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ICE is here for a long time to come says Ivor Searle - 22.10.2018

Despite all the anti-diesel rhetoric since the ‘Dieselgate’ scandal of 2015, leading reman engine specialist, Ivor Searle, contends that the internal combustion engine (ICE) still has a positive future.VMAX_day_2009-_Engine_cutaway,_side.jpg

More than a century ago, Rudolf Diesel formulated a fuel that was found to be more energy-efficient than burning petrol with the potential to deliver improved fuel economy and lower CO2 emissions.
Fast forward to the 1990s and the advent of common-rail diesel injection paved the way for car manufacturers to launch hundreds of new models in every segment, including high performance variants, which offered huge torque and stayed on the road longer between fill ups. In effect, the motoring public fell in love with diesel, as did company fleet managers.
In 1997, the UK joined almost 200 countries in signing the Kyoto Protocol as part of a worldwide pledge to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 2012, the main offender being carbon dioxide. In order to deliver on the agreement, the UK government introduced new vehicle excise duties in 2001 that made diesels more tax efficient due to their lower CO2 emissions.
As a result of these tax breaks, diesel’s perceived reputation as offering a more environmentally friendly vehicle that would cost less to run transformed the new car and fleet markets. Consequently, DERV registrations soared from just a 19% share of the car parc to eventually outstripping petrol sales, peaking in 2011 with 56% of the new car market.
For the next few years, manufacturers reveled in the popularity of diesel-fueled models with yet more models introduced and the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traded took great pride in announcing record registrations year-on-year.
In the background, however, rumblings in the medical fraternity regarding the health risks of diesel began to surface. Warnings about the higher levels of nitrogen oxides and particulate matter being emitted were met with manufacturer responses regarding the benefits of catalytic converters in removing noxious pollutants from exhaust emissions.
The issue secured global headlines in 2015 when the US Environmental Protection Agency discovered that Volkswagen had deliberately installed defeat software into diesel engine models to cheat the emissions testing procedure. Dubbed ‘Dieselgate’, the scandal engulfed the global motor industry, resulting in billions lost to lawsuits and penalties, as well as recalls of more than 11 million affected vehicles and a major fall from grace of one of the world’s biggest manufacturers per se.
'Dieselgate', the fall-out of which is still being felt, sent sales of diesels spiraling downwards. It sparked a wholesale policy U-turn within European governments, which were quick to abandon the fuel’s economic benefits and instead castigate the car industry for deceiving the public. Cities across Europe planned measures to ban diesels in order to improve air quality. From April 2019, a strengthening of London’s Ultra Low Emissions Zone (ULEZ) will mean that diesels not meeting Euro 6 regulations will be subject to a toxicity or ‘T-Charge’ on top of the Congestion Charge. Previous tax perks are also disappearing. Since April 2018, first-year vehicle excise duty (VED) has jumped up one band for diesels and the company car tax surcharge has increased to 4%.
So, does this mean the end is nigh for diesel?
Not exactly. Britain’s oil-dependent infrastructure and the sheer volume of diesel vehicles on the road, some 14 million cars, vans and lorries, means that the country simply cannot phase out diesel quickly, even if sales were to stop overnight. The latest generation, Euro 6 compliant diesel engines are the cleanest so far produced, featuring exhaust after-treatment technology such as AdBlue and diesel particulate filters (DPFs) which filter out soot particulates and nitrogen oxides (NOx) that have been linked to ill health. Further legislation in the shape of Euro 7 will continue to impose more stringent emissions controls on fossil-fueled vehicles, so diesel is expected to remain very much a part of the energy mix and car industry experts agree that motorists doing 20,000+ miles a year, the majority of which is motorway driving, will remain better off choosing a diesel car.
The government’s pledge to phase out ICE new car sales entirely by 2040 would mean that public appetite for zero emission vehicles would have to grow in the order of 17,000% within a decade, which seems wholly unlikely. The reality is that most economies will still rely on fossil fuels for decades to come and most car makers agree that ICE will still make up around 75% of sales even by the middle of the next decade.
Engine reman specialist, Ivor Searle, has been at the forefront of engine remanufacturing for over 70 years and is a leading producer of remanufactured diesel and petrol engines,  reman turbos, reman gearboxes and remanufactured cylinder heads. Based in Cambridgeshire, the business can deliver remanufactured engines, cylinder heads, gearboxes and turbochargers costing 40% less than new OE units with next day delivery of stocked items.

Filed under: Ivor Searle reman gearbox, reman engines, reman turbos