EU Commissioner says diesel cars “are finished”

Brussels official calls diesels “technology of the past”, and predicts they will “completely disappear” from European roads

Exhaust emissions

A senior EU official has declared that diesel cars “are finished”, predicting they will disappear from European roads within years.

Elzbieta Bienkowska, the EU’s Commissioner for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs (small and medium-sized enterprises) said the dieselgate scandal provided a “breakthrough moment” for consumers, significantly affecting “emotions in society toward emissions and cleaner cars”.

New WLTP/RDE fuel economy and emissions tests could still be unrealistic

Bienkowska, the former deputy prime minister of Poland, told Bloomberg: “Diesel cars are finished… I think in several years they will completely disappear. This is the technology of the past.” Her comments come as carmakers face tough new emissions laws from 2020, although a new nitrogen oxide (NOx)-busting system from Bosch could allow cars to undercut these by almost 90 per cent.

However, Bienkowska believes “people have realised that we will never have completely clean - without NOx - diesel cars”, adding carmakers had displayed “arrogance” in their attitude towards emissions.

EU chiefs recently unveiled plans to put Europe at the forefront of electric car battery production, an industry currently dominated by Asian and American firms. Bienkowska  stated: “We want to have the first batteries produced in Europe, but also the whole value chain”.

New EU laws aim to prevent another Dieselgate scandal

The European Parliament recently approved new laws aiming to prevent another ‘Dieselgate’ emissions scandal from taking place.

The new European Union rules include a number of measures to ensure manufacturers cannot cheat in type approval and emissions tests in the future. They include, for the first time, the ability for national authorities to fine car makers up to €30,000 for every vehicle caught cheating in emissions tests.

Government to target pollution from brakes and tyres

The new rules also include checks on cars already on the road to ensure they continue to meet emissions targets in real-world conditions after they've been approved for sale. European authorities will also be able to conduct spot checks on type approval authorities conducting the emissions tests.

A new and improved vehicle recall system has also been approved which will be able to remove vehicles cheating in tests from the road quickly.

The legislation also gives independent garages access to new vehicle information previously withheld by manufacturers. This will enable them to compete for repairs and servicing work on a more equal basis. The new laws must be introduced by all Member States by September 2020.

The UK's Department for Transport has previously voiced support for tougher measures towards vehicle makers that cheat in tests. It previously launched a consultation into issuing "civil and/or criminal offences" for supplying cars with defeat devices, while also proposing unlimited fines for cheating manufacturers.

Conservative Internal Market spokesman Daniel Dalton - who helped lead the legislation through the European Parliament, said: “This legislation delivers for car owners and the environment while avoiding unnecessary burdens on manufacturers. Safety and emissions standards will finally be applied fairly and properly across the board.”

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