German court considers first diesel driving ban on an autobahn

VeeDubTDI

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A German court is considering the first diesel ban on a German autobahn.

It's in German, but Chrome will translate the article for you.

https://www.handelsblatt.com/politi...euro-5-diesel-und-alte-benziner/23636636.html

Düsseldorf, Gelsenkirchen The Administrative Court Gelsenkirchen has opened a new chapter on the subject of driving bans: for the first time, a motorway is also affected. The decision concerning the Ruhrgebiet cities of Essen and Gelsenkirchen also applies to diesel engines of pollutant class 5 and petrol engines with Euro 2 standard.
 

atc98002

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It says in your quote that it applies to petrol engines as well, so I'm guessing it's only targeting older cars that met lower emissions standards. Still silly, but it's not a total ban on diesel.
 

oilhammer

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There are just too many to list....
They already have regulation on older cars, gas and diesel, in certain areas under certain time periods. This is not really anything new. This is related to the colored tags the cars have.

Although I do not think it ever applied to anything on the open highways, just city centers, but someone who has or does live there hopefully will chime in on this.

But this is partly why the new Sprinter gets an electric version (not sold here), to be able to go into city centers at any time going forward.
 

TDIMeister

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I'm ok with every internal combustion engine worldwide, Diesel or otherwise, being required to have particulate filters.
 

Lightflyer1

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I'm ok with every internal combustion engine worldwide, Diesel or otherwise, being required to have particulate filters.
Maybe every new car built in the future, but you would have a difficult time getting all the old cars already built, to use a dpf. That would never happen.
 

Dannyboy

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I wouldn't get too worked up about it , there's not many older vehicles on the road now, most diesels will be able to get the Green 4 emissions sticker. Hell my 1.8t corrado didn't have a catalyst but managed to pass( just) emissions without one and was given green sticker. Green is no restrictions on time in the city. Yellow is only allowed at certain time and red generally is not allowed now in most cities.

Their just making it difficult to allow a older pollution emitter on the road. Laws come into effect quick in Europe, most people accept it's for greater good even if they do moan about it initially.
 

oilhammer

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There are just too many to list....
I have also been told that enthusiasts can get a permit for older classic status cars for special events, like car shows and parades and such, which is probably a good thing since that discourages old clunkers from just being used as daily drivers yet allows a way for the classics to remain legal and able to go to these functions.
 

Dannyboy

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Yeah temp plates allow for that but their expensive and a bit of a pain to get sometimes. Suppose they don't want it easy for people to use them as a daily. I think they are exempt city restrictions but have to pass TUV and emissions for their particular year.

Used to have a mk2 GTI valver I used to put on temp plates for shows, got annoying after a while
 

SilverGhost

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Maybe every new car built in the future, but you would have a difficult time getting all the old cars already built, to use a dpf. That would never happen.
I don't know about this in EU. I would expect they would pass laws requiring updates to equipment to access low emissions zones (and zones would expand over time). Eventually you would be so restricted on where your car would be legal either you junk it or update with newer emissions devices.

Jason
 

Dannyboy

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I don't know about this in EU. I would expect they would pass laws requiring updates to equipment to access low emissions zones (and zones would expand over time). Eventually you would be so restricted on where your car would be legal either you junk it or update with newer emissions devices.
Jason
You can get kits fitted but some are stupidly expensive and it's cheaper to buy second-hand diesel with it from factory,No real market for the kits. You'd have to really, really want your car for sentimental value to have one. Then you have all your modifications declared to TUV and last time I checked when I left Germany it was about €59 per mod. EGR,DPF,exhaust system, power output Change, emissions certification- and so on.each individual mod so your entering the $1000 Mark easy just to have it certified. Plus the kit $$$$
Not really worth it for all the work required.

In germany if you have a TDI it's usually a yellow or green sticker and red sticker for SDI or IDI
 

Intech

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They already have regulation on older cars, gas and diesel, in certain areas under certain time periods. This is not really anything new. This is related to the colored tags the cars have.

Although I do not think it ever applied to anything on the open highways, just city centers, but someone who has or does live there hopefully will chime in on this.

