GM powertrain exec says diesels can be saved


Antonioli: “Internal combustion engines, including the diesel, can still play a role in the years to come.”

TURIN – Tumbling diesel sales in Europe do not signal a grim future for the technology, General Motors powertrain executive Pierpaolo Antonioli said, citing new evidence suggesting nitrogen oxide emissions can be cut to an absolute minimum.

GM, which kept its Turin engineering center despite selling Opel/Vauxhall to PSA Group last year, was first to market a truck with an EPA-certified 30 mpg highway rating with the diesel versions of the Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon.

In January, the automaker announced a 3.0-liter inline-six turbodiesel planned for the next-generation Chevrolet Silverado.

“Internal combustion engines, including the diesel, can still play a role in the years to come,” Antonioli, who bears global responsibility inside GM for development of diesel engines, said Wednesday at the Automotive News Europe Congress here during a panel discussion titled “What is the Future of Diesels?”

“Bosch said just a few weeks ago that they can already achieve very low emissions, especially for NOx, without increasing the cost of the combustion system,” Antonioli said.

Robert Bosch, the world’s largest auto parts manufacturer and a leading supplier of diesel injection systems, said it has developed a method to cut on-road NOx emissions to just 13 milligrams per kilometer, far below the 80 mg/km test bench limit under Euro 6 regulations and the 168 mg/km limit that takes effect in September as part of the introduction of RDE real-world testing.

Sales of diesels continue to plunge after threats in February 2017 of potential diesel bans in Germany. In May, domestic registrations of diesels amounted to just 31.5 percent of the overall figure in Europe’s largest car market. This was the second-lowest level in Germany since the outbreak of the crisis, as news of Hamburg’s first ban helped suppress demand.

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