Browse by topic: Opinion, Cars


Are electric vehicles cleaner? The evidence points firmly in one direction

As diesel sales slump and those of electric vehicles pass one million, batteries are fast becoming a major part of the EU’s industrial future. It is not just talk this time. Investment is happening: LG Chem is planning for production in Poland and Samsung SDI is doing likewise in Hungary; NorthVolt has just signed a large loan to build a demo plant in Sweden, and Saft, a subsidiary of Total, announced a battery consortium with Siemens, Solvay and MAN. Amidst all this, the environmental benefits of electric cars are under intense scrutiny with news articles on this a regular feature in most EU countries. So, do electric cars reduce car CO2 emissions or do they just shift the problem elsewhere?

Published on March 12, 2018 - 11:35

Monkey business

The revelations that VW, Daimler and BMW commissioned research that forced monkeys and healthy human subjects to breathe toxic diesel fumes in a perverted attempt to prove their cars were clean is abhorrent. The methods bear shocking similarities to the tactics of the tobacco industry that funded research to disprove cigarettes were harmful with the explicit goal to undermine evidence from the World Health Organisation. It reveals a blurring of moral standards in German carmakers that starkly contrasts with the glossy brands the companies spend a fortune cultivating.

Published on February 6, 2018 - 14:22

What does the Commission’s car emissions proposal mean for the climate and the auto industry?

The recent European Commission proposal on CO2 regulations for cars and vans to 2030 has provided the car industry with an early christmas gift. The unambitious 3%pa improvement rate and removal of a binding sales target for zero-emission vehicles (ZEV) followed last minute lobbying by carmakers. With Vice President Sefcovic, and the architects of the package Commissioners Cañete, Bulc and Bienkowksa all aligned in favour of a system of credits and, crucially, debits for carmakers that exceeded or breached a ZEV sales target, the package was virtually finalised before a last-minute intervention diluted the proposal.

Published on November 14, 2017 - 11:41

Juncker’s choice: Will the Commission help EU carmakers remain competitive?

On 8 November the European Commission has the opportunity to transform the European car industry and keep Europe safe and competitive in a decarbonised world. On that day the EU executive will propose a law that regulates the fuel efficiency and CO2 emissions of new cars and vans. The choices it makes – what level of ambition, a zero-emission vehicle (ZEV) mandate or not, 2025 target or not – will determine the future of the European and global auto industry.

Published on October 30, 2017 - 20:10

Cartel scandals reveal the auto industry as its own worst enemy

Last month’s disclosure in Der Spiegel of a cartel between Volkswagen, BMW, Audi, Porsche and Mercedes bore striking similarities to the recently concluded truck case that lead to a fine of almost €3 billion. In that case, truckmaker MAN (also part of VW) blew the lid on the fixing of prices charged to customers for better emissions control systems needed to meet new regulations and how these costs were passed on to customers. Five companies were fined including the Mercedes truck division Daimler.

Published on August 29, 2017 - 14:20

La industria de las mentiras

Las revelaciones sobre el ensayo que VW, Daimler y BMW habían encargado en el que se obligaba a simios y a humanos sanos a respirar los gases tóxicos emitidos por sus vehículos diésel en un degenerado intento de demostrar que sus coches eran limpios es algo abominable. Los métodos muestran impactantes similitudes con las tácticas de la industria tabacalera que financió investigaciones para refutar que los cigarrillos eran perjudiciales con el objetivo explícito de socavar las pruebas de la Organización Mundial de la Salud. Se observa una difuminación de las normas morales entre los fabricantes de coches alemanes que contrasta profundamente con la lustrosa reputación de marca que las empresas gastan una fortuna en mantener.

Published on February 6, 2018 - 13:22

Monkey business

Vorige week kwam aan het licht dat Volkswagen, Mercedes en BMW apen en gezonde mensen giftige dieselgassen lieten inademen om te bewijzen dat moderne dieselauto’s helemaal niet zo vervuilend zijn. De testen leidden terecht tot een schandaal en het ontslag van toplui bij Mercedes en Volkswagen. Maar deze dierproeven zijn geen “accident de parcours”. De werkwijze die de autobouwers hanteren, vertoont als maar meer gelijkenissen met die van de tabaksindustrie. Die financierde jarenlang onderzoek om de schadelijke effecten van sigaretten te weerleggen met de bedoeling de positie van de Wereldgezondheidsorganisatie (WHO) te ondergraven.

Published on February 6, 2018 - 13:22

Jusqu’à quand l’industrie automobile restera-t-elle au-dessus des lois?

Pour tenter de prouver que leurs voitures étaient propres, Volkswagen, Daimler et BMW ont payé des recherches au cours desquelles des singes et des humains ont dû respirer des fumées toxiques de diesel. C’est odieux. Ces pratiques font ressortir la morale douteuse des constructeurs allemands, et contrastent avec l’image de marque qu’ils entretiennent soigneusement à grand renfort de marketing.

Published on February 6, 2018 - 13:22

Il business delle scimmie

Le rivelazioni sulle ricerche di VW, Daimler e BMW, compiute costringendo sia scimmie che persone sane a respirare i fumi tossici del diesel, in un tentativo perverso di dimostrare che le loro automobili fossero pulite suscitano disgusto. Questi metodi presentano delle scioccanti somiglianze con la tattica dell'industria del tabacco, che ha finanziato ricerche volte a negare i danni delle sigarette con l’esplicito obiettivo di confutare le prove dell'Organizzazione mondiale della sanità. Svelano un offuscamento degli standard morali delle case automobilistiche tedesche in netto contrasto con i brillanti marchi che queste aziende curano spendendo enormi somme di denaro.

Published on February 6, 2018 - 13:22