Policy & Politics

Published on February 12th, 2017 | by James Ayre

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France’s PSA Group Referred To Prosecutors Over Suspected Diesel Emissions Testing Fraud

February 12th, 2017 by  

The France-based auto manufacturer PSA Group has been referred to prosecutors for suspected diesel emissions testing cheating fraud, according to recent reports. The news follows earlier reports that fellow French firm Renault has been referred to prosecutors for suspected criminal activity as well.

PSA Group, for those not too familiar with the company, is the manufacturer of Peugeot, Citroen, and DS brand vehicles. It’s a major manufacturer in Europe, though far lesser known elsewhere.

In response to the news, the company’s execs did the usual loud denials to reporters. The firm’s engineering chief Gilles Le Borgne stated: “We are extremely surprised, even shocked by this decision.” He then went on to note that the firm denies using banned defeat devices in its diesel vehicles.

“PSA is the fourth carmaker to be referred for possible prosecution by France’s consumer fraud agency, after Volkswagen, Renault, and Fiat Chrysler,” Reuters notes.

“Following VW’s exposure in 2015 for US diesel test-cheating, several European countries launched their own investigative test programs.

“They found on-road nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions more than 10 times above regulatory limits — for some GM, Renault and Fiat models — and widespread use of devices that reduce exhaust treatment in some conditions.”

Though, PSA does stand out for using relatively costly tech to cut its diesel emissions. “PSA diesels under the current Euro 6 standard have cleaner emissions than many mass-market rivals, thanks to their deployment of costly selective catalytic reduction (SCR) as standard,” the news agency notes. However, PSA doesn’t seem to have 100% clean hands. Well, maybe.

“But in a government-backed testing program last year, 5 PSA vehicles of the last Euro 5 diesel generation emitted significantly higher NOx in motorway driving conditions when engine temperatures were increased.

“By design, the cars’ so-called EGR emissions treatment is deliberately reduced at higher temperatures to improve fuel efficiency and carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions in out-of-town driving, where NOx and particle output is less critical, Le Borgne said.”

Commenting further on the news, Le Borgne stated: “We don’t know what more we could have done.”

Very possibly, nothing — “clean diesels” have always been a scam, after all. That doesn’t excuse the companies involved from selling vehicles that emit far more NOx than they are legally “allowed to,” though. And that doesn’t undo the great damage done to public health in the regions where such diesel vehicles are commonly used.


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About the Author

's background is predominantly in geopolitics and history, but he has an obsessive interest in pretty much everything. After an early life spent in the Imperial Free City of Dortmund, James followed the river Ruhr to Cofbuokheim, where he attended the University of Astnide. And where he also briefly considered entering the coal mining business. He currently writes for a living, on a broad variety of subjects, ranging from science, to politics, to military history, to renewable energy. You can follow his work on Google+.



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