German automotive supplier Bosch claims to have made a “breakthrough” in diesel exhaust technology that could cut emissions far more than would be required by the EU’s strict, impending 2020 regulations. Bosch was a supplier for at least some Fiat Chrysler’s diesel automobiles, which were accused of skirting emissions laws in the US and abroad using a so-called “cheat device” – software code that can determine when the vehicle is being tested for emissions, and alter its powertrain operation temporarily in order to pass.
Sometime after the allegations were made, a report published in February claimed that Fiat Chrysler Automobiles had made the decision to quit selling the Fiat 500X diesel, Alfa Romeo Giulia diesel, and other diesel-powered passenger vehicles in Europe. Shortly thereafter, a federal court in Germany ruled that cities had the right to ban some high-polluting diesel vehicles.
But Bosch may have just found a way to make FCA’s diesel models – as well as those from other automakers – more palatable, keeping their emissions safely below legal limits. Automotive News reports that the “breakthrough” involves carefully managing exhaust temperatures in order to cut nitrogen-oxide emissions to as little as one-tenth of the legal limit. No new hardware is required, and emissions can be kept stable even at cold temperatures, according to Bosch CEO Volkmar Denner.
“This breakthrough offers the opportunity to shift the heated debate over diesel into new territory and, hopefully, bring it to a close,” Denner said at a press conference on Wednesday.
Diesel passenger vehicles are plentiful in Europe because of their comparatively high fuel economy ratings and low level of CO2 emissions, but they tend to produce many times more nitrogen-oxide (NOX) emissions than gasoline-fueled passenger cars, making them a major contributor to smog.
The full details of Bosch’s new diesel exhaust technology are forthcoming.