Mercedes and others ready emissions software updates for millions of cars (AutoWeek)

"Amid plans by a number of European cities to crack down on diesel cars -- with some cities planning to ban them entirely in a matter of years -- automakers and government authorities in Germany have come up with a plan to clean up diesels through software updates. The strategy, in broad terms, is to improve existing vehicles' emissions levels by hitting more stringent pollution level targets. The plan will see domestic German and foreign cars that currently conform to Euro-5 and Euro-6 emission standards receive software updates that will cut their nitrogen oxide outputs by 20 percent on average, Reuters reports. In total, some 9 million cars will receive updates.
How will these updates actually work? The proposed software patches will allow diesel emissions systems to operate at peak efficiency under a wider range of temperatures instead of operating at peak efficiency only in a relatively narrow temperature window. (Currently most European-market diesels use emissions controls only in relatively warm temperatures, above 60 degrees). Other automakers' software patches are expected to work in a similar fashion, which explains the timing of their readiness and the ease of implementation. The voluntary updates will be free for all Mercedes owners, Daimler stated, and are expected to take an hour or so to install. "

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