Porsche has become the first German automobile brand to abandon diesel fuels. In a press release, the company indicated that it wanted to focus more of its efforts on hybrid and electric cars.
Oliver Blume, Porsche’s CEO, said that diesel remained an important technology, but said that it was largely secondary in the realm of sports cars, and noted that demand for diesel vehicles had been falling for some time.
“Porsche is not demonizing diesel. It is, and will remain, an important propulsion technology,” Blume said. “We as a sports car manufacturer, however, for whom diesel has always played a secondary role, have come to the conclusion that we would like our future to be diesel-free. Naturally we will continue to look after our existing diesel customers with the professionalism they expect.”
While Porsche might not have anything against diesel cars, it is clear that sales figures have been falling for some time. A report from Automotive News Europe notes that diesel sales have fallen in recent years. In Porsche’s home country of Germany, diesel sales fell to a decade-low of 38 percent. Traditional gasoline-powered cars make up about 58 percent of the market. Alternative options, such as hybrids or electric cars, are doubling or tripling in volume, but remain at a smaller share than the other options.
It’s worth noting that many of diesel’s woes may come down to politics. The EU has imposed stricter environmental regulations regarding diesel vehicles. Auto manufacturers have pushed back against these rules arguing that they are too broad. Car manufacturers concede that older diesel vehicles do have problems, but argue that they can be improved, whereas newer diesel vehicles are more environmentally friendly.
However, a study which was recently released by The International Council on Clean Transportation has demonstrated that diesel cars fail to meet the EU’s emission standards. Their study found that the even the most efficient diesel cars were “more than twice the type-approval limits.” Less efficient models were as much as 18 times the approved limit.
Regardless of the reasoning, Porsche’s decision to end diesel cars may prompt other companies to do the same. On the other hand, a hole in the market could provide an opening for competitors, so diesel fans will likely have some options for the time being.