has launched an initiative for dialog with the towns and cities most affected. It aims to determine which short-term measures can be implemented to achieve further improvements in the air quality, and what the automotive industry can do in addition to its participation in the fund.