Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.

Driving them out of business.

by Colman Thu Sep 13th, 2007 at 07:24:21 AM EST

The poor EU car industry are terribly upset by proposals to force them to reduce emissions of new cars, according to EurActive.com.

With automobile manufacturers expected to miss their 2008 voluntary commitment to reduce CO2 emissions, the Commission has proposed introducing new binding legislation. The car industry has firmly rejected the plans, arguing that they have already achieved strong cuts through technological improvements and laying the blame for slow progress on other factors. But green NGOs say that the proposals do not go far enough.

The Commission want to set a target that would be met in part by use of things like biofuels(!) and changes in driver behaviour.

So far, just four European manufacturers (Fiat, Citroen, Renault and Peugeot) are currently on track to meet the 2008 target of 140 g/km, whereas carbon emissions of newly registered cars in Germany still averaged at 172.5 g/km in 2006 just 0.5% lower than the previous year.

The discussion has thus split the car industry in two, pitting French and Italian manufacturers, which typically produce smaller, more fuel-efficient models, against manufacturers of large, high-performance vehicles such as Mercedes, Audi, Porsche, BMW, Jaguar and Land Rover.

The latter mainly German and UK-based companies claim that the new legislation will penalise them unfairly as they are simply responding to consumer demand for bigger, safer and more powerful cars. They say that the chances of them meeting the target within the next five years are virtually non-existent with present technologies.

Yes, that's the point: that consumer demand flies in the face of the common good and should not be encouraged or fulfilled.

The Parlimentary Environmental committee disagrees with the Commission and the manufacturers:

In a parallel development, the environment committee adopted an own-initiative report by Liberal MEP Chris Davies (EurActiv 26/06/07) calling for CO2 emissions from cars to be cut to 120 g/km by 2012 "through engine technology alone" thereby rejecting the 'integrated approach' supported by the Commission and automobile manufacturers.

The report also expresses a need for long-term targets as low as "70g CO2/km or less by 2025", although it adds that some specialist manufacturers will be unable to achieve the 120gramme target by 2012 and should have the right "to exclude 500 identified vehicles annually".


Display:
Meanwhile parliament is bickering over how to treat aviation emissions:
Members of the Parliament's environment committee, on 12 September, deplored the adoption of a report - one day earlier - by their colleagues in the transport committee, which called on the Commission to weaken its proposal on including internal flights into the EU's carbon trading scheme as of 2011 and international ones as of 2012.

While the Commission is proposing an overall CO2 cap based on average plane emissions in 2004-2006, the transport committee said that this would fail to take into account the sector's recent strong growth levels, especially in the new member states.

They called for the cap to be set at 110% of average emissions from 2007-2009 and suggested that airlines be given 80% of this quota for free, with just 20% of permits auctioned. Lastly, they asked for the scheme to be delayed until 2012 so that all airlines are treated equally.

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Thu Sep 13th, 2007 at 07:26:30 AM EST
When and why did "consumer demand" start excusing any crime?
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Thu Sep 13th, 2007 at 07:29:09 AM EST
Today's consumer demand is next quarter's profits.

And, as we know, today's profits are tomorrow's investemnts are the day after jobs.

And jobs is what drives policy.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Thu Sep 13th, 2007 at 07:59:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You need to read The General Theory. Or maybe ask me about it in Falkirk.

Oye, vatos, dees English sink todos mi ships, chinga sus madres, so escuche: el fleet es ahora refloated, OK? — The War Nerd
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Sep 13th, 2007 at 08:14:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
they are getting more flack - there is a very interesting article in Die Zeit
http://www.zeit.de/2007/37/Mythos-Auto
If I have the time I will translate, it contains some grat lines.

Insekten haben mit dem Menschen gemeinsam, dass sie Mobilität mit ihrer eigenen Körperenergie bewältigen. Der Autofahrer muss das nicht. Und es gibt keine Insekten, die aus Bequemlichkeit den Lebensraum ihrer Nachkommen zerstören oder sich so schnell bewegen, dass sie sich dabei selbst töten.

Insects share with humans that their mobility is driven by their own body energy. The car driver does not have to do that. There are no insects, which destroy out of comfort the habitat of their descendants or move so fast move that they kill themselves in the process.

or even better:

Der Mensch legt die größeren Entfernungen zurück, um dieselben Bedürfnisse zu befriedigen wie zuvor. Er macht dasselbe wie früher, nur fährt er dafür weiter..