But this is partly why the new Sprinter gets an electric version (not sold here), to be able to go into city centers at any time going forward.
With the turmoil in the political landscape in Germany, in recent elections, the AfD became a party to be reckoned with, taking votes from traditional CDU and CSU parties. In the recent state elections in Bavaria and Hessen, there was fear that the AfD would continue to gain, but in a surprise showing the Greens jumped up in percentage points, and will govern in a coalition with the CDU in Hessen. This 'diesel ban' is nothing more than a bone for the Greens, and will never get any further. The Constitutional court just recently struck down diesel bans that were to go into effect very shortly ib several cities.
 

nwdiver

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With the turmoil in the political landscape in Germany, in recent elections, the AfD became a party to be reckoned with, taking votes from traditional CDU and CSU parties. In the recent state elections in Bavaria and Hessen, there was fear that the AfD would continue to gain, but in a surprise showing the Greens jumped up in percentage points, and will govern in a coalition with the CDU in Hessen. This 'diesel ban' is nothing more than a bone for the Greens, and will never get any further. The Constitutional court just recently struck down diesel bans that were to go into effect very shortly ib several cities.
I'm seeing the opposite...

German court bans older diesel cars in parts of Berlin
 

eddie_1

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It's kind of a complicated situation in Germany. I'll give it a try.

Upto now there were diesel restrictions in effect in big cities including Hannover where I live. One needed the green environment sticker which was granted to Euro 4 and newer which is from kind of mk5 and newer for you guys. This has been the case for some time.

More recently it has been found that NOx values are too high in many of the big cities and these values violate the EU directives on allowable levels.
These higher levels are monitored at particular locations in the cities where there are NOx sensor installations. There is argument if these stations are representative of actual levels in the city due to being only at certain locations. Also the cities themselves may have scored own goals here, because they (often tend to be liberal Greens in cities) tried to restrict traffic flow by converting 2 lane roads to single lane and closing off sections etc. in the hope that people will take the 'bus' but it didn't work out like that in reality, which ended up causing more congestion. In other words there are many ways to skin the cat to reduce NOx levels, i.e. synced traffic lights etc. My city Hannover for example is kind of more setup for cars like a north american city with a good road infrastructure and does not have the higher NOx values problem.

In any case earlier this year the Federal Admin. Court ruled cities can in fact setup their own restrictions about which cars can be prevented from entering the cities. Based on the NOx values from the installations they have started to restrict certain LIMITED sections of roads in major cities. Hamburg started it but it has now spread to Berlin, Essen etc. Basically they are now preventing all cars upto and including Euro 5 diesels. Only Euro 6 diesels are allowed now in these sections. Except for Stuttgart (Greens govt.) from January onwards will have a total ban on cars up to Euro 5 for example. The section of Autobahn mentioned in the article is an exception. This section goes through Essen an area which is one of the most densely populated in the world. There are many other Autobahns in the area, so it could be avoided.

However, this is where there the dilemma starts. Euro 5 cars are only a couple of years old and are now facing bans. So there is a lot of uproar and anger about this. The govt. also wants to avoid the bans because people have bought these new cars and supposedly the govt. represents the people. At the same time the diesel software manipulation scandal ties into this because alot of Euro 5 diesels are technically illegal. In the US VW got fined massive amounts and people got their money back, but that is not the case here. That would never happen in Europe. This is still an ongoing battle. Instead of compensation, VW etc. are trying to use their orginal crime as a means to generate new revenue i.e. sell more cars. They want to give people trade in discounts to buy new Euro 6 cars. There are hardware solutions that several companies have come up with to convert Euro4/5 to 6, but VW is trying its best to avoid having to implement those because that will cut into their revenue. In the mean time they pretended for some time that software updates are all that was needed until they were called out on it and are now trying to sell new cars. If the govt. tries to force them to implement the hardware solutions they try to shout foul and argue it could affect jobs due to loss of revenue. (This is a common trick often used in all areas of industry). Anyway things are still poised on this point where the govt. has to force VW etc. to bite the bullet or find a way to solve the problem. The cities are starting to clamp down so things are coming to a head. The ADAC ( US AAA) is in the mean time investigating the legitimacy of the NOx measurement installations, because in real terms NOx emissions have gone down over time. But the govt. has to move quickly because the cities are going to continue to clamp down on diesels. How far they will go is yet to be seen.

