Newsflash: geitenpaadje voor Volkswagen Polo


+++ BMW has confirmed the X2 will be launched at the end of 2023, arriving with an electric iX2 variant as the German firm continues to ramp up its EV product range. As with today’s car, the new X2 will be based on the highly popular X1, itself recently launched in third-generation form, but seemingly with a radical design rethink aimed at bringing it into line with BMW’s larger coupé-roofed SUVs, the X4 and X6. The current car is defined by its relatively straight-backed silhouette and is unique in the BMW line-up, notably for featuring a chunky C-pillar with the brand’s emblem mounted prominently at the centre. This new model moves away from that completely, adopting a profile that leans much more obviously on traditional coupé design cues, with a steep sloping roofline and a subtle lip at the rear, hinting at a more dynamic billing than the X1. Confirmed by BMW chaIrman Oliver Zipse at the German car maker’s annual conference, the cars will be launched at the end of 2023, with first deliveries expected at the start of next year. Although details are currently scarce, both variants of the X2 are expected to sit on the same FAAR platform as the smaller X1 and iX1, given they’ve been confirmed to share the same production line at BMW’s Regensburg plant. When it is launched, petrol power is still expected to be the focus of the X2 and the headline X2 M35i is set to return after it was also spotted testing at the Nürburgring. It’s distinguishable from its less powerful sibling by its quad-exit exhausts. It is most likely to use an updated version of the current model’s 306 hp turbocharged 2.0-litre engine. The standard car is expected to offer a similar engine line-up to today’s, which includes petrol, diesel and plug-in hybrid powertrains. To maintain its historical price positioning over the X1, the new X2 is likely to carry a higher starting price than the recently released X1. However, in the Netherlands any future electric variant would hold a moderate premium over the standard car. +++

+++ CITROEN is readying a mix of smaller electric cars that will be “aggressively priced” to undercut rivals in the ever competitive entry-EV market. Expected to arrive in the next couple of years, the smaller models will get “kick-ass” designs to attract a wider customer base to the French brand, Citroën design boss Pierre Leclercq told. They are likely to share design cues with the Citroën Oli concept and smaller Citroën Ami, like the upcoming Citroën C3 Aircross, Leclercq said, adding they won’t just be smaller versions of bigger cars: “We are trying not to make cars that have the Russian doll effect”. A price point around €30.000 in the Netherlands is likely, given that Leclercq confirmed their pricing would give the brand a “huge advantage” in the segments in which they’ll sit. This would allow them to undercut the popular MG 4, Fiat 500 Electric and Opel Corsa Electric. “We conceived them to bring them with a really aggressive price target on the market”, he said. “I think it’s going to be huge, huge advantage over other car makers for a brand like Citroën. You know, as premium brands look to become more premium, there are some people who don’t have that kind of money to buy a car”. Speaking about the cars themselves, Leclercq added: “We have great products coming out soon that are, I think, really kicking ass in terms of design. It’s going to be super-cool. I mean, we’re excited to put those things on the road. Prices are going to be so aggressive. We can only be proud of having done it. So, I think, we have a big role to play in the car industry in the next couple of years”. The electric cars are highly likely to sit on the CMP platform, which already underpins Stellantis cars such as the Corsa-e and Peugeot e-208. As a result, they can use the same 50 kWh battery as the e-208, which offers a range up to 360 km. A single-motor set up delivering around 136 hp is likely, given that is what is expected for the upcoming Citroën C3 Aircross. To save costs, the cars may also, as shown on the Oli concept, ditch infotainment for a system that links to the driver’s phone, albeit not as budget as the solitary phone clip in the Ami. “When you think about it, what do people want? They want the best on-board experience”, said Leclercq. “You live with your phone all day. So the closer we get in a car to what we have on our phone, I think the better it is. You should just have what you have on your phone”. Citroën’s product and strategy director, Laurence Hansen, said: “Citroën loves to challenge the industry norms. With the Oli, we want to find joyful, modern mobility, affordable and sustainable. It’s something that we’re going to continue in the long run, because we think it’s in line with our DNA”.  She added: “The average sale price in Europe for a car today is €25,000. Do we really think people will be able to invest more tomorrow? We need to do something. Will it be exactly at the same price? Maybe not. With the economic crisis that may come in six months, how will you manage? If you don’t have a car, you don’t have life”. +++

