Aside From A Few Exceptions, Big Auto Is Making Dirtier Cars

MAY 5 2018 BY EVANNEX 31


With European emissions standards getting steadily stricter, you’d think automakers would be steadily making their cars cleaner. Alas, you’d be mistaken – according to a recent report from JATO Dynamics (via Automotive News Europe), European emissions increased by a wee bit in 2017, reversing a decade of steady decreases in tailpipe pollution.

*This article comes to us courtesy of EVANNEX (which also makes aftermarket Tesla accessories). Authored by Charles Morris. The opinions expressed in these articles are not necessarily our own at InsideEVs.

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Above: Tesla was the only automaker in the Jato Dynamics report all-in on electric vehicles instead of gasoline, diesel, or hybrid cars (Image: tesla_gt)

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This isn’t just bad news for the health of human beings and the climate we’ve grown accustomed to – it will soon be a problem for the automakers’ bottom lines. Tougher pollution standards are scheduled to go into effect in less than two years, and automakers are a long way from meeting them. European fleet average emissions in 2017 amounted to about 118 grams of CO2 per kilometer traveled. By 2021, the fleet average for new cars needs to drop to 95 g/km, with a phase-in period starting in 2020.

Cars that do not meet the target will incur a fine of 95 euros per gram, per car. That could add up to hundreds of millions of euros per year for some manufacturers. “Everyone should be worried,” said Felipe Munoz, Global Automotive Analyst at JATO. “The performance isn’t showing any more improvement, and the target is coming soon.”

There are two main reasons for the increased emissions. One is a plunge in the popularity of diesel engines, which tend to emit less carbon than comparable gas engines (however, don’t start regretting the demise of diesels – they also emit nitrogen oxides and fine particulate matter, which are serious air pollution hazards). The second reason is that Europeans are following America’s lead and falling in love with SUVs and crossovers.

Above: A contributing factor for increased CO2 emissions is the overall increase in SUV sales (Source: Jato Dynamics)

Every brand has its own unique situation vis a vis emissions. Among the high-volume brands, the only ones that showed improvement in 2017 were Fiat and Toyota – for opposite reasons. Toyota is focused on hybrids, and plans to stop selling diesel cars by 2019. Its 2017 fleet average was 101.2 g/km, making it Europe’s third-cleanest car brand, behind Tesla and smart.  “Toyota is the best example to follow,” Munoz said. “We think they will continue to lead.”

Fiat posted a temporary improvement thanks to sales of its Tipo, which has a new diesel engine that produces 3.5 g/km less CO2 than its predecessor. However, with no electrified vehicles in its fleet, the company will find it hard to post any future gains, Munoz said.

Among premium brands, BMW posted a slight improvement in emissions, thanks to electric vehicles, which now make up 7 percent of sales. “There are automakers focusing more on alternative-fuel vehicles, which are right now the main drivers of improvement,” Munoz said. “As long as they keep pushing these cars, this will help offset the decrease in diesel.”

Above: Looking at Europe’s top 50 best-selling brands, Tesla tops the list with the least average CO2 emissions (Source: Jato Dynamics)

Obviously, electrification is the only long-term solution, but with the exception of a few countries (especially Norway and The Netherlands), adoption remains slow. “As diesel sales fall, the rate of adoption of electric vehicles and hybrids is much slower than the switch to gasoline engines,” Munoz said.

After a slow start, Tesla sales are starting to take off in Europe. Sales didn’t grow at all between 2015 and 2016, but in 2017 they nearly doubled, to a total of 27,986 (according to Things could really get interesting when Model 3 arrives on the Continental market, which is supposed to happen late this year.


Written by: Charles Morris; Source: JATO Dynamics via Automotive News Europe

*Editor’s Note: EVANNEX, which also sells aftermarket gear for Teslas, has kindly allowed us to share some of its content with our readers, free of charge. Our thanks go out to EVANNEX. Check out the site here.

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31 Comments on "Aside From A Few Exceptions, Big Auto Is Making Dirtier Cars"

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That’s odd, carmakers have always maintained there is still a ton of improvement potential for the good old ICE they cherish so much, it’s almost as if that’s not actually true?

If you read the article and underlying report and not just the misleading headline, you’ll see that cars are getting cleaner all the time. Measuring only CO2, the move away from diesel, and consumers choosing larger vehicles results in higher fleet average (by the single measurement they are usung to define “Clean”. Vastly different than “Manufacturers are making dirtier cars”.

It’s an Evannex article. Those guys climax at the very mention of Tesla. Don’t expect anything meaningful.

Like it or not, CO2 has become a very important parameter in automotive emissions so carmakers need to find a way to meet ever more stringent CO2 emission mandates despite the looming end of diesel and market preferences for bigger cars. But since they have assured us that there is still so much scope for ICE improvement I’m sure they have nothing to worry about. Well, except they are lobbying in the US to have emission mandates reverted so clearly the scope for ICE improvement isn’t really all that great.

While Tesla is innovating in small lightweight cars for 2 persons… Wait a minute! Renault Twizy was the only car in the last years, that really made people think, what they really need. A 3ton Model X or S is as well not what the environment and people need.

S & X are never gonna be sold by the millions, they are more of a luxury car or premium car sold in low numbers.

“A 3ton Model X or S is as well not what the environment and people need”

That’s good, because there aren’t any “3 ton” Tesla cars.

