AUDIO: 'Car Talk' with Sainso and Dave Moore, 21st March 2017

CAR TALK - Notes from Dave Moore, 21st March 2017

One the US’s angles on reducing emissions levels in its vehicles has been the production of Biomass sourced ethanol, for cars running on up to E85 (85 per cent ethanol). Many farmers have been enjoying the returns from such production. But what if, with lower emissions standards likely to be acceptable under Trump the ethanol is no longer needed? It would mean that farmers or speculators would need another way of using the land if it’s not to become worthless.
The answer? The establishment of a huge dairy industry, that’s what. We should be worried.

A French newspaper reports that Renault has cheated emissions testing for up to 25 years and that CEO Carlos Ghosn was probably aware of it.
La Liberation says that Renault used a device similar to those used by Volkswagen to allow its vehicles to meet nitrogen oxide (NOx) pollution regulations and says that some models polluted 300 per cent higher in real-world conditions than their test results suggested.

The report referenced by Liberation, published by the French consumer protection agency in November, says that Ghosn as well as other top executives were likely to have been aware of the wrongdoing.

The agency says that the “entire chain of command” should be held responsible but that Ghosn should be held directly accountable as “no delegation of powers had been established by Carlos Ghosn regarding the approval of engine control strategies.”

Renault, as with a number of other automakers, claims that the devices it used were legal as they were necessary for engine protection and safety. In a statement regarding this latest report, Renault said it “will not comment on a current investigation, the latter being confidential by nature and Renault having as yet no access to the case. As a consequence, Renault cannot confirm the veracity, completeness and reliability of the information published in [the] article.”

Honda seems to be having severe problems with its Formula One engine program. Early testing with the new McLaren F1 car have been plagued by problems. But it’s a different story in the IndyCar series. Yesterday Sebastien Bourdais took his Honda powered Indycar from last to first at the opening race of the series, the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg in Florida. In fact, Honda took 7 of the top 10 positions. That signals a good start for Honda. Last year, Chevrolet won 14 of the 16 races in the series.

We know their roads are better than ours, but the UK road network isn’t up to running driverless vehicles, said the boss of the Road Haulage Association.
Road Haulage Association’s Rod McKenzie speaking on BBC Radio said, “The haulage industry is increasingly IT led and we embrace technology – but not at the expense of safety or practicality. The experts have it all to prove as far as we are concerned. All road users – not just transport operators have to be OK with this. We’re not there yet but we are talking to the truck manufacturers and the Centre for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles and are following it all with keen interest and a healthy dose of caution.”
Incomplete GPS areas and data provision which are essential for uninterrupted operation of driverless cars were also cited.

German prosecutors have raided Audi and Volkswagen offices as investigations continue into the rigging of emission results in the US.
The VW Group last week admitted it had acted illegally in the US, but the latest action suggests it’s a new line of enquiry with Audi this time, although it does not involved models in the UK or Europe, according to Automotive News Europe.

Despite all its problems Volkswagen Group now suggests it may have some sort of tie-up with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles or another company. This follows the acquisition of Opel/ Vauxhall by PSA Peugeot Citroen and the continuing drain on VW caused by the emissions compensation agreements, reports Reuters.
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