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Volkswagen, BMW and Mercedes halt some PHEV sales in Germany

It looks like the EU's new WLTP emissions tests are throwing a big wrench in their works.

The BMW X5 xDrive45e iPerformance (in addition to having the most ridiculous German car name ever) could have some trouble with the new WLTP tests changing what kinds of tax credits its eligible for.


Earlier in September, we reported that half of Volkswagen's model range was currently unready to go through the European Union's new Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicle Test Procedure (WLTP). Well, it looks like VW isn't the only European manufacturer with WLTP troubles because, as Reuters reported on Thursday, Mercedes-Benz and BMW are halting sales on some of their plug-in hybrid models.

Specifically, WLPT gives higher CO2 readings than the older New European Driving Cycle (NEDC) did, and that is causing issues with ultralow emissions vehicle tax credits. Adjusting vehicles to fit the new testing method takes time and money, things that most car makers weren't prepared for.

One option to fix the underperforming PHEV's would be to fit larger battery packs to minimize the amount of time the vehicles are running on their internal combustion engines. Another would be to retune the internal combustion engines, but given how finely major automakers tune the cars from the start, there's likely not much left on the table when it comes to further emissions improvements.

Given the German auto industry's troubles of late with meeting the older emissions targets, we're guessing there are a lot of tense meetings going on in Wolfsburg, Munich and Stuttgart right now.