In Germany, the federal administrative court of Leipzig has ruled that German cities may ban entrance to diesel cars in the most polluted urban centers, in order to improve air quality. The real news is that they can also prohibit the circulation of Euro4 and Euro5 diesel engines, as already happens in Italy, for example, with the ban imposed last winter in Turin.
Meanwhile, the mayor of Rome, Virginia Raggi, participating in Mexico City at the Conference C40, has announced that from 2024 the use of diesel cars will be banned in the center of Rome.
This prohibitions strategy had as its forerunner Paris, where the mayor Anne Hidalgo announced to ban diesel by 2020. Similar measures are also studied in London and Barcelona.
In Milan, the private diesel cars, up to Euro4, cannot circulate in the wide Area C of the city center.
A casual epilogue
The future of the diesel car is therefore marked. maybe this is a good new for the environment and for the quality of the air, even if this epilogue has come more by chance and by a sequence of clumsy events, than by a well-planned strategy. With the consequent, unforeseen and unpredictable, economic and organizational consequences for industry and citizens.
Let’s remember how it came to this “killing” of diesel: the German car industry is guilty.
A light/dark engine
In fact, diesel engine has an inherent value and a defect.
• The value are reduced CO2 emissions, responsible for the greenhouse effect, global warming and climate changes. A potential ally, then, towards the targets set by the Paris agreements of COP 21.
• The defect are the high emissions of NOX and PM10.
These emissions could, however, be easily contained thanks to the adoption of well tested and already implemented technologies – see, for example , the BlueHDi of the French PSA Group, which is able to achieve a drastic reduction in NOx emissions up to 90% and to eliminate 99.9% of particles, including the most subtle.
But, as in the worst events of crime, the sudden “crushing” of German automakers has led to a case of murder-suicide. Instead of adopting the French system or a similar one, they took the illegal shortcut to soup up emissions tests . Hence the worldwide scandal, the fines and sanctions, the bans against the entire circulating diesel fleet, now seen – rightly – with great suspicion.
Not enough, is very recent the scandal of diesel exhaust gas tests – on the monkeys first and then on people – by German car manufacturers Bmw, Volkswagen and Daimler.
The future in the hybrid
Now that diesel is on the sunset way, the industry must look to the future to give concrete responses to the mobility needs of citizens.
Looking at the prospects, the electric, as long as the problems of autonomy and infrastructures will not be resolved, is limited to the large metropolitan areas. The privileged direction is the hybrid engine, which allows the reduction of C02 emissions by 70-80% in the best executions and types of use and does not present any inconvenience of use for the driver.
Even the automakers that have not bet from the beginning on the double petrol/electric motorization are now trying to recover the time lost.
Daimler-Benz to the Chinese
The Daimler-Benz leaders have announced the acquisition of 9.69% of its share capital by the Geely Group: with this move the Chinese giant, which already has shares of Volvo, becomes the main shareholder of Daimler-Benz. But this is not a one-way action (Chinese capital investment in Europe): from Daimler there is an interest in technological exchange to the advantage of the Mercedes and Smart brands. In fact, Daimler already operates in China , thanks to the collaboration with the state car company Baic for the production of battery vehicles in the factory in co-ownership in Beijing. The two will invest about 1.5 billion euros to build a new plant , which will produce various Mercedes-Benz models hybrids and electric.
Marchionne plugs in
Even the FCA Group adapts to the “no diesel”: Marchionne announced the drop of this engine from 2022. It has been revealed by the Financial Times, which has published some advances of the next industrial plan, which will be presented in June. The choice is related to the decline in sales on foreign markets (in Italy, however, the diesel car registrations continue to grow) and the cost of the technology needed to contain emissions: on cars of small-capacity segments, it has a high relative impact.
A shift to electric motors will force FCA to huge industrial investments to recover the gap accumulated over other manufacturers, already engaged for some time in the development of new technologies.
The gold rush in poor Africa
This sudden acceleration in the conversion trend to electric and hybrid is unleashing a veritable “gold rush” for the supply of the raw materials such as lithium, cobalt and graphite needed to battery technology. Difficult extraction and growth in demand are rearing up prices of these mineral resources, as well as the profits of mining companies and.
Mining companies are competing to win the licenses to exploit resources and Africa, which abounds in raw materials, continues to see her wealth take other routes, remaining condemned to poverty. Niger, Côte d’Ivoire, the Democratic Republic of Congo , Tanzania, Malawi, Mozambique and Namibia are the new frontiers of the mining industry. Hundreds of thousands of people, including many children, are working in Africa in the mines in harsh working conditions, as documented by Todd Frankel in the Washington Post.
China is once again the protagonist of the “hunt” for rare metals in Africa to power the batteries of the cars of the future. China Molybdenum, the Chinese parastatal mining company, owns one of the largest cobalt mines in the world in Tenke, Congo. Cobalt is essential for the production of rechargeable lithium-ion batteries for electric cars and smartphones.
riproduzione consentita con link a originale e citazione fonte: rivistanatura.com