Annual Report 2017

Clean air

New RDE emission legislation

In order to more accurately correlate exhaust gas emissions from real-life driving operation with the threshold values of the test cycle, a new mandatory testing process has been introduced in Europe. Since the introduction of the Real Driving Emissions (RDE) test procedure in September 2017, vehicles must, among other things, have the number of particulates and the concentration of nitrogen oxides determined with the help of a mobile emission measurement system. The new testing process supplements the mandatory exhaust gas tests that are still conducted on test rigs.

The RDE threshold values have applied since September 2017 to newly registered vehicle models. Starting in September 2019, they will apply to all new vehicles. During the first stage, the Euro 6 threshold value for certification may be exceeded by a factor of 2.1. During the second stage, which will start in September 2020 or 2021, the Euro 6 threshold value may be exceeded by a factor of 1.5.

High tech against pollutants

Our goal is to fulfill emission requirements as far in advance as possible and to reduce potential risks for humans and environment. In order to comply with the tougher requirements of the RDE regulations, we have had to make, and are still making, extensive changes, at considerable expense, to the drivetrains of our vehicles. Especially significant in this regard is the exhaust gas aftertreatment near the engine. In the past, for most of the vehicle models of many manufacturers, catalytic converters and diesel particulate filter (DPF) systems were mounted on the underbody of the vehicle, relatively far from the engine. In the new Mercedes-Benz diesel engines, we have successfully managed to position the entire exhaust gas aftertreatment system extremely close to the engine. As a result, the system is heated up very rapidly and doesn’t quickly cool off. As a result, the working temperature needed by the system is reached considerably faster. This enables more effective exhaust gas aftertreatment and significantly reduces the NOx emissions in stationary testing situations and also in the RDE testing procedure in real-life driving operation.

As early as 2016, Mercedes-Benz began offering diesel vehicles that were able to meet the Real Driving Emissions (RDE) limit values long before they went into effect in the EU in 2017. This achievement was made possible by an all-new modular family of efficient and low-emission diesel engines. In the future, this modular engine family will be utilized across the entire product range of Mercedes-Benz Cars and also at Mercedes-Benz Vans. The first engines of this family — the four-cylinder OM654 and the six-cylinder OM656 — are already on the road. The new engines’ exemplary emission values have also been validated by measurements conducted at independent institutes.

Plan for the future of diesel vehicles

We are convinced that diesel engines will continue to be an integral part of the drive-system mix, not least due to their low CO2 emissions. For this reason, the Daimler Board of Management approved a comprehensive plan for the future of diesel engines in July 2017. The plan calls for a massive expansion of the previously introduced voluntary service measures for vehicles already in customers’ hands, as well as the rapid market launch of a completely new diesel engine family. As early as March 2017, Mercedes-Benz began offering its compact-class customers an improvement in NOX emissions for one engine variant. The company is also carrying out voluntary service measures for V-Class customers. In order to effectively lower the emissions of other model series, we decided in July 2017 to extend the service measures, which are free of charge for our customers, to encompass more than three million Mercedes-Benz vehicles at a cost of approximately €285 million. The measures are being carried out for most Euro 5 and Euro 6 vehicles in Europe and other markets in close cooperation with vehicle registration authorities.

Additional measures were added to this initiative for better air quality following a summit meeting between the government and the automotive industry in Berlin in August 2017. In order to modernize the fleet of vehicles on the road effectively, we are offering owners of Euro 1 to Euro 4 diesel cars an “environment bonus” of €2,000 if they trade in their vehicles for a new Euro 6 diesel-powered car or a plug-in hybrid from Mercedes-Benz. We are also supporting the introduction of vehicles that meet the stricter emission limits of the RDE testing procedure.

Daimler is participating in the mobility fund that has been jointly launched by the German government and German industry, in line with our company’s market share. This fund will primarily be used to finance measures that improve traffic flows in inner cities.

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