My Urban Car

Finding cleaner cars and vans that are ready for ULEZ and the future or..

Why diesel cars and vans are unlikely to be on sale in 2030 let alone 2040

Why combustion engines are in the departure lounge

  • Toxic Air quality caused by combustion engines especially diesels which are the most toxic way to power a vehicle –  NOx PM 2.5 and PM 10
  • Global warming (CO2) targets heading for net zero. You simply can’t meet this target using petrol or diesel combustion engines.
  • New more accurate real world WLTP, RDE1 and RDE2 economy and emissions testing for economy (MPG), CO2 and toxic exhaust fumes ( NOx)
  • Electric (EV) and autonomous tech that’s cleaner cheaper and better
  • Cities competing to deliver on their legal responsibility for citizens safe air to breathe
  • Clean Air zones (CAZ) or Ultra Low Emission Zones (ULEZ) where polluting vehicles have to pay a charge to enter a city are the most effective way to improve air quality. Diesel bans are also an option.
  • Countries are under pressure to lower Carbon emissions and even the EU has set CO2 targets that will land carmakers with big fines if they don’t move on to EV tech.

NOx pollution from diesel vehicles

The tweet below links to charts showing roadside emissions from petrol vehicles from the cleanest 25% to the dirtiest 25%. The petrol cars are much cleaner with cars under or close to the legal limit while Euro 6 diesels are dirtier even with adblue SCR systems ( top of the diesel charts).

Essentially toxic emissions on the road are still much higher from diesel vehicles.

When the car industry says diesel emissions are comparable to petrol cars they mean in the same way a mouse dropping can be compared to an elephant’s dung. They are not the same size but they are comparable

Tax advantages for diesels will disappear

13% – the amount of extra CO2 emitted by a litre of diesel compared to a litre of petrol. The overall CO2 when you drive a diesel is offset by better fuel economy.

On a level CO2 basis the taxation on diesel should be 13% higher per litre. At some point it will be. This will in future offset any advantage in fuel economy as diesel fuel is already more expensive.

Taxable CO2 on new diesels is about to go up sharply compared to petrols because of WLTP

In addition CO2 based tax on purchasing diesels in future will be based on WLTP lab tests which are more realistic. Until now tax has been based on NEDC lab tests that massively understated CO2 for diesels – essentially a tax fraud.
The tweet below from Emissions Analytics details how WLTP will affect the relationship between petrol & diesel CO2.

Clean air zones to cut air pollution are global and accelerating.

Clean air zones are being introduced across the UK including London, Birmingham, Bristol, Bath, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Aberdeen and Dundee between 2018 and 2021. More UK cities will follow soon. Most will follow the broad standards and have the similar exemptions for now. Class D will be the most common plan.

4 classes of zone – vehicles that pay pollution charges

  • Class A – Bus; coach; taxi and private hire
  • Class B – Bus; coach; Heavy Goods Vehicle (HGV); taxi and private hire
  • Class C – Bus; coach; HGV; large van; minibus; small van/light commercial; taxi and private hire
  • Class D – Bus; coach; HGV; large van; minibus; small van/light commercial; cars, taxis and private hire

The cars that are exempt in UK zones now and in future

  • Whichever class is chosen, Euro 4 petrol (approx. 2006) vehicles or a Euro 6 diesel (approx. 2015) vehicles would not be charged, nor would electric or hydrogen powered vehicles.
  • In future these standards will he tightened as many Euro 6 diesels are still very polluting. We can only guess but by 2025 there are 3 ways it could go.
  • Least extreme would be RDE2 diesels remain exempt. RDE 2 diesel vehicles are only just becoming available but are less polluting than other diesels.
  • Middle ground is all diesels lose their exemption from clean air zone charges.
  • most severe would be all diesel and petrol vehicles pay clean air zone charges or are banned entirely from big cities. This is not unlikely but 2030 is more likely as a start date. Amsterdam

Amsterdam has announced all combustion engined vehicles would be banned by 2030 including boats 

If you think all the pollution comes from buses and taxis you are correct they are big polluters but not for much longer. In London new diesel taxis are banned from sale, all new double deckers are hybrid or zero emission electric or hydrogen, All new single deckers zero emission from 2020 inc all operating in central ULEZ

The dirtiest vehicles in the London bus fleet will be Euro 6 diesels by Oct 2020. These are already less polluting than many diesel cars and vans because larger vehicles always had to pass an on the road test for Euro 6.