+++ Over the past decade, FOXCONN Technology Group has followed increasingly complex plans from Apple to turn silicon, glass, plastic, copper and other materials into hundreds of millions of iPhones. And Apple is just one of the Taiwanese company’s dozens of A-list customers; Google, Microsoft, Sony and many others have hired it to make phones, computers, tablets, game consoles, servers and more. So it’s not much of a stretch to think Foxconn might do the same for cars. So far, though, cars are turning out to be a tougher slog than electronic gadgets. Last year, Foxconn paid $230 million for a former General Motors factory in Lordstown, Ohio, aiming to make it the center of a US auto-manufacturing push. As part of the deal, the previous owner of the 6.2 million-square-foot plant, 4 year old Lordstown Motors, hired Foxconn to build its Endurance pickup truck, and the Taiwanese company took a stake in the startup. Foxconn has made grand predictions for its auto business, saying it will generate $33 billion in annual revenue by 2025. And it’s announced partnerships in Taiwan, Thailand and Saudi Arabia. Although its electric vehicle components business is on track to grow fivefold to more than $3 billion this year, at this point the only vehicles Foxconn has made are a handful of prototypes, a few dozen electric buses and about 40 pickups for Lordstown. In January, Lordstown asked Foxconn to suspend production because the cost of making the trucks exceeded the targeted sale price of $65,000. A few weeks later it became clear that the Endurance suffered from, well, a lack of endurance. At least one owner reported that the truck had lost power while driving in cold weather, prompting the company in February to issue a recall. Then on March 6, Lordstown said that if it can’t team up with an experienced automaker, it would be forced to discontinue the pickup, its only model. The announcement raises questions about Foxconn’s nascent EV business. Lordstown was effectively saying Foxconn couldn’t keep its flagship vehicle in production despite its vast resources, its expertise in turning ideas into products and decades of wrangling global supply chains to get those products out the factory door on time and at cost. “Why does Lordstown need another strategic partner to bring the ailing project to fruition?” asks Danni Hewson, an analyst at brokerage AJ Bell. “Is it because Foxconn’s simply not ready to become an EV powerhouse without a bit of outside help?” Foxconn says that it remains committed to its EV plans and that its experience in electronics sets the stage for success in cars. But while Lordstown has pledged to continue developing new vehicles with the Taiwanese company, the track records of other potential customers suggest Foxconn remains far from realizing its e-car dreams. “You need people skilled in volume production”, says Ron Harbour, an independent industry manufacturing consultant. “It can be done, but I haven’t seen that demonstrated by startup electric car companies. I’d call it a long shot”. Closest to production is Monarch Tractor, which last August hired Foxconn to manufacture autonomous electric farm vehicles. Monarch makes them in limited numbers at a facility in Livermore, California, and the companies plan to shift production to Lordstown by the end of March. Less certain is Fisker. Foxconn is in talks with the Los Angeles company to build a sub-$30,000 EV known as the Pear. Fisker says it fully expects Foxconn to manufacture the car, but the 2 companies are still negotiating the cost, according to people familiar with the matter. And in September, Foxconn signed an initial agreement with IndiEV, another startup in California. At the time, Foxconn called the prospect of building the company’s prototypes a “success story”. But at the end of September, IndiEV had less than $220.000 in the bank. The company now says that it aims to go public in a reverse merger, but that if it can’t complete that process by July, it risks going out of business. Those collaborations could still succeed, and Foxconn may find other companies that want it to build their vehicles. But a site in Mount Pleasant, Wisconsin, illustrates what may lie ahead. That’s where, in June 2018, Foxconn executives and then-President Donald Trump held a groundbreaking ceremony for what was supposed to become a $10 billion, 20 million-square-foot LCD-panel factory that Trump heralded as “the 8th wonder of the world”. Over the next 2 years, Foxconn repeatedly scaled back its ambitions. After originally promising to create 13.000 jobs at the site, Foxconn renegotiated its contract with the state in 2021. The company today says it’s invested more than $1 billion and hired about 1.000 people. Those people are making electronics such as computer servers, and Foxconn plans to add components for battery packs at the Wisconsin site to deepen ties to both existing automakers and startups. Still, Foxconn’s record in Wisconsin is a red flag, says Michael Shields, a researcher at Policy Matters Ohio, a nonprofit that evaluates the economic impact of big industrial investments in the state. “I do think there is cause for concern”, he says, “about what is going to happen in Lordstown”. +++