Humans travel larger distances, but only satisfy the same needs as before. We do the same as in earlier times, but we travel further for it.

by PeWi on Thu Sep 13th, 2007 at 07:36:47 AM EST
ups wrong article as source - here is the propper one
http://www.zeit.de/2007/38/Interv_-Knoflacher

however the article I link to is worth reading as well, since it is actually more on topic, than my post...

by PeWi on Thu Sep 13th, 2007 at 08:16:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
So far, just four European manufacturers (Fiat, Citroen, Renault and Peugeot) are currently on track to meet the 2008 target of 140 g/km, whereas carbon emissions of newly registered cars in Germany still averaged at 172.5 g/km in 2006 - just 0.5% lower than the previous year.

Why does the article compare apples and oranges?

What was the average carbon emissions for Mercedes?
Or for France?

Either of those might help the discussion.

by Metatone (metatone [a|t] gmail (dot) com) on Thu Sep 13th, 2007 at 07:45:24 AM EST
You don't really expect Germans to buy French cars, do you? I mean, everybody knows that French cars are shitty and Germans are connoisseurs, right?

And the sad French and Italians are too poor to buy anything but local cars - which are anyway protected by protectionnist bareers. Right?

Who cares about common sense and logic in journalism?

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Thu Sep 13th, 2007 at 07:58:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
See the article in Der Zeit linked by PeWi, it has a graphic with all brands. For Mercedes, it's 186. Most curious is the score for Mini, at 178.
by nanne (zwaerdenmaecker@gmail.com) on Thu Sep 13th, 2007 at 09:56:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
see if this works:


by PeWi on Thu Sep 13th, 2007 at 11:15:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Hum. Since I am a physicist, let's talk about physics.

Let us assume that we keep the same cars than we have today in terms of weight, equipment and speed. Now, they emit, for the most recent ones, 140 g/km. The current yield (if this is the term) of thermic motors is about 30%. Having a 70g/km emission means to reach a 67% yield of thermic motors, which has never been done before (specialists consider that 30% is the maximum for now and maybe for a long long time).

This is not very realistic. And anyway, this means that with the cars we have, a 47 g/km emission is a minimum given by the laws of physics.

by Renard (scio at free point fr) on Thu Sep 13th, 2007 at 08:38:22 AM EST
I rather think the assumption is that they won't be conventional engines - I'm assuming some sort of plug-in hybrid - by 2025.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Thu Sep 13th, 2007 at 08:57:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
This is really about the right to wave a penis substitute around in public and announce 'fuck you' to those scolding silly greenies.

Watch a UK motoring show called Top Gear if you want to understand the mindset.

Physics is a footnote. No one needs a car that's bigger than a mid-range family hatchback.

There are tiny justifiable markets for people who have to off-road for a living, like farmers. But those are a footnote compared to the car-owning mainstream.

So there is no practical reason why emissions can't be reduced to 140gm/km, or much less.

What has to change is the primary function of cars - which isn't to get people from A to B, but to indicate social status and class.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Thu Sep 13th, 2007 at 09:20:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
the right to wave a penis substitute around in public

The smaller the soccer mom, the bigger the SUV she drives.

Oye, vatos, dees English sink todos mi ships, chinga sus madres, so escuche: el fleet es ahora refloated, OK? — The War Nerd

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Sep 13th, 2007 at 09:22:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Honest.  The other day, I saw a woman who was so small and her SUV so large that she literally had to leap to close the rear hatch.  

"Remember the I35W bridge--who needs terrorists when there are Republicans"
by techno (reply@elegant-technology.com) on Thu Sep 13th, 2007 at 12:04:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
And I once saw a short guy who had to literally heave himself up to reach the step to get into his jacked-up pickup truck.

Oye, vatos, dees English sink todos mi ships, chinga sus madres, so escuche: el fleet es ahora refloated, OK? — The War Nerd
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Sep 13th, 2007 at 12:05:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
For a hybrid vehicle, all the energy comes from oil. Less is wasted (because the energy is saved when you brake), but the main advantage is in town, when you don't have to use your heat engine / thermal motor (?).

For a long trip, a hybrid vehicle has no advantage in terms of oil consumption.

But this is what I think : we should give up using heat engine. They are ineffective - but very practical. That is not what is implied by a 70 g/km recommendation : I think they imagine that the cars will still be using conventional motors.

Until now, only heat engine can transform oil into movement.

by Renard (scio at free point fr) on Thu Sep 13th, 2007 at 10:28:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Note: "plug-in hybrid". Anyway, most journeys for most vehicles are short.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Thu Sep 13th, 2007 at 10:34:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]

Yep. I think fully electric (or plug-in) vehicle are likely, because, as you say, most of journeys are
short.