However this is where people see collusion between govt. and big business like most everywhere and have lost faith in the system on a variety of issues. The big center parties CDU/SPD are continously losing support. This ties into the point of why people are voting AfD (a right wing anti-foreigner party) and the greens. It is also somewhat generational. Older people with nostaglia are tending to vote AfD (also due to the refugees that came in) and younger people are voting for the Greens. There are a lot of parallels here to Brexit and other places.
 

wxman

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...More recently it has been found that NOx values are too high in many of the big cities and these values violate the EU directives on allowable levels....
Do you have any idea why the EU decided to adopt the WHO "Air Quality Guidelines" as the regulated ambient limit for NO2, but not for any of the other regulated air pollutants? The regulated ambient air quality limit for NO2 is 40 micrograms/m3 in Europe. That is more than twice as restrictive as the NO2 NAAQS in the U.S. (53 ppb which is about 100 micrograms/m3). If the EU had adopted the WHO AQGs for the other regulated pollutants (PM2.5, PM10, O3, BaP, and SO2), NO2 would be the least problematic of all the regulated pollutants according to the latest European Environmental Agency's "Air Quality in Europe - 2018 Report" (EEA Report No 12/2018).

According to Figure 6.1 of that report, none of Europe's NO2 monitors would exceed the U.S. NAAQS for NO2 (looks like a few NO2 monitors in Turkey may exceed the U.S. standard).

The USEPA recently (April 2018) re-evaluated the adequacy of the annual NO2 NAAQS, and kept it at 53 ppb ( https://www.epa.gov/no2-pollution/p...-air-quality-standards-naaqs-nitrogen-dioxide ).
 

eddie_1

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Do you have any idea why the EU decided to adopt the WHO "Air Quality Guidelines" as the regulated ambient limit for NO2, but not for any of the other regulated air pollutants? The regulated ambient air quality limit for NO2 is 40 micrograms/m3 in Europe. That is more than twice as restrictive as the NO2 NAAQS in the U.S. (53 ppb which is about 100 micrograms/m3). If the EU had adopted the WHO AQGs for the other regulated pollutants (PM2.5, PM10, O3, BaP, and SO2), NO2 would be the least problematic of all the regulated pollutants according to the latest European Environmental Agency's "Air Quality in Europe - 2018 Report" (EEA Report No 12/2018).
According to Figure 6.1 of that report, none of Europe's NO2 monitors would exceed the U.S. NAAQS for NO2 (looks like a few NO2 monitors in Turkey may exceed the U.S. standard).
The USEPA recently (April 2018) re-evaluated the adequacy of the annual NO2 NAAQS, and kept it at 53 ppb ( https://www.epa.gov/no2-pollution/p...-air-quality-standards-naaqs-nitrogen-dioxide ).
Hi, thanks for the question. I am by no means an expert but from what I can gather the background to this is that the NOx annual mean outdoor 40 μg/m3 limit was adopted by the EU Member States in 1999 with the anticipation that by 2010 the limit would be achievable. The thinking back then was that Diesels would not be selling like donuts with time, which proved to be otherwise. Since 2010 there have been alot more reports and studies about the health effects of NOx coming out. This has put more focus on NOx. How serious the issue is nevertheless difficult to discern. You are right about these limits being very tight in comparison to EPA limits. With all this focus on diesel bans, a discussion started about why the limits for the workplace was much looser. These limits are not EU regulated but still recommended 60μg/m3 for office buildings and 950μg/m3!! for industrial workplaces. The focus on NOx is like kind of a 'souce of all evils' approach. The thinking is that if they can hit NOx, it will automatically hit particulates and other emissions. These violations are occuring everywhere in the EU I am pretty sure. Germany tends to be pedantic about these things like many other things and the Greens have more power to implement things. In France I noticed the cars to be smelling much more, because these DPFs etc. clog up after a while and people just remove them and they probably did a 'better' job with their sensor installations. Except Paris is to eliminate all diesels in 2020.

Here is a translated link from the German Federal Environmental Agency explaining the current situation:
https://tinyurl.com/y8l748te
 

wxman

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Thank you for the explanation.

