Volkswagen Group Italia’s CEO: Euro 6d diesels respect the environment.
“In the interests of everyone, it is necessary to clarify matters relating to diesel engines; the contrasting news we have heard over the last few months is creating uncertainty in the market, this could have negative effects also on the automotive and on related industries". These were the words of Massimo Nordio, CEO of Volkswagen Group Italia, who, after the sharp slowdown in new vehicle sales this September, spoke not only for the brands represented by his company, which offers a full range of powertrains – petrol, diesel, CNG, electric and hybrid – but also extended his analysis to defend the entire sector.
Has diesel had its day?
Over the next 10-15 years we will undoubtedly see a profound transformation of the market, but the journey towards pure electric mobility will be gradual. It is, indeed, not possible to completely replace diesel‘s market share in a short period of time. In this transitional phase, all powertrains will be necessary.
Will this change occur through hybrid drivetrains?
Yes, but that’s not it. Hybrid vehicles are definitely interesting, even though they are equipped with traditional engines with the addition of one or more electric motors, which have a very short all-electric range. As such, although they offer a high level of efficiency, from the point of view of emissions hybrid vehicles are equivalent and comparable to the latest generation of “traditional” vehicles. So today’s and tomorrow’s petrol, diesel and CNG engines – all highly efficient – will be essential for the transition towards pure electric driving, the only zero-emission mobility.
Why are diesel engines persecuted, then?
Unfortunately, the wrong perception has spread that pollution is due only to the use of diesel. This applies to the technology used by previous generations of diesel engines, over ten years old, whereas Euro 6d engines, which at this point all manufacturers are installing in their vehicles, meet the strictest environmental standards. So anyone buying a diesel today will not have to worry about being forced to change their car in two years’ time. Euro 6d diesel engines are absolutely equivalent to all other “traditional” technologies available today.
What do you think about the usage restrictions being introduced in Italy?
Local authorities are quite right to limit the use of dated vehicles which are not equipped with all the safety and environmental features which have since become standard on cars. Of the vehicles in circulation in Italy, 47% – over 17 million cars – are more than ten years old. The vehicles subject to these restrictions – Euro 1, 2 and 3, petrol and diesel – have older generation engines, manufactured before 2007, and therefore undoubtedly have a higher environmental impact than those complying with current regulations. Therefore more structural actions in favour of safety and the environment are desirable, with incentives for the purchase of more modern cars rather than drastic and sporadic measures which make drivers’ lives difficult and create uncertainty and concerns in the market.
Interviewer: Bianca Carretto.
Source: Italian daily “Corriere della Sera”, 09/10/2018