Fresh off an announcement by Fiat Chrysler Automobiles that it had struck a deal with the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and California’s Air Resource Board (ARB) to retrofit its diesel models with software fixes, it looks as if the German companies are about to apply a similar $120-fix to five million vehicles on the country’s roads.
At somewhere in the neighbourhood of $600 Million, the move is expected to save German automakers an estimated $4 Billion from the hardware fixes that had been proposed by environmental groups (which claimed they would be more effective).
New models will not have to undergo the fix as they’re already loaded with the latest emissions software, that reportedly can reduce nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions by as much as 30% — a figure environmentalists say isn’t accurate, pegging the improvement at one tenth the stated value.
The announcement came after an industry summit in Berlin that included company, union and government leaders, but it is unclear whether the move will appease the European Commission, members of which have pledged to completely do away with sales of diesel vehicles before the middle of the century. Some state capitals have plans or are considering measures to ban diesel vehicles from their city cores over the coming decade.
Germany had considered similar measures, especially in heavy pollution areas. but economic and political concerns made the government back off, at least for the time being, with environmental groups pledging to press on with whatever means available to ban diesel cars and halt diesel sales, and to push for full electric or plug-in hybrid vehicles.