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VW to clean petrol particulates by 90 per cent

First up: Volkswagen’s new-generation Tiguan will be one of the first models to get a particulate filter on its petrol engine.

Particulate filters to be fitted to millions of VW Group petrol cars from 2017

23 Jun 2016

VOLKSWAGEN has announced it will cut particulate emissions from its new-generation petrol engines by up to 90 per cent from next year by fitting diesel-style particulate filters on the exhaust systems.

To be phased in on new models, the company aims to produce up to seven million vehicles a year with the technology by 2022, at the same time cleaning up its tarnished image in the wake of the diesel cheat device scandal.

However, it is unclear if the super-clean engines will be applied in Australia on the group’s VW, Audi, Skoda and Lamborghini cars, as this country’s notoriously variable petrol quality might not work with the new technology.

Volkswagen Group Australia is awaiting clarification of the move that was announced in Germany overnight by Volkswagen AG CEO Matthias Mueller at the annual shareholders meeting.

Mr Mueller also reiterated plans for a major “electrification initiative second to none in the industry”, as well as programs to pursue autonomous driving, digitalisation and new business fields such as mobility services.

Particulate filters effectively scrub exhaust emissions by trapping tiny particles of carbon and other solids that, according to some research, can be carcinogenic in smog-bound cities.

Such filters have been used to good effect to clean up diesel engines, but VW is the first to apply the technology en masse to petrol engines that are already clean by diesel standards.

Mr Mueller said the filters would be applied to VW Group’s TSI and TFSI engines, starting with the new 1.4-litre turbocharged TSI engine in the upcoming new-generation VW Tiguan and Audi’s latest A5 next year.

This engine is one of the core powerplants for the company’s massive range, and it is certain to be applied across more models such as the Golf, Polo and A3, among others.

 center imageLeft: Volkswagen CEO Matthias Mueller.

“We are also continuing our intensive efforts to enhance the environmental compatibility of our diesel and gasoline models,” Mr Meuller said. “We will successively equip the group's new TSI and TFSI engines with gasoline particulate filters.

“This initiative will begin with the 1.4-litre TSI engine in the new VW Tiguan and the Audi A5 in June 2017. This will reduce particulate emissions by up to 90 percent. Up to seven million Volkswagen vehicles could be equipped with this technology each year by 2022.”

The initiative is part of Volkswagen’s Together – Strategy 2025 that is designed to get Europe’s biggest car-maker back on track as a technology leader over the next decade.

Mr Mueller, who was brought in from Porsche to replace previous boss Martin Winterkorn in the wake of the dieselgate scandal, has set out to regain public trust with initiatives such as independent emissions and fuel consumption testing and more transparency in corporate moves.

However, initiatives such the particulate filter for petrol cars could be dependent on reliable fuel quality that is available in Europe but not in Australia.

Here, several motor companies and the umbrella organisation for the industry, the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI), have called on the federal government to mandate national fuel standards to enable cleaner engines.

As GoAuto reported last month, Mazda, Hyundai, Toyota and Mercedes-Benz are among manufacturers calling for a cut in petrol’s sulphur content so Australian cars can meet emissions targets comparable with those in Europe and United States.

The move would eliminate regular unleaded (91RON) petrol, which is currently rated at 150 parts per million of sulphur, while premium unleaded (95RON) currently at 50ppm sulphur would require a reduction to 10ppm in line with the EU, Japan, South Korea and, from next year, the US.

The subject is on the agenda of the federal government which raised the issue in the Vehicle Emissions Discussion Paper released in February and called for submissions from interested parties.

An interdepartmental working group is due to report to the ministerial forum this month.

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