Daimler halts truck engine deliveries on emissions concerns

Daimler is under scrutiny over how its diesel car engines use a urea nitrate additive called AdBlue, to neutralize emissions of nitrogen oxide, which can contribute to the formation of harmful smog and ozone. (Reuters)
Updated 08 July 2018

Daimler halts truck engine deliveries on emissions concerns

FRANKFURT: Germany’s Daimler has temporarily halted deliveries of a truck engine after finding that, in certain driving conditions, its emissions of nitrogen oxide (NOx) could exceed legal limits, the company said on Sunday.
Stuttgart-based Daimler, responding to a report in the Bild am Sonntag newspaper, said it had informed Germany’s Federal Motor Transport Authority of the issue last month and was in a “constructive” dialogue.
German automakers have been under intense scrutiny since the “Dieselgate” scandal of 2015, in which Volkswagen admitted to using illegal software steering its diesel engines to cheat emissions tests.
Volkswagen reached a multi-billion-dollar settlement in the United States, but the scandal continues to reverberate in Germany where the head of its Audi unit, Rupert Stadler, has been arrested in a separate investigation.
Daimler is also under scrutiny over how its diesel car engines use a urea nitrate additive, called AdBlue, to neutralize emissions of nitrogen oxide, which can contribute to the formation of harmful smog and ozone.
Germany’s Transport Ministry said last month that 774,000 Mercedes-Benz vehicles in Europe had been found to contain unauthorized “defeat” devices and ordered Daimler to recall 238,000 cars in Germany.
In the latest case, Bild am Sonntag reported that Daimler had found during internal checks that software running the OM 501 truck engine would, in certain circumstances, stop the injection of AdBlue.
In a statement, Daimler said the report was misleading and that the engine’s on-board diagnosis system was designed to switch off the flow of AdBlue in unusual circumstances such as when the engine was running on biodiesel.
This would prevent excessive injections of AdBlue leading to the release of ammonia, which in high concentrations can act as a respiratory irritant.
“In the course of regulator tests, Daimler AG found isolated situations when a six-cylinder heavy-truck engine of the Euro V standard slightly exceeded the relevant NOx limits,” the company said.
Daimler said it had undertaken a detailed analysis of the findings and informed the Federal Motor Transport Authority at the end of June.
The motor was sold in Mercedes-Benz trucks in Europe until 2013, and is currently on sale only outside Europe. “Until the technical issues are clarified, the company has taken a precautionary decision no longer to deliver this engine,” Daimler said.


Miami to become new powerhouse of tech startups

Updated 4 min 3 sec ago

Miami to become new powerhouse of tech startups

  • That diversity offers startups access to markets on the US East Coast, Latin America and Europe, according to experts

MIAMI: Miami is famous for beach parties, gators that wander onto golf courses and iguanas that tumble out of palm trees.

But now the city of “Scarface” and “Miami Vice” is vying to become a new powerhouse of tech startups that some in the business hope will spawn a novel phenomenon — the “iguanacorn.”

The word is meant to represent the tropical answer to the Silicon Valley “unicorns,” startups that are worth more than $1 billion.

While still lagging behind San Francisco and New York, the Florida city is trying to position itself as a tech hub, and already has its first “unicorns” under its belt. They include ParkJockey, which has disrupted the car parking sector, and Magic Leap, which takes users into the world of augmented reality.

Looking to surf the Florida tech wave, so-called startup accelerators — firms that invest in fledgling tech ventures and speed up their early development — are starting to pop up in southern Florida.

Among the leaders is 500 Startups, which opened a Miami branch last year, as well as TheVentureCity, set up two years ago to offer opportunities to Latin American and European entrepreneurs who lack Silicon Valley contacts.

“Not everyone comes from Stanford or Columbia, from MIT, and has their own ‘network’ built up in San Francisco,” said Laura Gonzalez-Estefani, a former Facebook executive and co-founder of TheVentureCity.

The idea of her company is to “identify the best businesses outside of Silicon Valley and give them a boost,” she told AFP. She jokingly refers to such ventures as “iguanacorns.”

“‘Iguanacorns’ is the way we tag the unicorns that are coming from emerging tech hubs,” she said.

In keeping with that idea, her office is decorated with pictures of unicorns and their tropical, reptilian cousins.

Ana Gonzalez, head of 500 Startups Miami — which has its main headquarters in Silicon Valley — said that Miami’s “entrepreneurial ecosystem is at an inflection point.”

Her goal too is to “connect resources and expertise from Silicon Valley with Latin America and the Southeast United States.”

Miami is already an international city, home to a diverse mix of Latinos and Europeans who can snack on Cuban croquettes or cross the street and find Russian “syrnikis,” pancakes stuffed with cottage cheese.

Fifty-three percent of the city’s 2.7 million residents are foreign-born, and locals joke that Miami is the only foreign city Americans can visit without a passport.

That diversity offers startups access to markets on the US East Coast, Latin America and Europe, according to experts.

Additional draws include low taxes, a lower cost of living compared to San Francisco and New York, and a pleasant climate — if you don’t mind hurricanes.

“A big percentage of our entrepreneurs are not from here,” said Brian Breslin, head of the University of Miami’s Entrepreneurship Center.

“Whether it’s South America or Europe or other parts of the United States, they’re coming here for lifestyle reasons, cost-of-living reasons, safety/security, access to different markets. So there’s a lot of different value-adds of being here compared to, say, going to San Francisco, or New York, or Boston, or any of the other traditional tech hubs,” he said.

According to 2019’s Global Startup Ecosystem Report, which analyzes the health of tech ecosystems around the world, Miami is one of the ten cities to emerge as a hub this year, and ranks in the top 30 of the most important startup centers globally.

Tech sector workers in the city increased by 40 percent between 2012 and 2018, the report said, noting that “Miami is becoming a tech powerhouse.”

And Breslin said the cycle of growth in more established tech hubs indicates that more expansion is yet to come.

“I don’t think we’ve peaked yet. I think there’s still growth to be had,” he said.

“People go work at Facebook, or Google, make a ton of money and go start a new business. And we’re just now getting to that point where people made a lot of money working at Chewy.com, at Ultimate Software, hopefully soon at Magic Leap, and then those people will turn around and start the next wave of businesses,” he said.