It still seems quite perplexing that the EU would rely on WHO so completely for annual ambient NO2 exposure, but doesn't seem to rely on WHO at all for ambient PM2.5 exposure (and all other regulated pollutants for that matter). The EU annual ambient limit for PM2.5 is 25 μg/m3, while the WHO guideline is 10 μg/m3. The U.S. annual ambient PM2.5 exposure limit is 12 μg/m3.
 

eddie_1

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I think ultimately this has to do with the way the EU works. There is always this dilemma as to what the EU should be regulating and what member states should be regulating themselves. Espeicially on something like emissions, which is not such a big interaction of states related issue - unlike on trade where there are endless amounts of regulations. The EU is very mindful of not wanting to over-reach. The EPA on the other hand has a free reign for the US. I am not sure of the details but I could imagine back then the issue of diesel pollution came up and a NOx value was something all 28 members could rally around. Everything has to be ratified by all 28 countries, soon to be possibly 27.

This brings up a good point though because there is now a lot of discussion about the TSI direct injection engines producing significant amounts of PM and how come they are getting a free pass. Gasoline PM is discussed to be much finer and potentially even more damaging through its higher level of dispersion. Practically every car on the road in Germany now is either a TDI or a TSI.
 

IndigoBlueWagon

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Thanks for the explanation eddie. Discouraging as it may seem, this appears to be more about politics and money than clean air. Of course things aren't any different here. It'll be interesting to watch this play out, but it probably isn't predictive of anything that may happen here.
 

oilhammer

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There are just too many to list....
Politics and money, for sure. Clean air not so much. This is why our 50 MPG TDIs have been made illegal, but 15 MPG Suburbans are perfectly fine.

I do not feel much of the EU's policies will spill over here. They have enough of their own problems.
 

eddie_1

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Right, you guys figured out what is going on. As you say, where things will go from here is hard to say. Already alot of damage has been done. Because of all the politics and uncertainty people have already started to panic somewhat. The price of used Euro4 or even Euro5 diesels has tanked. People have started to make use of the 'cash for clunkers' offers and hand in their cars (even high end Audis etc.) in almost pristine condition to be junked. Even the junk yard guys are sad, although it is a windfall for them. Most times parts are then sent off to eastern europe etc. With repurchase folks often then go for a TSI not an Euro6 TDI because they don't now trust the diesel politics. Others (like us) say they will just keep driving them as long as possible and where possible. Possible scenarios:
1) The hardware solution becomes legit. The govt. finds a way to implement/finance the Euro4/5 to Euro 6 conversion. This is the fairest way forward. Interstingly, the leader of the Federal Green party Cem Özdemir supports this. (Only guy in the entire govt. that speaks sense to me. He doesn't want to see the little guy screwed.) Even if we had to pay for it ourselves this would be cheaper and less wasteful than junking nice cars.
2) The industry gets its way and the little guy gets squeezed between industry interests and increasing city bans and has to buy new cars.
3) Premature killing of diesel and icb due to electro-hype. The German car manufacturers have now also started making noises to this effect to become electro by mid 2020s. This one is like a holy grail or illusion thing, where suddenly all on offer in a few years are electric cars and they need to dig up half of Africa to make the batteries. This one is hard to say how it will pan out because you are talking of complete industry supply chain change, infrastructure change (Germany is behind even on charging stations), lot of issues like range not sorted out, could still end up being a dead end. (My view).

Hopefully cool heads will prevail and reasonable solutions can be found on both sides of the atlantic.
 

eddie_1

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@eddie_1, thank you for a very lucid explanation of all the factors involved in this issue. :)
You're welcome Steve!

In summary I think what happened with VW in the US did have an impact on the destiny of diesels in Europe. For a long time everyone (car manufacturers, govt., emissions testing) in Europe sort of knew that the real world emissions of the cars were not in line with the Euro norms. This inconsistency became second nature as diesel became kind of too big to fail. But it was to some extent a slippery slope. I think this was the background from which the software manipulation occured. It was a mindset of taking the standards with a pinch of salt. At this point the new CEO Winterkorn took over from Piech and his goal was to compete with Hyundai. The focus changed, the new cars cut corners and then the deliberate step to manipualte the software was kind of a natural progression. But the fact that they did this in the US with the well known implications of the law I still find mind boggling. Also after years of struggling to meet standards there.

Well the consequences of what happened caused a real jolt on this side of the atlantic. Perhaps there would have been more focus on diesel anyway with time due to various other emission factors but suddenly it is an issue which is on the table on a daily basis and has become a wind in the sails of electrification.