+++ GORDON MURRAY Automotive’s V12-engined T50 supercar, the “logical successor” to the seminal McLaren F1 of 1992, has entered production. The new car, which Murray calls “the purest, lightest, most driver-focused supercar ever built”, is an ultra-light, mid-engined, all-carbonfibre 3-seater, dubbed the T50 because it’s Murray’s 50th car design in a career spanning more than half a century. It uses a refined version of the ground-effect ‘fan car’ technology that its designer introduced to grand prix racing with the Brabham BT46B for the 1978 Formula 1 season. Powered by a new 650bhp naturally aspirated 4.0-litre Cosworth V12 with a 12,100rpm redline, the T50 will be built entirely by Gordon Murray Automotive (GMA), the company Murray launched to stand beside his existing design business when he revealed his plans for this car back in 2017. Just 100 road-going T50s will be hand-built at the firm’s Dunsfold facility, each at a cost of €4.5 million in the Netherlands. Most have already been snapped up by global car connoisseurs, notably in the US and Japan, each of whom has paid a €700.000 deposit for the privilege. A further €£850.000 is due when their car is specified in detail, with the balance settled upon delivery. After road car production ends, there will be a run of 25 hardcore, track-only editions named after Niki Lauda. Speaking at the start of production today, Murray said: “From the very moment we announced the T50, conceived to be the world’s most driver-centric supercar, I’ve been looking forward to this day. “Designing and engineering the T50 has been an incredible journey with much of the initial work completed during lockdown, so to witness the engineering art of the first customer car’s carbonfibre monocoque ready for assembly, less than two-and-a-half years since reveal, is quite magical”. Like its revered McLaren predecessor, the rear-wheel-drive T50 places its driver centrally in the cabin, as in a jet fighter. Its footprint is similar to that of the Mini Countryman (it’s smaller than the Porsche 911 and lighter than the Alpine 110) and it forgoes door mirrors for cameras to avoid adding to its 1.85m body width, so it should feel highly manoeuvrable in tight going. The T50 was styled entirely in-house, with Murray himself the leader of the tiny design team. There are obvious references in its shape to the F1 (such as the compact size, the arrowhead front panel, the roof-mounted air scoop, the dihedral doors and the use of ‘ticket windows’ in the side glass) but strenuous efforts were made to make it look even more petite than its forebear. There’s a major contrast between the graceful front end of the T50 and the extreme functionality of its rear end, which features large exhausts, business-like mesh for engine bay cooling, a giant underbody diffuser and a 400mm fan. The fan is driven by a 48V electrical system and its job is to develop downforce by rapidly accelerating the flow of air under the car. Murray says this “rewrites the rule book for road car aerodynamics”. The fan, the diffuser and a pair of dynamic aerofoils on the body’s upper trailing edge combine to develop far more downforce than any natural system could and therefore develop levels of cornering grip hitherto unknown in supercars. There are 6 aerodynamic modes. Two of them, Auto and Braking, work automatically, depending on the car’s speed and the driver’s input. The others (High Downforce, Vmax, Streamline and Test) are selectable from the cockpit. High Downforce is self-explanatory, while Streamline and Vmax are similar in that the former configures the aerodynamics with a “virtual long tail” by running the fan at full speed and retracting the active flaps on the top and bottom surfaces. Vmax runs the V12’s crank-mounted 30bhp integrated starter-generator flat out to contribute extra power in three-minute bursts. At speeds of above 240 kph, the roof-mounted induction air scoop boosts maximum engine output to around 700 hp. Impressive interior space is another theme of the T50. Its cabin is even roomier than that of the F1 (not to mention all modern rivals) and access to the centre seat is easier, because the floor is now flat. The analogue switchgear and instrumentation (very much designed in jet fighter style) are relatively simple but crafted to Swiss watch quality. The 2 side-mounted luggage compartments are as roomy as those of the F1 but can now also be top-loaded. Murray may be selling a €3 million plus collector’s car, but he’s determined that it will be usable day to day. “The T50 is entirely road-focused”, he said, “which is why it sets new standards for packaging and luggage space. It betters the F1 in every way: ingress and egress, luggage capacity, serviceability, maintenance and suspension set-up. Also, driver-selectable engine maps ensure a driving mode to suit every situation”.  