Diesel can resume its success story following a major breakthrough in diesel technology, claimed Bosch CEO Dr Volkmar Denner, at the company’s annual press conference

this week. “There’s a future for diesel,” he said. “Today, we want to put a stop once and for all to the debate about the demise of diesel technology.”

He revealed that new developments from Bosch could enable vehicle manufacturers to reduce emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOx) so drastically that they already comply with future limits. He said Bosch engineers achieved these results by refining existing technologies, with no need for additional components, which would drive up costs.

“With this new exhaust technology, blanket driving bans in the centres of the world’s major cities will no longer be an issue. Why? Because we now have the technology to resolve the problem of nitrogen oxides in road traffic. Diesel can now resume its success story.

“Bosch is pushing the boundaries of what is technically feasible,” Denner said. “Equipped with the latest Bosch technology, diesel vehicles will be classed as low-emission vehicles and yet remain affordable.”

He said it was diesel’s critics that particularly spurred the company’s engineers on. "Their results are plainly visible, or better yet, measurable. Bosch technology allows today’s real diesel emissions to fall far below the legal limits due to take effect in 2020. This is the technology that Bosch stands for: ‘invented for life’, not for the lab.”

The Bosch CEO also called for greater transparency with regard to the CO2 emissions caused by road traffic, and called for fuel consumption and thus CO2 emissions to also be measured under real conditions on the road in future.

Since 2017, European legislation has required that new passenger car models tested according to an RDE-compliant mix of urban, extra-urban, and freeway cycles emit no more than 168 milligrams of NOx per kilometer. As of 2020, this limit will be cut to 120 milligrams. But even today, Denner said vehicles equipped with Bosch diesel technology can achieve as little as 13 milligrams of NOx in standard legally-compliant RDE cycles - around one-tenth of the prescribed limit that will apply after 2020.

And even when driving in particularly challenging urban conditions, where test parameters are well in excess of legal requirements, he said the average emissions of the Bosch test vehicles are as low as 40 milligrams per kilometer.

Bosch engineers achieved this decisive breakthrough over the past few months. A combination of advanced fuel-injection technology, a newly developed air management system, and intelligent temperature management has made such low readings possible, according to Bosch. NOx emissions can now remain below the legally permitted level in all driving situations, irrespective of whether the vehicle is driven dynamically or slowly, in freezing conditions or in summer temperatures, on the freeway or in congested city traffic.

“Diesel will remain an option in urban traffic whether drivers are tradespeople or commuters,” stressed Denner.

Bosch delivered proof of this innovative advance at a major press event in Stuttgart. Dozens of journalists, from both Germany and abroad, had the opportunity to drive test vehicles equipped with mobile measuring equipment in heavy city traffic, under especially challenging conditions.

Even with this technological advance, Bosch believes the diesel engine has not yet reached its full development potential. The company aims to use artificial intelligence to build on these latest advances, marking another step toward a major landmark: the development of a combustion engine that – with the exception of CO2 – has virtually no impact on the ambient air.

“We firmly believe that the diesel engine will continue to play an important role in the options for future mobility. Until electromobility breaks through to the mass market, we will still need these highly efficient combustion engines,” Denner said. His ambitious target for Bosch engineers is the development of a new generation of diesel and gasoline engines that produce no significant particulate or NOx emissions.