Clean air

Target

In addition to climate protection, the improvement of inner-city air quality will continue to be an important environmental consideration in the future. Traffic still accounts for a considerable share of nitrogen oxide pollution near roads. Our fundamental goal is to fulfill emission requirements as far in advance as possible and to reduce potential risks for human beings and the environment.

Measures

Cutting-edge technologies are enabling us to steadily reduce the pollutant emissions of our cars and commercial vehicles. In doing so, we have set our sights not only on conventional gasoline and diesel engines but also on hybrid vehicles that combine conventional and electric drive technologies.

The introduction of the new diesel engine families consisting of the OM654, the OM656 and the OM608, as well as the increasing electrification of drive systems, will greatly help us to reach the emission targets.

Our plan for the future of diesel engines also includes the development of software updates for a total of more than three million vehicles owned by customers — significantly more than one million of which are in Germany. With the updates, we are improving the NOx emission performance of our vehicles under real driving conditions by an average of 25 to 30 %. Verification is with the use of the measuring cycles approved by the authorities (WLTC 1, 2, 3).

After talks with the German Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure (BMVI) in June 2018 and by order of the German Federal Motor Transport Authority (KBA), Daimler is carrying out a mandatory recall of approximately 690,000 vehicles in Europe (including approximately 280,000 in Germany). The great majority of these vehicles were already covered by Daimler’s program of voluntary service measures announced in July 2017. These measures are being implemented in close cooperation with Germany’s vehicle registration agencies.

Daimler supports the German federal government’s concept for clean air and the safeguarding of individual mobility. By means of an attractive incentive program in the defined priority regions, we are accelerating the renewal of the vehicle fleet. In this way, Daimler is making a significant contribution to the German government’s concept in order to avoid any disadvantages for drivers of diesel-powered cars.

Following the coalition decision, in early October 2018, Daimler also announced its intention to participate in a hardware retrofit program for diesel vehicles in the defined priority regions as part of the German government’s concept for clean air and the safeguading of individual mobility. Within this context, Daimler is prepared to cover the cost of a hardware retrofitting up to a maximum value of €3,000 for Mercedes-Benz customers with Euro 5 diesel vehicles in the defined priority regions. The retrofitting must be developed and offered by a third-party supplier and approved by the German Federal Motor Transport Authority (KBA). In addition, it must demonstrably authorize entry into certain cities, including driving on roads affected by the driving ban. Daimler’s aim is to promote the interests of its customers by creating transparency as to which hardware solutions third-party suppliers can offer, and when.

Increasing the mobility fund. We have significantly increased our planned contribution to the “Immediate Action Program for Clean Air,” which was agreed on at the National Forum Diesel in August 2017. Together with BMW and Volkswagen, we are now providing the automobile industry’s entire share of the funding.

Local measures. With regard to the local measures, Daimler is focusing in particular on Stuttgart. For example, we are subsidizing our employees’ use of public transport, such as the commuter train, streetcar and bus networks, to get to work. Thanks to Daimler’s coverage of the costs, since January 2018 the Group’s employees have been able to use local public transportation free of charge to travel between their homes and workplaces in the Stuttgart region on particulate alert days.

In order to assess the effects of modern diesel engines in the fleet and to factor in possible future driving bans, we have commissioned a calculation of future air quality scenarios at Neckartor in Stuttgart, together with the Robert Bosch company and in close cooperation with the Stuttgart city government and the responsible federal state ministries. An advisory committee of recognized experts and university professors supported the study, which was conducted by the Aviso company. According to the scenarios of the study, the limits will probably not be reached at Neckartor by 2020. But - depending on the package of measures implemented - the limit of 40 micrograms per cubic meter of ambient air is expected to be permanently met between 2020 and 2025.

Result

Mercedes-Benz vehicles powered by the new diesel engines (OM 654, OM 656 and OM 608) emit between 40 and 60 milligrams of nitrogen oxide (NOX) on average — during thousands of kilometers of driving on the road and under the conditions specified by the Real Driving Emissions (RDE) test. These figures are significantly lower than the current RDE emissions limit of 80 milligrams per kilometer multiplied by the correlation factor 2.1 (Level 1). The correlation factor was determined by an EU regulation to cover the usually higher nitrogen-oxide emissions in real operation for new vehicle types until the end of 2019.

The lower values are made possible by an innovative overall package consisting of the engine and the exhaust aftertreatment system. This package was launched with the new engine generation in 2016 and is being continually enhanced. The very good results have been repeatedly confirmed in road tests by organizations such as DEKRA and TÜV, as well as by various trade magazines.

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