Emissions scandal is accelerating shift to zero emissions vehicles

September 13, 2016

The diesel emissions crisis will drive Europe to the mass introduction of electric vehicles more quickly than expected, a European commissioner has revealed. Elżbieta Bieńkowska, commissioner for internal market, industry, entrepreneurship and SMEs, told MEPs that legislation to drive change was being produced and moved through the political process more swiftly because legislators are more willing to take action as a result of the ‘Dieselgate’ crisis. She said: “The emissions scandal offers Europe an opportunity to move to a new car industry, a new era of mobility, a car industry based on zero emissions, automated and connected driving. We have big decisions to take about possible alternatives to today’s diesels and petrol cars and we need to make these choices now and urgently.” Bieńkowska also warned that she suspected more manufacturers of using ‘defeat devices’, in addition to Volkswagen which admitted using them last year. Volkswagen’s experience shows that any successful investigation is likely to lead to a sharp drop in the manufacturer’s share price and lower residual values for affected vehicles in the months following any announcement. Bieńkowska added: “The detection of defeat devices is the job of national market surveillance authorities. I have doubts about the practices of some other car manufacturers and I will continue to push until we have all the information and responses from member states. I will not shy away from all of the tools in our enforcement system.” As early as next month, the EU could take legal action against member states that it believes are failing to make car manufacturers follow emissions rules.

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