Max curb weight for a Model S is 4,941 lbs; just under 2.5 tons; for the Model X, max curb weight is 5,531 lbs, barely above 2-3/4 tons.

Love Tesla but I have a hard time calling a BEV SUV that can weigh just under 3 tons a green vehicle when it will mostly be used to drive one person to and from work and the grocery store…
Wish Chevy would have kept making the BEV Spark 🙁 for this side of the pond…

Would like to see the numbers for Ford, Chevy, and Dodge in the US…
Now that would be some ugly numbers with truck companies like Dodge and Ford surrendering the car market to their superior completion…

For sure- I walked into the local DodgeChrysler dealer to check out the plug in pacifica but that show room was nothing but guzzlers. Might’ve bit on the plug in pacifica just the same but no available all wheel drive option for it … that and the dealer who showed us their only one sold it to somebody else and hasn’t contacted us again as far as I know.

If they were all hybrids, that would help a lot. We are going to get cleaner faster with hybrids than with BEVs, Although I do believe BEVs will be the ultimate solution (coupled with reduced cars on the road due to self driving services). Too bad our technology wasn’t at this point in 1980 (40 yrs ago). But 40 yrs from now I think we will all be smiling and worrying about the next disaster to hit our planet unrelated to dirty cars or electricity.

“The road to Auschwitz was paved with indifference.” We might not be there in the next 40 years if sit around hoping for things to get better. I appreciate your sentiment that we can overcome clinate change and our wasteful ways.
Ok one more quote, this time from James Brown: “Sayin’ it and doin’ it is just a different thing, is just as much difference as night and day.”

Dan Neil wrote a good piece, on this topic, in WSJ. “May I direct your awe to the Vision Mercedes-Maybach Ultimate Luxury Concept”. Meanwhile cities zone for fewer parking spaces, and the garages that are left have more “compact” spaces, with some charging a premium for SUVs.

I don’t understand the “Don’t tread on me” F150 types, who sit back and watch this oligopolistic collusion as if it were some kind of freedom.

Thirty years from now half the world’s vehicles will still be ICE.
Pretending it will be one big wave of transition is delusional.

Getting to half is pretty good in 30 years from now LOL CONNECT THE DOTS ON CLEAN AIR WAKE UP

I’m not sure I believe that Chevrolet is at 262 g CO2 when the vast majority of the larger brands are right around 120 g CO2 per km. This implies that Chevy’s product mix in Europe has less than half the fuel efficiency of rivals like Nissan, Toyota, Honda, Hyundai, Ford, etc. Can that be correct? What does Chevy sell in Europe that gives them such a dismal score?

I thought they sell nothing in Europe anymore. It’s probably some imported cars that are usually quite exotic you know maybe some big trucks for people who really want the “American spirit”. And everybody knows how dirty those gas guzzlers are.

In my country you can import a Camaro or Corvette via a “dealer”. Since Chevrolet no longer sells cars in Europe (only helps with a few imports) the few that gets here are gas guzzling sports cars.

Two things happening:
People buy more and more SUVs – these are inefficient compared to regular cars. (And bring no real added «sports utility» – they are just a dumb trend.
People buy less diesel cars and gas cars instead – diesel are much more efficient than gas. (In terms of consumption and CO2 emissions)

“The second reason is that Europeans are following America’s lead and falling in love with SUVs and crossovers.”

Yay! Idiocy is contagious…

Yes and when gas prices reach $3 per gallon in the USA they will all complain and blame Liberals.

Ironic to see Mazda with all their “leadership” on ICE have such a poor performance globally..

They have probably been making dirtier cars all these years. They have just stopped cheating to get cleaner numbers, like VW/Audi had to after they got caught.

The dirtier inefficient gas guzzlers are on the way. Thank you President Tweet.

Elections have consequences CONNECT THE DOTS ON CLEAN AIR WAKE UP FOLKS and vote for pro clean air politicians this year.

Progression of SETTLED SCIENCE:

Global Cooling.
Global Warming.
Climate Change.
Climate Disruption.

A serious question may be asked at this point:

When GLOBAL COOLING was on all the magazine covers during the early 1970’s ‘proving’ we were entering a new Ice Age, why is the NEW ‘settled science’ to be given more weight as to believe-ability than the old ‘Settled Science’?

(Eye rolls the petro troll)

I see my question was too difficult for you to try to answer.

Nearly 50 more years of data and clear trends. More sophisticated instruments and ways of collection all tell us the same thing. Climate change is real and it’s our fault. We can directly trace chemicals we put in the atmosphere to the results we are seeing. Of course results are hard to see by closed minds.

BS. Nothing’s proven except that climate is warming. Not even that it’s bat at all.

Didn’t Trump roll back the standards? Did American car makers jump at this? Is USA a retro nation, living in the mid 20th century “Glory Days” of USA? Doesn’t Trump spout this hegemonial nonsense? Will he have us going back to vinyl records and vacuum tube amplifiers? Soon the Ford Flathead V8 will resurface along with coal burning steam engines? plastics will be banned so Trump can feel at home in his Alzheimer’s?
Electric cars will always be the future but possibly not so strong in America Aluminium Bodied Trucks with a 703 pound payload advantage even if trump does jack the [price of Aluminum, and soon enough an Aluminum bodied hybrid? or fully electric vehicle? But not in Trumpland, they are too busy following a madman’s whims and retrogressing to Prop planes next? Made of wood of course.