Diesels on dis­play in Frank­furt show de­spite scan­dal

Ripon Bulletin - - On The Road -

FRANK­FURT, Ger­many (AP) — Scan­dals. Re­calls. Threats of bans. The diesel en­gine is a pub­lic en­emy for many en­vi­ron­men­tal ac­tivists and politi­cians.

And yet, when the world’s big­gest au­tomak­ers un­veil new mod­els at this year’s auto show in Frank­furt, among the new elec­tric ve­hi­cles and dig­i­tal­lyen­hanced pro­to­types there will also be diesel cars.

The car­mak­ers at the show, mainly Ger­many’s big man­u­fac­tur­ers, are hop­ing to mod­ify diesel en­gines to make them cleaner rather than throw them out al­to­gether. It’s a bid for sta­bil­ity in an in­dus­try roiled by change.

Here’s a quick look at the ma­jor themes and ve­hi­cles ex­pected at the Frank­furt In­ter­na­tional Mo­tor Show, which opens for jour­nal­ists Tues­day and Wed­nes­day and to the gen­eral pub­lic from Satur­day through Sept. 24. DIESEL DILEMMA Ger­man car­mak­ers, which have re­lied heav­ily on diesel, have been bruised by con­tro­versy over the tech­nol­ogy since Volk­swa­gen’s scan­dal, in which the com­pany ad­mit­ted to il­le­gally rig­ging cars to turn off diesel emis­sion con­trols when not on test stands. Sub­se­quent in­ves­ti­ga­tion found that many diesels by other man­u­fac­tur­ers met of­fi­cial test stan­dards but emit­ted far more pol­lu­tion dur­ing ev­ery day driv­ing, of­ten by ex­ploit­ing le­gal loop­holes that per­mit­ted them to turn off con­trols at cer­tain tem­per­a­tures. Ger­man car­mak­ers are re­call­ing some 5 mil­lion older diesel ve­hi­cles to tweak their en­gine con­trol soft­ware in hopes of ward­ing off pres­sure for diesel bans in some cities.

So ex­pect a lot of em­pha­sis on emis­sions-free tech­nol­ogy such as bat­tery­pow­ered cars. Daim­ler will show off a fully elec­tric, com­pact car un­der its EQ brand, which rep­re­sents the com­pany’s push into ar­eas it has bun­dled un­der the acro­nym CASE: con­nected, While the anti­inflammatory drug known as “ibudi­last” is pri­mar­ily used in Ja­pan to treat asthma, it may also hold prom­ise as a treat­ment for al­co­holism. Dur­ing a small, dou­ble­blind, placebo­con­trolled lab­o­ra­tory study, par­tic­i­pants were given ei­ther ibudi­last or a placebo for six days in a row. After a two­week break, the study par­tic­i­pants who were first given the drug re­ceived the placebo; those orig­i­nally given the placebo were then given the drug. Prior to the study, the 24 men and women in the study re­ported drink­ing seven al­co­holic bev­er­ages daily on an av­er­age of 21 days per month. Their crav­ing for al­co­hol was lower when re­ceiv­ing the med­i­ca­tion. This promis­ing find­ing will lead to more re­search.

Ex­plor­ing new meth­ods for al­co­holism treat­ment fos­ters hope for those ac­tively seek­ing to be­gin the re­cov­ery process. Your phar­ma­cist is al­ways avail­able for con­sul­ta­tion when ques­tions arise. Next to your per­sonal doc­tor, he or she is the most in­formed about the var­i­ous med­i­ca­tions avail­able and their con­traindi­ca­tions. For more in­for­ma­tion, please call BOB’S PHAR­MACY at Our phar­macy is lo­cated at

HINT: Ibudi­last is not cur­rently avail­able as a treat­ment for al­co­holism, and must now be tested on heavy drinkers who have ex­pressed a spe­cific de­sire to quit drink­ing. au­ton­o­mous, shared and ser­vices, and elec­tric.

It also will un­veil the Mercedes-Benz GLC F-Cell, a fuel-cell and bat­tery plug-in hy­brid that emits only water va­por. Fuel cell-pow­ered cars are not yet a prac­ti­cal op­tion for con­sumers, with only 33 hy­dro­gen fuel sta­tions in Ger­many, but it’s one pos­si­bil­ity for the fu­ture in which gov­ern­ment reg­u­la­tion will in­creas­ingly re­quire low-emis­sion ve­hi­cles.

DIESEL DE­SPITE THAT But diesel re­mains in the mix —with what au­tomak­ers say are bet­ter emis­sions con­trols to meet Euro­pean Union stan­dards in which cars will be tested un­der real-world driv­ing con­di­tions, as well as on test stands. Diesels get bet­ter mileage — a big con­sumer is­sue in Europe, where fuel taxes make ga­so­line painfully ex­pen­sive. A liter of ga­so­line costs 1.31 eu­ros in Frank­furt, or $5.97 a gal­lon. And diesels emit less car­bon diox­ide, mean­ing they help meet reg­u­la­tory lim­its on the green­house gas be­lieved to con­trib­ute to global warm­ing. The new T-Roc small SUV from Volk­swa­gen, for in­stance, will come with three pos­si­ble ga­so­line en­gines to choose from — and three diesels. Au­tomak­ers “won’t be shout­ing about it, but diesels will be part of their lineup,” says Ian Fletcher, prin­ci­pal an­a­lyst at IHS Mar­ket.

