Bosch has claimed that it has made a major breakthrough in diesel technology, which could put an end to the ‘death of diesel’ debate.
The new technology promises to reduce nitrogen oxide emissions to ‘unprecedented’ levels in diesel cars.
According to the technology firm, the technology will enable vehicle manufacturers to reduce emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOx) so drastically that they will comply with future limits, without the need for any additional technology.
European legislation introduced in 2017 dictated that no new passenger car can emit more than 168 milligrams of NOx per kilometre.
This limit will be reduced to 120 milligrams by 2020, in a further push to remove dirty diesel cars from the road.
However, Bosch claims the new diesel technology can achieve as little as 13 milligrams of NOx in standard legally-compliant RDE cycles.
Average reading for tests of cars using the technology in urban conditions, usually rated as the worst for NOx, came out around 40 milligrams per kilometre.
Bosch’s new technology optimises thermal management of exhaust temperatures, which slashes nitrogen oxide emissions.
Particulate filters and catalytic convertors need to be hot to work efficiently, which is not possible in a number of driving conditions, so being able to control the temperature could dramatically slash emissions.
Dr Volkmar Denner, CEO of Bosch said: “There’s a future for diesel. Today, we want to put a stop, once and for all, to the debate about the demise of diesel technology.
“Bosch is pushing the boundaries of what is technically feasible.
“Equipped with the latest Bosch technology, diesel vehicles will be classed as low-emission vehicles and yet remain affordable.”
Tests complying with the stricter new RDE (real driving emissions) standards, saw the emissions from cars equipped with the new technology come in significantly lower than current limits, claims Bosch.
The Bosch CEO also called for greater transparency with regard to measuring fuel consumption, recommending measurement under real conditions on the road in the future.
“This would create a system comparable to the one used for measuring CO2 emissions. “That means greater transparency for the consumer and more focused climate action,” Denner said.
Moreover, any assessment of CO2 emissions should extend significantly further than the fuel tank or the battery: “We need a transparent assessment of the overall CO2 emissions produced by road traffic, including not only the emissions of the vehicles themselves but also the emissions caused by the production of the fuel or electricity used to power them,” Denner said.
Dr Volkmar Denner, CEO of Bosch said: “We firmly believe that the diesel engine will continue to play an important role in the options for future mobility.
“Until electromobility breaks through to the mass market, we will still need these highly efficient combustion engines.”
Claims from Bosch that a new technology could slash polluting NOx emissions from diesel vehicles have, however, been treated sceptically by environmental lawyers.
ClientEarth clean air lawyer Ugo Taddei said: “Manufacturers have had the technology to dramatically bring emissions down for a long time but it has not been implemented at scale and the cars on our roads are still polluting above and beyond legal limits. This situation needs to change – for people’s health, action is needed now.
“Authorities and industry have a duty to act urgently to clean up illegal air pollution and take the millions of over-polluting vehicles off our roads. That’s why there is an end date in sight in several countries for diesel and petrol vehicles and cities across Europe are being forced to put driving restrictions in place.
“Bosch’s new technology also doesn’t address the climate impacts of combustion engine vehicles. New figures released this week show that CO2 emissions from diesel vehicles have increased, making them virtually no better than petrol cars.
“We’ve not yet seen a combustion engine that’s clean for people’s health and the environment, and the car industry has shot itself in the foot when it comes to consumer trust. For diesel, it might just be too late.”