Murray said the supercar his team benchmarked against most often during the T50’s development was actually the 28-year-old F1. That was because no one has since attempted to build a car with the same credentials: an ultra-light, centre-seat supercar with a turbo-free V12 and a manual gearbox. The T50 is said to weigh just 986kg at the kerb; about two-thirds of the weight of what Murray insists on calling “an average supercar”. Keeping control of weight isn’t just about using exotic materials, he said; it’s a state of mind. The design team held weekly meetings about it. The T50’s carbonfibre tub chassis weighs less than 150 kg with all panels. Every individual nut, bolt, bracket and fastener (about 900 of them) was individually assessed for weight-saving. The transversely mounted 6-speed manual gearbox, supplied by Xtrac and designed with a new thin-wall casting technique, is 10 kg lighter than the already-featherweight ’box used by the F1. The Cosworth V12, meanwhile, saves another 60 kg over the F1’s BMW-derived engine and much more compared with that of a Ferrari. Even the carbonfibre driver’s seat weighs only 7 kg, and it’s 3 kg for each passenger seat. Why take such trouble? Because a heavy car can never deliver the benefits of a light one, said Murray. The lightness and the 650 hp potential of the new V12 give the T50 a power-to-weight ratio that most conventional supercars could only match with a power output of close to 950 hp. Originally claimed to be 3890cc, the engine is now confirmed to be 3994cc in capacity. Despite the figures, Murray won’t be aiming to break Nurburgring lap records or set blistering acceleration times. “I have absolutely no interest in that”. he said. “Our focus is on delivering the most rewarding driving experience of any supercar ever built. But rest assured, we will be quick”. +++

+++ HYUNDAI ’s European chief Michael Cole has admitted the firm has been surprised how successful the Ioniq 5 EV has been at winning over customers from premium brands. The sharply-styled SUV is the first in a line of models from the Ioniq sub-brand that uses the Hyundai Motor Group’s bespoke electric E-GMP platform. It was joined last year by the Ioniq 6 saloon, with the larger Ioniq 7 SUV set to follow next year. Due to the higher cost of EVs, the Ioniq range is pitched above where Hyundai has traditionally been positioned, but has been a sales hit. Asked if there was a limit to how premium a future Hyundai could be pitched, Cole said: “Our experience with Ioniq 5 would almost suggest no. It’s brought such a rich conquest mix, and it’s probably a higher ratio of customers from premium brands than we’d anticipated. There is not necessarily a limit. “With Ioniq 7 there was a bit of hesitation a year ago prior to Ioniq 5 about whether it was a car for Europe, but after the success of the Ioniq 5, we now 100 percent think it’s a car that we can sell in Europe, and we will capture some premium brand customers with it. Brand loyalty doesn’t seem to be as strong in EVs”. But Cole ruled out a wholesale premium switch for Hyundai, adding: “We want to keep the customer base we’ve got, we’re not trying to change our whole outlook, but we believe we can reach a whole new customer as well with EVs”. +++

+++ If there was ever a time for KEI CARS to do well in Europe, it would be now. Demand for these microcars is growing, says the firm, driven by the arrival of “brilliant” new models coinciding with growing concerns about low-emissions zones such as London’s ULEZ. Kei (short for keijidosha) cars are Japanese market models with government-regulated size and engine displacement limits, first introduced after the Second World War to help get the country moving again. Tax and insurance benefits, as well as exemption from shako shomeisho rules (requiring motorists to prove they have off-street, overnight parking) eventually spurred on strong demand for these vehicles. Despite swingeing cuts to monetary incentives, kei cars today remain among Japan’s most popular models. They accounted for more than 1 in 3 of the 4.2 million new cars sold in Japan last year, giving importers a huge stock to choose from in the coming years. A raft of new electric kei cars, undercutting larger alternatives from Western manufacturers, could well capitalise on the demand prompted by the expansion of low emission zones. The Dacia Spring demonstrates a clear appetite for affordable electric cars. The Romanian brand’s A-segment crossover is smaller than a Ford Fiesta, is capped at 100 kph and can drive up to only 200 km per charge. However, priced from roughly €16.000 in France (with local incentives), it found nearly 50.000 buyers in Europe last year, according to Jato Dynamics. That’s more than fully sized and heavily marketed models including the Cupra Born, Hyundai Ioniq 5 and Polestar 2. The Citroën Ami is cheaper still, priced from €8.990. However, it has yet to find success on the scale of the Spring because it is so compromised: a 45 kph top speed, a sub-80 km range and seating for 2 only. This opens a gap in the market for electric kei cars, which undercut the likes of the Spring but retain much more usability than the extreme Ami. Few vehicles are better placed to fill this opening than the Nissan Sakura, voted Japan’s Car of the Year for 2022-23. Launched last year at just €12.500 including local incentives, it offers seating for 4 and a 180 km range, plus an 130 kph top speed. “The Sakura would do well in Europe”, says Jato Dynamics. Manufacturer backing would also be required for such models in order for them to achieve