There's a calculation which is seldom made :
only 3% of the solar energy is converted to chemical potential energy in a plant and then 2/3 of this energy is spilled in conventional motors so that a biofuel + heat engine line has a yield of 1% (and I'm considering that no energy has been necessary to obtain biofuel).

Solar panel convert 15% of the solar energy into electricity. 1/3 is lost when using batteries. Since the yield of an electrical motor is around 90%, then 9% of the solar energy is converted into movement. Ok, a lot of energy is required to make the solar panels (4 years of their production is necessary to fabricate the next panel).

So... I don't believe in conventional motors. Nowhere except for long journeys - because of the energetic density of fuel.

by Renard (scio at free point fr) on Thu Sep 13th, 2007 at 11:26:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by Laurent GUERBY on Thu Sep 13th, 2007 at 02:34:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Interesting enough, indeed.  Thanks for those links.

I guess that the speaker for tesla motors wasnt fully impartial. However, the figures are striking. Even if they are overestimated by one order of magnitude, electric motors are even more interesting than what I thought.

I think he has forgotten some phenomena (electricity transport, for instance) and that he underestimates the average cost of using batteries. Anyway, this is interesting. Partial, but interesting.

by Renard (scio at free point fr) on Thu Sep 13th, 2007 at 04:21:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes of course Telsa Motors is not neutral, but they did cite their sources and the few numbers I went after on google were within reasonable bounds of what the paper said.

Electricity transport is not that costly (around 95% efficient IIRC) and also not mandatory (eg local production).

Batteries are of course the current hot topic (cost and storage capacity per mass/volume), but some EV models have in car fuel-burning generator that generate electricity to extend range.

by Laurent GUERBY on Fri Sep 14th, 2007 at 06:56:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I do not disagree with the figures - I'm just saying they choose the "best ones", and not the more realistic ones.

From wikipedia :

The nickel cadmium and nickel metal-hydride designs have efficiencies of around 66%.[43] However, modern lithium designs have almost negated this wastage as they can have efficiencies of around 99%.[44]

But are the latter batteries really available ? It may be more reasonable to assume a 66% yield instead. This is what I usually do. :) With the idea that it is possible to have a much better yield using "modern" design.

by Renard (scio at free point fr) on Fri Sep 14th, 2007 at 07:47:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Tesla (and many others) use Lithium-Ion batteries of course, expensive but best Wh/kg. The battery is usually the single most expensive component of EV, some vendor lease the battery.

The Modec van uses Zebra batteries with charge-discharge effiency above 90% (IIRC).

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Modec
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zebra_battery

Even with NiMH AA batteries, 66% is near the absolute worst :).

by Laurent GUERBY on Fri Sep 14th, 2007 at 01:17:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"For a long trip, a hybrid vehicle has no advantage in terms of oil consumption."

I don't think this is correct. The heat engine (gasoline or diesel) can be made to handle the average power requirement at some speed, and the electric motor/generator is used to balance uphill and downhill grades. In a conventional car, the heat engine must be sized to handle the largest instantaneous power requirement, which is typically a steep uphill segment on a high speed road.

My wife and I drove our Honda Insight hybrid round trip from Colorado Springs to Amarillo recently (360 miles each way, 580 km) and averaged 69 miles per gallon, which is about 3,4 l/100 km or about 78 gCO2/km. We maintained, at her insistence, the speed limit (mostly 70 mph, 113 kph) and ran the air conditioning--and it was about 90 degrees (32 C).

By reducing the speed we could have achieved 70 g/km in this 1999-technology car, with no loss of comfort.

by asdf on Sat Sep 15th, 2007 at 12:10:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The conflict is probably going to be solved through company- or range-specific standards, or trading. Range-specific standards would be the best solution. I remember Verheugen saying that the premium ranges would have to make the largest sacrifices. Larger cars will have to go hybrid as a result.

What the Parliament thinks of the subject is largely irrelevant as there is a broad consensus on these options in the Commission and the Council, and the alternative to going along with their position is to drag the procedure on past 2009 or not to decide anything.

On the broader topic of cars, this blog post by Jamais Cascio is worth reading.

by nanne (zwaerdenmaecker@gmail.com) on Thu Sep 13th, 2007 at 10:13:06 AM EST


Display:
Go to: [ European Tribune Homepage : Top of page : Top of comments ]