At the 2015 Frankfurt motor show last week, Volkswagen head of powertrain development Heinz-Jakob Neusser said that the brand’s diesel engines are “cleaner than ever”.
The following quotes were obtained prior to the massive 11-million car diesel 'scandal' - where cars with the EA189 diesel engine had been fitted with an emissions cheating device that offered false scores. Social media has since labelled the debacle #dieselgate.
The brand has since admitted it was at fault, but Neusser gave no indication of any issues with diesel engines within the Volkswagen Group.
Indeed, it was quite the opposite.
“We need the diesel here in Europe to fulfill our 95g/km CO2 emission requirement for the fleet. When we take out the diesel we have 13g to 15g CO2 in the fleet - a higher level, that’s the same for all manufacturers.
“And for that it’s important to keep the diesel in [the range], because we have here the clean diesel fuel, the sulphur-free fuel: this is everything perfect,” he said.
Of global diesel demand and the emissions regulations of different markets, Neusser said that the fuel type has the potential to be used in all countries in the future.
“With the diesel worldwide scene, the diesel exhaust gas after treatment gets more and more expensive, the cleaner and cleaner the emissions get,” Neusser said.
“And it’s a question of money if it’s possible to also have the diesel in the future, worldwide, in every region,” he said.
“That means that maybe in some countries the gasoline engines get more importance than the diesels, but here in central Europe I think the diesels are a very important factor, and also for the [our] future existence.
When asked if plug-in hybrids offer an alternative in terms of low-emission vehicles, Neusser suggested there’s a case for the technology.
“I don’t know if the plug-in hybrids replace the diesel,” he said at the time.
“The hybrid field is very broad. And first of all we are looking to a general electrification of the powertrains – in general, this means we have nearly no engine anymore without any [available] e-motor inside or applied. These are especially the mild hybrids with the belt-driven alternator system, and e-motor system, and these systems can be 100 per cent installation in the future.
“That means you can do recuperation, you have start-stop, and you have also the possibility for parking or something like this to do this using electric.
“This is the easiest way of electrification and this can be 100 per cent installation, but then we will have plug-in hybrids and also the battery-electric vehicles,” Neusser said.