The world's first passenger car to be equipped with a diesel particulate filter – a Mercedes Benz – was supplied in the US state of California exactly 20 years ago. Mercedes Benz can therefore lay claim to more experience with diesel particulate filters than any other car manufacturer. Furthermore, the Stuttgart-based brand offers more diesel car models with a particulate filter fitted as standard than any other manufacturer. From the summer of this year, the standard specification for all new Mercedes Benz diesel cars sold in Germany, the Netherlands, Austria and Switzerland will include a particulate filter. This move sees Mercedes Benz once again underlining its leading role in the development of sophisticated diesel technology.
Exactly 20 years ago, Mercedes Benz engineers were the first in the world to design and implement a filter system capable of removing the soot particles from the exhaust gases produced by diesel car engines. In 1985, Mercedes Benz started to equip 300 D/300 SD diesel models destined for the US state of California with particulate filters, assuming a pioneering role that would go from strength to strength in the coming years. As these fledgling saloon models clocked up the miles in the US, Mercedes-Benz set about gathering important data relating to customers' driving profiles, filter service life and the effect of the fuel on filter regeneration.
The knowledge gained from this experience is one of the main reasons why Mercedes engineers still lead the way when it comes to developing particulate filters that work without additives and, therefore, are maintenance-free. This leading-edge, customer-friendly technology is already fitted as standard in 20 Mercedes Benz diesel car models sold in Germany, the Netherlands, Austria and Switzerland. No other car manufacturer comes close to offering this many models with a maintenance-free particulate filter. In summer this year, the number of different Mercedes diesel models equipped with a particulate filter is set to rise above 40.
Mercedes Benz notched up another pioneering achievement in the autumn of 2003 when it became the first car manufacturer to offer compliance with the EU 4 emission standard in conjunction with a particulate filter in its C Class and E Class diesel models. Even back then, nearly two years ago, these cars met strict EU emission requirements that were not due to come into force until 2005, putting them streets ahead of their nearest rivals.
Mercedes customers also benefit financially from the committed and determined stance the oldest car manufacturer in the world has displayed in the field of particulate filter technology over many years. Initial studies show that, over the long term, the resale values of CDI models fitted with a diesel particulate filter will be higher than those of similar cars not equipped with this technology.