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German environmental groups start “No Diesel Without Filter” campaign

6 December 2002

A coalition of German environmental organizations has started a “No Diesel Without Filter” campaign, calling on auto manufacturers to voluntarily fit diesel particulate filters (DPF) on all passenger cars sold in Germany. The group also called on the government to introduce tax incentives stimulating market introduction of DPF equipped cars.

The coalition is headed by an organization named “Deutsche Umwelthilfe” and includes a number of other environmental and public health groups. The technical expertise needed in the campaign will be provided by the Allgemeine Deutsche Automobilclub (ADAC - the German Automobile Club).

All new cars should be fitted with DPFs or equivalent PM reduction technologies effective 1 July 2003, said the group. For existing vehicles, retrofit DPF kits should be developed. A tax incentive program was envisioned, where a tax credit of €300 would be granted for new DPF equipped cars and of €600 for retrofits, also effective 1 July 2003. The group called upon car manufacturers to respond and state their position on the DPF issue by 20 December 2002.

While, considering the development cycle of automotive powertrains, the above deadlines cannot be considered realistic, the campaign puts additional pressure on German carmakers to reconsider the DPF issue and may provide a market advantage for diesel cars with Peugeot engines which are already fitted with filters. The campaign explicitly commended those Peugeot, Citroen and Fiat vehicles which come equipped with DPFs. German manufacturers were criticized for their unwillingness to voluntarily introduce particulate filters on their cars.

Support for DPF technology has been long expressed by the German Environmental Protection Agency (Umweltbundesamt - UBA), which was involved in a 80,000 km test of a DPF equipped Peugeot vehicle performed last year by ADAC. The test concluded that the filter provided high reduction of particulate emissions with no negative impact on the engine or its performance.

Today’s diesel engine technology makes it possible to meet the current Euro 3 emission standards (PM = 0.05 g/km) without the use of DPFs. The coming Euro 4 (2005) standard of 0.025 g/km is likely to trigger the use of filters on larger cars, above approximately 1400-1700 kg. Only the Euro 5 standard (around 2008), not yet adopted or proposed, is anticipated to force the use of diesel particulate filters or equivalent technologies on all new diesel cars.

Source: Deutsche Umwelthilfe