the economies of scale needed to be sold at a competitive price point. It could be brought to Europa for under €23.000. At that price, it would be unsurprising if mainstream buyers instead looked to the full-sized MG 4, which offers a 350 km range for €32.285 (in the Netherlands). Should any manufacturer offer a kei car in Europe, it will face significant challenges. For a start, the boxy shape legislated into existence by the restrictive kei rules is thoroughly unfashionable among European buyers, who tend to favour more curvaceous crossovers. The kei cars would also have to adhere to strict safety regulations. All new cars launched in Europe since 6 July 2022 have to comply, and from 2024 existing models on sale in the market will have to comply, via modifications if need be, to remain on sale. The technology now required includes advanced emergency braking, driver drowsiness detection and emergency lane keeping, among other systems. Modification is the sticking point for some cars currently on sale. It is unlikely that modifying existing Japanese-market models that lack such tech would be economical for manufacturers. Nonetheless, many newer kei cars do offer advanced driver assistance (the Sakura has Nissan’s ProPilot suite, for instance) so may not need significant revisions to be sold here. Kei cars would also have to overcome their historical failure in European markets. The only kei maker to succeed in Europe has been Suzuki, with a wider version of the Wagon R. Called the Wagon R+ (having been stretched outside compliance with kei rules and fitted with punchier engines), its annual sales peaked at 119.008 in 2001 (combined with the identical Opel/Vauxhall Agila). Hot cakes compared with its kei compatriots, but far fewer than superminis such as the Renault Clio (492.308 that year). Whether this trend could be reversed in light of modern market forces will remain untested until a Japanese manufacturer goes where many have previously failed. +++


+++ PORSCHE will impose “significant price increases” on its cars in the middle of this year to keep its profits high, its chief financial officer has told investors. The Volkswagen Group-owned company also said it would price its future electric versions of the Macan, 718 Boxster and Cayenne 10-15% higher than ICE versions, which will remain on sale. Finance head Lutz Meschke made the pricing announcements on a call with analysts to reassure them that Porsche can continue to build on 2022’s strong operating profits of €6.8 billion in 2022 with an 18% return on sales. Porsche aims to hit a 20% return “in the long term” as part of its Road-to-20 strategy. “We will see significant price increases in the middle of the year for the new model year. That will help a lot to make sure we make strong group operating margins”, Meschke said. Porsche is currently in the middle of a spending push to invest in new EVs that have raised its R&D and capital expenditures to a higher level than it would ideally like. Those expenditures would “peak” in 2023/2024, Meschke said. The increased cost of EVs is also weighing on the brand as it shifts towards its goal of 50% electric and plug-in hybrid sales by 2025 and 80% electric sales by 2030. “We set ourselves a very ambitious goal when it comes to group return on sales of 17-19% in the mid-term, and that means we have to reach parity between BEV and ICE as soon as possible, otherwise this forecast wouldn’t work”, Meschke said. The electric Macan will go on sale in 2024, with the electric 718 and Cayenne following “in the middle of the decade”. A larger electric SUV dubbed K1 (based on the new Porsche-developed Sport version of the Volkswagen Group’s new SSP platform) will arrive after that. Meschke said that the 10-15% price increase for the EV versions of the Macan, Boxster and Cayenne is “a huge factor on the turnover side” of Porsche’s ambitious targets. Porsche believes customers would accept higher prices across the board. “We have a very good foundation with a very strong brand and a very strong customer base that gives us the power to increase prices in very challenging times and in an intelligent manner”, Meschke said. Porsche added that the price increases for the Cayenne will coincide with a major overhaul for the SUV. The changes will include a larger battery for PHEV models to increase electric-only range to 80 km, CEO Oliver Blume said on the same call. The Panamera PHEV will also gain the upgraded battery pack, he said. +++