Technology do’s and don’ts

On average petrol cars & vans currently emit 60mg of polluting NOx per km or less. The average Euro 6 diesel car or van sold before 1st September 2019 emits around 480mg (so about the same as 8 petrol cars). The worst single Euro 6 diesel cars, vans and taxis are as polluting as over 30 average petrol cars.

The new standard used to decide UK tax bands is Euro 6 RDE2. Diesels conforming to this will not go up a tax band when purchased new and the worst will “only” be 2x as polluting as petrol cars.

The reason RDE2 is the next likely minimum standard for diesels (assuming all diesels don’t have to pay ULEZ zones yet) is that in order for RDE2 cars to get a tax break a field identifying RDE2 models was added to vehicle registration forms. This allows owners & ANPR cameras to identify an RDE2 car but not an RDE1.

The chart below compares the emissions of Euro 6 vehicles sold before 1st September 2019 with RDE1 vehicles sold after & the future RDE2 standard. It is worth noting that the EU had to raise the official Euro 6 limit of 80mg/km that was set in 2015 so that dieselmakers could continue to sell vehicles that pollute at twice or 3 times the legal limit (for NOx) when driven on our streets.

Bit confused. What should I buy?

  • Euro 6 diesels – don’t don’ don’t
  • Euro 6 RDE1 is cleaner but not as safe to buy as RDE2
  • Euro 6 RDE 2diesel – best chance for a diesel that may escape a tightening of clean air zone standards & less tax to buy it.
  • petrol – commit to short to medium term only
  • MHEV – same as a standard combustion engine car. It is not electrified so a short term option only.
  • diesel hybrid or plugin hybrid – dont dont dont! Any car with a diesel engine is treated like any other diesel for CAZ charges
  • petrol hybrid or plugin hybrid – yes for short to medium term. Vans like the new Ford Transit PHEV provide some of the benefits of an EV with the convenience of petrol for long journeys when required
  • Zero emission EVs – buy when the right models become available at the right price starting in 2020/ 2021

RDE2-compliant cars help diesel hit back

01/05/2019 in Fleet Industry News.

Your new technology future – From combustion and driving to batteries and self driving

  • Zero exhaust pollutants
  • brake pads barely used and last up to 200,00 miles – Energy generated during braking is used to charge the batteries of electric and hybrid vehicles. On conventional vehicles the sources of particulate are are exhaust, brakes and tyres.
  • Performance – acceleration is instant and can be much quicker compared combustion cars.
  • Wake up fully charged in the morning
  • Lower running costs – charging costs are around half the cost of petrol or diesel.
  • Servicing – few parts, less wear and tear. Million mile Tesla
  • Less stress – with no gear changes & smooth drive EVs cut stress
  • Health benefits – being on the road or a job site where diesels are running is noisy & exposes you to toxic exhausts linked to asthma, heart disease, stroke, lung cancer and early dementia
  • For electric Range – expect to take 20% off WLTP figures.. 25% off NEDC so aiming for 150 miles minimum official range should assure 112 to 120 miles or 100 in very cold weather.
  • charging speed matters as much as range. A vehicle that can charge at 100kW should add range at around 250 miles per hour of charging. A 250kW charge can add around 1,000 miles per hour adding 200 miles in under 15 mins. A car or van with a battery bigger than 60kW should charge at a rate of at least 100kW for quick charging speeds

City range in an EV – should it be measured in time or in distance?

When I took a ride a new London range extender taxi I asked the driver whether he got around 40 miles of EV range.

He said “I don’t think of it in miles, I think of it in time”. He lets the petrol range extender keeping him fully charged on the way in from Essex and then he switches to EV mode and runs fully electric for 6 to 7 hours in London without a charge or the using the petrol range extender. He said his total bill for petrol and electricity was £6 a day EV use on one charge £6 a day, down from £30 a day on diesel with the old cab.

David Nicholson

David Nicholson Is the founder of Rivergecko Ltd & MyUrbanCar which provide consultancy and advice for drivers and fleets to speed the transition from dirty fossil fuel transport to clean vehicles powered by renewable energy on land water and air.

The @MyUrbanCar twitter feed is a source of news & reviews of electric & plugin cars and vans in the UK.
The @rivergecko twitter feed & websites bring news and opinion on cleantech transport including cars, vans, buses, trucks, shipping, rail & aviation as well as autonomous vehicles & renewable energy, air pollution & motor industry news.

David Nicholson has worked as an underwriter at Lloyd's of London since the 1980's. His interest in technology goes back many years including interactive mapping, apps, green tech, boats, solar and cars.