IHS es­ti­mates diesel’s mar­ket share will fall from 49.7 per­cent in Europe to 46.9 per­cent this year, and to 32.8 per­cent by 2025.

Mercedes-Benz spent 3 bil­lion eu­ros to de­velop new diesels, which are al­ready be­ing used in its E-Class sedans. THE HOME TEAM In­creas­ingly, car­mak­ers are find­ing other ways to un­veil new mod­els than auto shows and that has be­come even more ev­i­dent ahead of this year’s show. Volk­swa­gen’s Porsche brand showed off its new Cayenne SUV at an ex­trav­a­gant event Aug. 29 with the Bo­hemian Sym­phony Orches­tra Prague and dancers livestreamed from its home base in StuttgartZuf­fen­hausen. Au­tomak­ers skip­ping the show this year in­clude Fiat Chrysler’s name­sake Fiat and its Jeep and Alfa Romeo brands, Peu­geot and its DS lux­ury di­vi­sion, plus Nis­san, In­finiti and Volvo.

Yet the Frank­furt show re­mains a very big deal for the home team: Daim­ler AG’s Mercedes-Benz lux­ury brand, Mu­nich-based BMW AG, and Volk­swa­gen, all of which will have gi­ant dis­play stands. Some 1,000 ex­hibitors will show off 300 pre­mieres on 200,000 square me­ters of space.

ANN AR­BOR, Mich. (AP) — The Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion on Tues­day un­veiled up­dated safety guide­lines for self-driv­ing cars aimed at clear­ing bar­ri­ers for au­tomak­ers and tech com­pa­nies want­ing to get test ve­hi­cles on the road.

The new vol­un­tary guide­lines an­nounced by U.S. Trans­porta­tion Sec­re­tary Elaine Chao up­date poli­cies is­sued last fall by the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion, which were also largely vol­un­tary.

Chao em­pha­sized that the guide­lines aren’t meant to force au­tomak­ers to use cer­tain tech­nol­ogy or meet strin­gent re­quire­ments. In­stead, they’re de­signed to clar­ify what ve­hi­cle de­vel­op­ers and states should con­sider as more test cars reach pub­lic roads.

“We want to make sure those who are in­volved un­der­stand how im­por­tant safety is,” Chao said dur­ing a visit to an au­ton­o­mous ve­hi­cle test­ing fa­cil­ity at the Univer­sity of Michi­gan. “We also want to en­sure that the in­no­va­tion and the cre­ativ­ity of our coun­try re­main.”

Un­der Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion, au­tomak­ers were asked to fol­low a 15-point safety as­sess­ment be­fore putting test ve­hi­cles on the road. The new guide­lines re­duce that to a 12-point vol­un­tary as­sess­ment, ask­ing au­tomak­ers to con­sider things like cy­ber­se­cu­rity, crash pro­tec­tion, how the ve­hi­cle in­ter­acts with oc­cu­pants and the backup plans if the ve­hi­cle en­coun­ters a prob­lem. They no longer ask au­tomak­ers to think about ethics or pri­vacy is­sues or share in­for­ma­tion be­yond crash data, as the pre­vi­ous guide­lines did.

The guide­lines also make clear that the fed­eral gov­ern­ment — not states — de­ter­mines whether au­ton­o­mous ve­hi­cles are safe. That is the same guid­ance the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion gave.

States can still reg­u­late au­ton­o­mous ve­hi­cles, but they’re en­cour­aged not to pass laws that would throw bar­ri­ers in front of test­ing and use. There is noth­ing to pro­hibit Cal­i­for­nia, for in­stance, from re­quir­ing hu­man backup driv­ers on highly au­to­mated ve­hi­cles, but the Na­tional Highway Traf­fic Safety Ad­min­is­tra­tion would dis­cour­age that.

Au­tomak­ers — who were grow­ing in­creas­ingly frus­trated with the patch­work of state reg­u­la­tions — praised the guide­lines.

“You are pro­vid­ing a stream­lined, flex­i­ble sys­tem to ac­com­mo­date the de­vel­op­ment and de­ploy­ment of new tech­nolo­gies,” Mitch Bain­wol, the head of the Alliance of Au­to­mo­bile Man­u­fac­tur­ers, told Chao at Tues­day’s event. The alliance rep­re­sents 12 ma­jor au­tomak­ers, in­clud­ing Gen­eral Mo­tors Co., Mercedes-Benz and Toy­ota Mo­tor Corp.

But crit­ics said the guide­lines don’t en­sure self-driv­ing tech­nol­ogy is safe be­fore go­ing out on the road.

“NHTSA needs to be em­pow­ered to pro­tect con­sumers against new haz­ards that may emerge, and to en­sure au­to­mated sys­tems work as they’re sup­posed to with­out plac­ing con­sumers at risk,” said David Friedman, a for­mer act­ing NHTSA ad­min­is­tra­tor who now di­rects cars and prod­uct pol­icy an­a­lysts for Con­sumers Union, the pol­icy di­vi­sion of Con­sumer Re­ports mag­a­zine.

Reg­u­la­tors and law­mak­ers have been strug­gling to keep up with the pace of self-driv­ing tech­nol­ogy. There are no fully self-driv­ing ve­hi­cles for sale, but au­ton­o­mous cars with backup driv­ers are be­ing tested in nu­mer­ous states, in­clud­ing Cal­i­for­nia, Ne­vada and Penn­syl­va­nia.

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