+++ New iterations of the SKODA Superb and Kodiaq will go on sale later this year, with both models gaining a total redesign inside and out, new technology and a handful of “efficient engines’. With first deliveries planned for early 2024, the Superb will enter its 4th generation, while the Kodiaq will move into its second generation. Both models will be available with a selection of petrol and diesel engines, with 1.5-litre and 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol engines and 1.6-litre and 2.0-litre diesel engines, but a key change is the addition of a new plug-in hybrid powertrain. While the Superb has been available with a PHEV powertrain for a while now, it will be the first time the larger Kodiaq will be sold with a plug. The electrified plug-in hybrid pairs a 1.4-litre petrol 4-pot with an electric motor and 13 kWh battery for a combined output of 218 hp and an electric-only range of 40-50 km. However, the line-up of both models will remain predominantly ICE-powered. The Superb will be a direct rival to the likes of the Peugeot 508, while the Kodiaq will have the Kia Sorrento and the Volkswagen Tiguan, its technical twin, in its sights. The Kodiaq was Skoda’s third bestselling vehicle last year, with the firm shifting 94.500 units around the world. The Superb, meanwhile, finished in the middle of the park for Skoda’s overall sales, with 60.800 units. Both models will play a significant role in maintaining and advancing the Czech firm’s market share. As part of the firm’s rapid advance towards electrification, it unveiled a plan to guide its transition that includes investing €5.6 billion in e-mobility, including 3 new electric cars by 2026: a flagship SUV, a city car and an electric alternative to the Karoq. However, in the lead-up to the 2030 ICE ban, it will continue to update its existing combustion models. By this time, the firm estimates ICE cars will still account for 30% of its total sales. The current Superb is built at Skoda’s factory in Emden, Germany, but this new generation will be built in Bratislava, alongside the new Volkswagen Passat. Both cars will be based on Volkswagen’s latest ICE car platform: MQB Evo. Skoda’s aim of catering to a large bracket of customers will mean this line-up will likely remain competitively priced. +++

+++ VOLKSWAGEN is hopeful that an “amicable solution” to the problem of the contentious new Euro 7 emissions proposals is emerging after discussions involving the European Commission, VW brand boss Thomas Schäfer has said. If not, VW is likely to discontinue the Polo due to the cost burden, he warned. The car industry slammed the proposals announced in November last year, describing them as “unworkable” and “useless”. Manufacturers have hotly contested the Commission’s claim that the proposals will add €900-€1.500 to the price of a car, warning that they may need to cancel smaller models altogether. VW has said its Polo model is under threat. “Smaller combustion-engine vehicles will become prohibitively expensive”, Schäfer told at a recent event to unveil the ID 2all concept, which previews an electric small car VW wants to sell alongside the Polo from 2025. “It literally makes it impossible to continue with a small ICE vehicle as it currently stands”. Schäfer said he raised the additional cost with the Commission in a recent meeting, arguing that it might be true for bigger cars but not for smaller models. “The new measures are not a big problem for something like a Audi A6, which already has hybrid technology and an auto gearbox”, he said. The extra cost comes from adding that technology to a budget car. “It makes a dying technology prohibitively expensive”. The timescale to apply Euro 7 from 1 July 2025 for new cars and light vans is also far too short, given that some of the proposals have still to be tested and verified. Schäfer cited the requirement to send on-board diagnostics back to the Commission to confirm vehicles are continuing to achieve their emissions targets over the course of their life. The same is also true for measuring particulates from brakes and tyres. However, discussions are moving in the direction of the car maker, Schäfer believes. “There’s probably a lot of misunderstandings”, he said. “From the engagements we’ve had recently, I had the feeling there is an amicable solution going forward. I hope so”. Whether or not the Commission recasts the proposals more favourably to the car makers “plays a role in the future of Polo”, Schäfer said. VW says the issue is not with emissions levels themselves, which are almost unchanged from those of Euro 6 from September 2014. “We’ve got no problem with the emissions part. We actually asked to take the limits for CO [carbon monoxide] and NOx [oxides of nitrogen] right up!” Schäfer said. “But they said no, we give you tougher frame conditions”. The ‘frame conditions’ include a broader operational window in which the emissions restrictions apply. For example, the ambient temperature changes from 0-30 degree Celsius to 0-35 degree Celsius, while the “extended” conditions drops from -7 degree Celsius to -10 degree Celsius and rises to 45 degree Celsius. Rather than focus on the emissions themselves, the European Union in the past few years has been tightening up the loopholes within Euro 6, starting with the Real Driving Emissions (RDE) element to ensure the cars are actually cleaner in the real world, not just the laboratory. RDE was introduced in 2017 in the aftermath of Dieselgate, which VW was at the centre of. VW and other car makers argue that the push to electrification with a ban on internal combustion engines on the schedule for 2035 makes Euro 7 irrelevant, given the pace of the switchover. “The solution is electrification. We all know this”, Schäfer said. “Combustion engine volumes drop right off in 2026/27 after Euro 7 comes in”. +++

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