Engines to grow after emissions controversy
PARIS: Tougher European car emissions tests being introduced in the wake of the Volkswagen scandal are about to bring surprising consequences: bigger engines.
Carmakers which have spent a decade shrinking engine capacities to meet emissions goals are now being forced into a costly U- turn, industry sources said, as more realistic on- the- road testing exposes deep flaws in their smallest motors.
Renault, General Motors and VW are preparing to enlarge or scrap some of their best-selling small car engines over the next three years, the people said. Other manufacturers are expected to follow, with both diesels and gasolines affected.
The reversal makes it even harder to meet carbon dioxide (CO ) targets and will challenge development budgets already stretched by a rush into electric cars and hybrids.
“The techniques we’ve used to reduce engine capacities will no longer allow us to meet emissions standards,” said Alain Raposo, head of powertrain at the Renault-Nissan alliance.
“We’re reaching the limits of downsizing,” he said at the Paris auto show, which ends today. Renault, VW and GM’s Opel all declined to comment on specific engine plans.
For years, carmakers kept pace with EU CO goals by shrinking engine capacities, while adding turbochargers to make up lost power. Threecylinder motors below one litre have become common in cars up to VW Golf-sized compacts; some Fiat models run on twin-cylinders.
These motors sailed through official tests conducted on rollers at unrealistically moderate temperatures and speeds. Carmakers, regulators and green groups knew real-world CO and nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions were higher, but the discrepancy remained unresolved.
All that is about to change. Starting next year, new models will be subjected to realistic onthe-road testing for NOx, with all cars required to comply by 2019. Fuel consumption and CO will follow two years later under a new global test standard. Independent testing in the wake of VW’s exposure last year as a US diesel emissions cheat has shed more light on the scale of the problem facing carmakers. – Reuters
A Peugeot 308 R Hybrid engine displayed at the Paris auto show.