Bosch Claims Tech Breakthrough as EU Diesel Ban Looms

Saved by the bell? Auto parts supplier Bosch GmbH claims to have made a technological breakthrough that dramatically improves diesel engine emissions.


DW-WEEKENDRECAP-05AThe engineering giant says the process involves optimizing exhaust temperatures, which reduces nitrogen oxide emissions, one of the banes of diesel engines. The system reportedly improves NOx emissions by as much as 90% below the legal limit, and works even in cold weather. The catch? The new technology cannot be retrofitted to existing engines.

“This breakthrough offers the opportunity to shift the heated debate over diesel into new territory and, hopefully, bring it to a close,” Bosch CEO Volkmar Denner trumpeted in a press release today. While the company did not go into the specifics of the new technology, Denner claims that “blanket driving bans in the centers of the world’s major cities will no longer be an issue.”

If true, this diesel development is a literal game-changer. Sales of diesel vehicles plummeted after a recent European push against diesel engines. A new law passed by the EU in 2017 set more stringent emission standards. All new passenger vehicles sold in Europe should emit no more than 168mg of NOx per kilometer, and no more than 120mg by 2020. Bosch’s breakthrough is said to release as little as 13mg of NOx, or barely a tenth of the 2020 limit.

Last October, three major European cities announced diesel bans in an effort to improve air quality: Copenhagen by 2019, Oxford by 2020 and Paris by 2030. In February, Germany’s top court ruled that city authorities can ban diesel engines in an effort to improve air quality. And in the wake of the German ruling, both Sweden and the United Kingdom are mulling similar proposals against diesel motors.

The anti-diesel push could see diesel vehicles plunge from 56% in 2011 to as low as 15% of the market by 2025. Germany, Europe’s biggest diesel market, recorded a 15% drop in diesel sales year-on-year in March.

As Bosch is set to release more details, this new technology might just be the answer to the diesel industry’s woes.