Ralph Speth, CEO of Jaguar Land Rover (JLR), has launched fierce defence against diesel cars, and has attacked demonisation of the modern diesel engines. Speth said to Autocar UK that his company could act more in promoting modern diesel technology, adding that its continuous adoption will be critical if industry is required to meet the imposed stringent emissions legislation. Speth also believes that diesel emissions issue is one for entire transport & automotive industry and not just related to cars, as diesel is the only effective power source utilised for commercial vehicles, taxies, buses, Lorries, which are all huge contributors to air pollution, especially in major cities.
Speth emphasises on the difference between older and newer diesels, modern diesels being cleaner, and meeting the current legislation. Diesel has lumped technology- new and old- together as a whole, and has led to demonisation of technology, which Speth deems to be incorrect. Cleaner modern diesel emissions is an imperative bridging technology to ensure reduction in emissions prior to electric and hybrid cars hitting mainstream. For meeting targets of stricter legislative emissions, widespread adoption of electric and hybrid cars is necessary for the industry. However the industry seeks a shift backwards towards petrol instead.
This is not a good sign for the industry according to Speth. He said that the last point is key that European car industry is reliant on diesel cars more than anywhere else across the globe, and drifting away from them is likely to impact abilities of the continent in meeting targets. Hinting his belief on the beginning of demonisation against diesel which can be traced back to Volkswagen Dieselgate emissions scandal, Speth said that these kinds of manipulation software won’t be accepted, adding that whole automotive industry, not just Volkswagen, will unfortunately suffer.
Education must be provided on modern diesel technology, promoting its benefits. Consumers have lost belief in the automotive industry, according to Speth. They discern the automotive industry as offenders, providing wrong information. He said that the industry must depict that their technology is the best which consumers can purchase for reducing damages to environment and health. Disappearance of diesel-powered cars has no specific date, according to Speth. Internal combustion engine to autonomous combustion engine cars, electrified connected ones will take place in parallel and there will be no inclination. In addition to battery-powered electric vehicles, the industry needs to develop both petrol engines and internal combustion engines.
Battery-powered electric vehicles are the future and no other technology will be able to bring that freedom. Speth asked for British government in supporting more to battery technology development and bringing academia together for helping to achieve it. Jaguar Land Rover would be purchasing each of its battery technology from Asia, as there are no providers in the United Kingdom. It is not the JLR’s responsibility to lead and the U.K. should do more, stated Speth, academia must work on challenges of modern mobility. It is like the industry is on an island and transporting technology is much difficult to imagine.