Jaguar Boss Says That Diesels Are Part Of The Solution To Pollution


That goes against most diesel-related headlines we've seen in the past two years.

Just like world hunger and the conflict in the Middle East, nobody thinks solving the many problems posed by pollution is going to be easy. And just like the previous two issues, there are many opinions on how to solve pollution, but Jaguar’s UK managing director Jeremy Hicks seems to think that diesel is one way to solve the problem, not exacerbate it, according to what he told Autocar in a recent interview. In case you've been under a rock for the past few years, his thinking runs counter to how diesel is currently portrayed.

One by one, cities around Europe are either banning or thinking about banning cars with diesel engines in response to accusations that they pollute too much compared to their gasoline counterparts. And then there was the mother of all cases that got that ball rolling in the first place: Volkswagen’s Dieselgate scandal. Little by little, it’s been starting to look like diesel, already a rarity in the US, would be brought to its knees in Europe and eventually around the world once its dirty nature was fully exposed. Not so fast, claims Hicks. “Half of car drivers think that road transport is most responsible for urban pollution. That is not true,” said Hicks. “For example, commercial and household properties produce more than half of the particulates polluting our cities.”

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He alleges that our collective ignorance on the issue of pollution spills over into public perception of diesels. “More than half of drivers don’t know what Euro 6 standards means. Almost a third don’t know whether the Co2 emissions we want to curb should be attributed to petrol or diesel engines. It is the same when it comes to Nox,” says Hicks. In his eyes, the technology is far more advanced than we’ve been led to believe by alarmist headlines. “There has been a seismic shift in diesel technology, almost eliminating NOx. Nobody is trying to ban Euro 6 engines in London, or Stuttgart, or other cities looking to cut pollution to be fair, but the impression is being given that all diesels are the same - and it causes confusion and creates false impressions.”

To Hicks, putting off the purchase of a diesel to save the environment is idiotic. He says, “Here is the truth: if you care about air quality in our cities there is nothing wrong with buying a modern diesel car.” Of course, the man has a bias. Jaguar Land Rover recently spent $1.68 billion on a new Engine Manufacturing Center that specializes in both gasoline and diesel versions of the Ingenium engines found under Jaguars and Land Rovers around the world. But before we go about accusing Hicks of skewing data in his favor, it’s worth noting he’s right about one thing: the fact that automakers need to be a part of the solution rather than the villains in this story. The I-Pace is proof automakers are already far into that quest.