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German carmakers may be fined 1bn Euro EACH for emissions collusion

BMW Mercedes Volkswagen

Daimler, BMW and Volkswagen face fines of up to €1 billion EACH for colluding on reducing the effectiveness of exhaust filtering systems. That’s according to German weekly magazine Der Spiegel.

The German carmakers collaborated to reduce the size of AdBlue tanks and agreed not to include filters on petrol engine vehicles to reduce fine particulate matter, the influential German publication said.

European antitrust authorities are planning to impose heavy fines on the carmakers.

AdBlue is a liquid solution of urea and de-ionised water designed to keep harmful nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions in check.  It’s injected into the exhaust system to convert NOx into harmless elements before they’re released into the air.

‘Statement of objections’

Following a four-year investigation, the companies involved will receive a formal ‘statement of objections’, detailing the specific complaints and the alleged breaches of EU competition law. The alleged activities date back more than a decade. 

Reuters said that BMW and the European Commission have declined to comment. Daimler and Volkswagen said they are cooperating with authorities.

As a result of their cooperation, Daimler and Volkswagen are likely to face smaller fines. The EU’s ‘leniency policy’ encourages companies to hand over inside evidence, and the first company to do so will not have to pay a fine.

Companies found guilty of breaching EU cartel rules face fines of up 10 percent of their global revenues. Cartels are illegal under EU competition law and the European Commission takes a strong stance against companies found guilty of collusion.

 

Diesel pollution levels

Just 10% of diesel cars meet legal air pollution limit

Diesel pollution levels

Just one in 10 diesel-engined cars on the road meets EU air pollution limits, according to environmental lobbying   group Transport and Environment (T&E).

The new Euro 6 emissions standard was introduced on 1 September, but only 10% of cars tested complied with it. Audi and Opel (Vauxhall in the UK) were among the worst offenders.

T&E discovered that, on average, diesel cars pump out emissions five times greater than the allowed limit. The worst new car, an Audi, emitted 22 times as much. Only three out of the 23 tested cars met the new standard.

The problem, says T&E, is Europe’s outdated emissions testing system, which allows carmakers to use cheaper and less effective exhaust treatment systems for diesels sold here. As the infographic below shows, diesel cars sold by the same manufacturers in the US have better exhaust treatment systems and emit less.

Exhaust treatment systemsA new on-road test is due that will measure ‘real-world’ emissions from diesels. However, it won’t arrive until 2018 at the earliest. And, with diesel after-treatment systems costing around £220 per car, manufacturers aren’t in a rush to introduce them.

Greg Archer, T&E’s clean vehicles manager, said: “Every new diesel car should now be clean but just one in 10 actually is. This is the main cause of the air pollution crisis affecting cities. Carmakers sell clean diesels in the US, and testing should require manufacturers to sell them in Europe too.”

In the UK, the number of diesel cars on the road has risen from 1.6 million to 12 million since 1994.

Volvo FL truck

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UK drivers divided over increase in electric car charging points

UK drivers divided over increase in electric car charging points

UK drivers divided over increase in electric car charging points

A survey has found that UK motorists are torn over an EU push to increase the number of electric charging points in the country.

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EU decision to delay development of new lorries ‘shameful’

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EU decision to delay development of new lorries 'shameful'

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EU calls for end of brick-shaped lorries

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