Audi in Germany on Friday added information to its main website so customers can determine if their car is affected by an illegal “defeat device” included in 11 million Volkswagen Group cars.
Audi owners can identify if their cars will be part of the unprecedented recall by entering the car’s VIN into the website. Audi said it would roll out a similar service in separate, worldwide markets in coming days. Audi owners can also go to dealerships to see if their cars will require recall work.
Volkswagen created a website in the U.S. this week to answer preliminary questions for its owners, including a video message by Volkswagen of America CEO Michael Horn. (Read More…)
While working on a story about some very old cars, I stumbled upon something relevant to the latest big story in the automotive world.
I ran into a Model T collector who’s also a powertrain engineer for Ford. Seizing the opportunity, I asked him if he could tell me what he was working on (sometimes they say no). He said that he was responsible for developing computerized engine controls. Because of that expertise, I started to ask him some questions about the software program that Volkswagen apparently used to cheat on the EPA’s diesel emissions testing.
What he was willing to say and what he wouldn’t say intrigued me. (Read More…)
The diesel versions of the Chevrolet Colorado/GMC Canyon will be the first to undergo increased scrutiny from the Environmental Protection Agency after the recent Volkswagen scandal turned emissions reporting on its head.
According to Automotive News, a spokesman for GM said the testing could slightly delay the truck’s fourth-quarter release.
“The EPA and CARB told us they are going to do on-road testing,” Chevrolet Trucks assistant chief engineer Scott Yackley told Automotive News.
A report by the New York Times estimates that Volkswagen cars that illegally polluted up to 40 times more nitrogen oxides may have contributed to more than 100 premature deaths in the U.S., nearly equal to the faulty GM ignition switch that has been linked to 124 deaths.
The researchers calculated the effects of the increased nitrogen oxides by using numbers derived from U.S. counties where power plant emissions had been reduced. Those counties removed 350 tons of nitrogen dioxides per year and had 5 fewer deaths per 100,000 people. Calculating the number of VW diesels and their average emissions at 39 times the legal limit, the writers concluded that the cars could be responsible for 106 premature deaths nationwide.
An environmental group in Europe is saying most of the world’s automakers are
lying about misreporting emissions and fuel economy on tests that are intentionally unclear and designed with several loopholes for carmakers to exploit.
“Like the air pollution test, the European system of testing cars to measure fuel economy and CO2 emissions is utterly discredited. The Volkswagen scandal was just the tip of the iceberg and what lies beneath is widespread abuse by carmakers of testing rules enabling cars to swallow more than 50 (percent) more fuel than is claimed,” Greg Archer, clean vehicles manager at Transport and Environment, said in a statement.
Specifically, the Brussels-based group says that Mercedes A, C and E class and BMW’s 5 Series cars pollute up to 50 percent more than the automakers report. Emissions claims and real-world emissions for most cars could differ by up to 50 percent by 2020, the group says. (Read More…)
According to German newspaper Bild am Sonntag, Bosch engineers told Volkswagen in 2007 that software the supplier had offered for the cars in testing, which made it into road cars, was illegal and should not be used.
The newspaper, which did not cite any sources in the story, said a spokesperson for Bosch did not comment on the report.
If true, the report shows a quick push from the supplier — who admitted it supplied Volkswagen with the parts used to circumvent emissions standards — to isolate the automaker’s responsibility for the scandal. Bosch issued a statement last week saying as much (emphasis mine):
As is usual in the automotive supply industry, Bosch supplies these components to the automaker’s specifications. How these components are calibrated and integrated into complete vehicle systems is the responsibility of each automaker.
This week, Daimler, BMW, Jaguar Land Rover and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles issued statements on how their diesel cars don’t cheat like someone else you may’ve heard of.
“The BMW Group does not manipulate or rig any emissions tests,” BMW said in a statement Thursday. “We observe the legal requirements in each country and fulfill all local testing requirements.”
BMW’s admission is notable because the automakers’ X3 diesel model was targeted by the independent commission that discovered that Volkswagen’s cars illegally polluted.
Well, ladies and gentlemen, it has officially emerged that Volkswagen has been lying to the general public like one of those guys who approaches you at a gas station and says his car has broken down and he just needs three more dollars for a bus fare.
This is surprising. Anyone who ever owned a Volkswagen knew that they were a bit sleazy, in the sense that they told you they offered “solid German engineering” when what they really offered was a bunch of untested parts farmed out to the lowest bidder. But we never really expected them to be overtly lying about stuff. Especially stuff as important as emissions results.
Or at least, I say “important,” but then I stop and think about it for a second, and I wonder: How important really are emissions numbers?
Officials from the Environmental Protection Agency said this week that they’ll change regulations to hopefully catch carmakers who cheat on emissions tests in the future.
EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy told reporters at a Wall Street Journal forum Tuesday that the agency would be “upping its game” to stop automakers like Volkswagen from creating two dramatically different emissions cycles for its cars — a cleaner “testing mode” and a dirtier real-world mode. The agency said it would also crack down on automakers who lie about real-world fuel economy.
“Writing regulations takes time,” EPA’s director of the Office of Transportation and Air Quality Chris Grundler told the Detroit News. “When you are working in the rapidly changing environment that we’re in right now, we want to make sure that we are agile enough and flexible enough to change with those times.”
Volkswagen may not be the only one that was cheating on their emissions testing. Reports coming out of the European Federation for Transport and Environment are shining light on other manufacturers which could be putting out dodgy emissions figures. I found the Vauxhall Zafira Tourer on one such report and decided to take a look at the Chevy Cruze Diesel due to related engine technology. I was surprised by what I found.