I thought about it a bit more and I think from the 3) variants of how things will pan out I listed above, the challenge is to say how quickly things will change. But the trend is there and the opposition to diesel is growing and the situation now reminds me a bit of how regulation prevented many diesels from coming to the US. Hopefully in the end there will be a good short term, medium term and long term solution. I would say final decisions do tend to be a bit less political here.

I will end with this pic that was doing the rounds here. :D

Diesel: 'I feel so dirty'
Electric: 'I feel so clean'

 

nwdiver

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I will end with this pic that was doing the rounds here. :D

Diesel: 'I feel so dirty'
Electric: 'I feel so clean'

Wind and solar are already growing ~20x faster than new EVs can consume it... just curious as to how big that ratio needs to grow before we can agree this argument is nonsense. ;)

There's also the minor fact that EVs help clean the grid by buffering intermittent wind and solar.

'Yall wasted ~4000GWh of wind in 2017 because it had no where to go! That could have powered ~1M EVs. Germany only has <200k.....

Maybe add ~800k EVs and waste less clean energy :)
 
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tikal

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Balancing air pollutants and GHG

Great recent exchanges on the topic of NO2 vs other local air pollutant (volatile organic compounds come to mind)! Thank you eddie_1 and wxman so much for taking the time and resources to patiently educate us on the fine points of a topic that, to say the least, perplexing and/or unknown to the general population (and even in dedicated forums such as TDIClub): the challenges in balancing air pollutants and GHG in gasoline and diesel vehicles such as CO, CO2, NO2 and VOcs.

The whole discussion remind me of this photo!



Having said that, and in my humble opinion, the transition to EVs in the next decade and beyond will be relatively faster in places like Western Europe, Japan, China and South Korea as compared to North America. In the US, in particular, low fuel cost is the main factor for delaying such transition for private passenger cars.
 

atc98002

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Having said that, and in my humble opinion, the transition to EVs in the next decade and beyond will be relatively faster in places like Western Europe, Japan, China and South Korea as compared to North America. In the US, in particular, low fuel cost is the main factor for delaying such transition for private passenger cars.
I agree, but for slight different reasons. In North America, especially the western half, travel distances can often exceed the abilities of virtually all currently available EVs. Seattle to the nearest major metropolitan area (Portland) is reachable, but that's about it. Vancouver BC would be questionable, because of potentially long delays at the border. Spokane to the east is close to 300 miles. Nothing but a Tesla currently has that range.

And I can't even reach the California border, let alone actually make it to a major city, with any current EV. All of these can be reached with a gas powered car with no more than a 5 minute stop for fuel. And my former Passat TDI would have made it to San Francisco without stopping.

Of course, the argument can be made (and accurately) that the majority of people don't drive those kind of distances with regularity. For me, the longest distance that I might travel in a day is to go to my parents home. It's about 140 miles round trip, so there are EVs that can satisfy that distance. Can't charge at their place, so would need enough range for the round trip.

Yesterday I drove about 130 miles, all just on errands. A bit higher than my typical weekend day, but still common enough. So for me, I need (want) an EV with at least 200 real world mile range, meaning the heat or AC is running at maximum and typical traffic levels. VW might have one coming in the next year or so, so we'll just wait and see. I don't care for the Bolt, the Niro EV might not be large enough, and Tesla is more than I want to pay.
 

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As I mentioned earlier the infrastructure in Germany is still way behind. The current grid cannot deliver the power. If a reasonable number of people plug in their cars right now the system will collapse. I saw the new electric Porsche wanting to do 300KW charging to halve the time of the Tesla S. I don't see any major moves to start with infra-structure so far. The state I live in Lower Saxony is 1/3 owner of VW so maybe they will start on the path at some point. Also at the moment they are balancing peak demand with coal vs wind. Also they like to sell the idea of being nuclear free and buy nuclear from France and CZ. The reason is due to non emission electricity that does not incur a CO2 penalty.

I am still sceptical about swapping out one source of energy for another with massive industrialization in order to solve all the environmental issues in the context of globalization.
 
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nwdiver

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As I mentioned earlier the infrastructure in Germany is still way behind. The current grid cannot deliver the power. If a reasonable number of people plug in their cars right now the system will collapse.
There's >40GWh of capacity available off-peak everyday. The average daily round-trip commute is ~34km which would require ~7kWh of energy. So the German grid without any upgrades can easily support >5M EVs. Vastly more with smart charging.
 
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