'Diesel is going to be with us well beyond 2025' - Expert
The whole argument around diesel is in danger of being mired in political interests rather than solid argument, one of the world's leading planning and strategy experts claims.
Johannes Reifenrath is head of Mercedes-Benz cars product strategy and planning.
He is responsible for the manner in which many of today's Mercedes vehicles have evolved.
More importantly, he is already looking at what we will be using as our means of transport between 2025 and 2039.
And he is convinced, even at this remove, that diesel will play a key role well into that future.
"Diesel is still the most efficient combustion engine," he told me in Stuttgart last week as his company rolled out the latest examples of electrified models.
Given his pivotal position as a senior strategist, his words carry extra weight when he says: "Diesel is going to be (with us) for a long, long time."
"We are talking well beyond 2025."
He said there should be "no reason" for it not to continue as a stalwart of transport.
But he fears the impact of political expediency and how that can cloud proper assessment of the fuel and what it can achieve.
"All the discussions should be based on solid arguments, not on political interest. We have excellent diesels right now," he said.
Of course, he has a vested interest. Mercedes has invested billions in developing a whole new family of engines that, he pointed out, are still improving.
By the same token, if Mercedes is planning on diesel being a big part of its future, it is unlikely it has taken the step lightly.
"I truly believe in the diesel engine. We should not discard something for no reason," Mr Reifenrath said.
I asked him what he thought of the plan in Ireland to have all cars driven solely by electric power by 2030. He diplomatically answered along more global lines, citing India as an example of total unpreparedness for electric cars, but did say: "I hope politicians see sense. What we do has to make sense."
Looking further into the future than most people get the chance to do, Mr Reifenrath said his work post-2025 was "many worlds away" from what the firm will be making for the next seven or eight years.
Changes to 2039 will be vastly different and more dramatic than we've experienced to date, he indicated.
"Change in the past has been evolutionary. What is coming will be revolutionary," he added.
But it still appears to have a place for diesel.