|Diesel is a dirty fuel no matter how you slice it|
Fiat is the latest automaker to come under suspicion for excessive emissions from its diesel vehicles. So far the trouble is only in Germany, as opposed to VW's trouble in multiple countries. And instead of using VW's method of installing software that identifies when the car is undergoing an emissions test and only then turning on emissions control devices, Fiat is running out the clock. Because the German emissions test lasts around 20 minutes, Fiat is accused of having its NOx emissions control systems operate only for the first 22 minutes when the car starts up.
This potential new bombshell was first reported by Bild am Sonntag, a German newspaper. Bild says that the Italian automaker is under investigation by German authorities after a test of a 500X revealed this time-based method. Bild also says that Bosch tipped off the German authorities about Fiat's strategy. German transport minister Alexander Dobrindt released a report of new tests of 53 diesel cars and highlighted Fiat's numbers, saying, "We will need to carry out further tests on Fiat models." In February, the environmental lobby group DUH found that a 500X that had been running for a while emitted more NOx than one with a cold engine. Fiat said at the time that it had conducted an internal review and found that its diesel engines comply with the law.
Of course, thanks to VW's diesel scandal implosion last fall, questions have been emerging from regulators around the world about diesel emissions from passenger vehicles. Mitsubishi was recently suspected of diesel emission irregularities in Japan. A recent lawsuit in the US accuses Mercedes-Benz of using a cheat device. Greenpeace has raised questions about the testing method that German authorities are using to test diesel vehicles. And on and on and on. Autoblog