Porsche is amongst a group of manufacturers who have issued voluntary recalls for a total of 630,000 vehicles across Germany to address irregularities with diesel emissions systems, after being listed as real-world emissions offenders by the German goverment.
Porsche sells a variety of diesel engines in the Macan and Cayenne SUVs: two model lines which now make up 70% of all Porsche sales. The Cayenne Diesel’s 3-litre V6 Turbodiesel produces 262 hp at 4,000 rpm and the Cayenne S Diesel’s 4.2-litre V8 Turbodiesel produces 385 hp at 3,750 rpm. Both are EU6 compliant. The TDI option in the Porsche Macan S Diesel is the 3-litre V6 making 254 hp at 4,250 rpm and a collosal 580Nm of torque from 1,500-2,500 rpm. This Porsche Macan diesel engine is now subject to emissions recall in Germany.
Cayenne Diesel pulled from US sale by Porsche Cars North America
No mention has been made of the Cayenne’s V6 TDI, which achieves the same excellent torque output, but which Porsche Cars North America voluntarily removed from sale at the end of last year, after it received a notice of violation from the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regarding the 2015 Porsche Cayenne Diesel. Audi declined to follow Porsche’s example and left all of its 3.0 V6 TDI models on sale.
Figures shared by Autocar magazine says that the recall includes 32,000 Macan diesels. As in the case of the VW diesel issue, early murmurs on Macan forums suggest that a number of owners will not have their cars corrected. This is despite a series of tests carried out by ADAC in Germany which show that the Porsche Macan S Diesel emits over four times more NOx in the “real-world” WLTC emissions test versus the the NEDC test used by EU officials.
Australia sues over Porsche 3-litre diesel emissions
Since the dieselgate emissions scandal broke, Volkwagen has repeatedly claimed that its 3-litre V6 TDI engines are clean and compliant, despite the engine’s withdrawal from sale in the US. Despite these assertions, Australian lawyers representing more than 13,000 VW owners in a class action suit covering almost 100,000 VW diesel cars sold in Australia from 2009 to 2016 added the 3.0 V6 TDI to its lawsuit at the end of 2015.
“Volkswagen has made denials that have subsequently proven to be untrue every step of the way,” said class actions lawyer, Jason Geisker. “It denied the initial test results that uncovered this global scandal and also denied that its 3.0-litre vehicles sold in the USA were affected, before later admitting that these engines did have defeat devices fitted.”
NOx Emissions causing 50,000 premature UK deaths per annum
The latest emissions recalls in Germany are based around how emissions outputs are recirculated ‘post-treatment’, with some manufacturer systems venting them to air above a certain ambient temperature, rather than pumping them back into the engine. Manufacturers including Alfa Romeo, Chevrolet, Fiat, Ford, Range Rover, Mercedes-Benz and Renault are also implicated. So far only Audi and Opel/GM have stated that they will apply the updates on every affected car in Europe.
The official line is that no single authority is forcing Porsche and these other manufacturers to bring their most heavily polluting diesels back and sort out their emissions systems, but it is impossible to believe that manufacturers would spend money to do this voluntarily. Given that WHO research data now suggests that NOx emissions cause as many as 50,000 premature deaths per year in the UK alone, there is also a question mark over the actions of VW, Porsche and other marque owners who choose not to have the software corrections applied to reduce the NOx emissions of their vehicles.
Owners opting not to apply emissions-reducing software fixes
Owners who choose not to apply software that reduces poisonous gas emissions from their vehicle tailpipes are breathing the same air as everyone else, but justify overlooking these excessive emissions by claiming that the software updates would make their cars less powerful and damage engine internals. The fact that the recall has been left as voluntary by the German authorities means that the manufacturers can sidestep their legal responsibilties to reducing air pollutants, while also claiming that owners have not been disadvantaged and do not deserve compensation, as they like how their cars work. All that money spent on political lobbyists by car manufacturers across the EU this continues to pay off, but meanwhile, children are forced to breathe highly polluted air.
You may regard this as an overdramatisation, but a 2010 exercise to monitor London’s air pollution illustrated the scale of the emissions problem most effectively, when the UK capital used up its annual allowance for NO2 emissions in the first three weeks of measuring. A 52-week allowance used up in three weeks, and diesel engines that are now an average of nine times more polluting against permitted standards means there is no excuse for owners of affected vehicles to sidestep the emissions fixes.
We are still in the early days of this emissions scandal. There can be no doubt that diesel engines and car manufacturing as a whole will face a lot more scrutiny in the months ahead – unless the industry hires even more lobbyists.