Update: I made a decimal flub. The math is corrected. Thanks to commenter ChemEng for pointing it out. We’ll post a new piece on Monday.
There’s no denying it: Volkswagen cheated. It confessed to the crime of emitting up to 40 times over the legal limit allowed for NOx. We learned yesterday (and the day before, to some degree), that Volkswagen will fix the vehicles that can be fixed, if owners so choose.
But what happens to all those diesel cars, which are perfectly good aside from emitting more NOx than they should, if owners decide to cut and run? And what happens to all those vehicles that can’t be fixed? Volkswagen has vowed to buy them back from customers — to which I ask, what then?
There are few options Volkswagen can employ to unload the massive windfall of cars coming its way, and none of them are particularly environmentally friendly.
Note: In light of today’s news regarding an agreement between Volkswagen and U.S. regulators, we believe it’s pertinent to rerun this piece considering Volkswagen still plans on fixing some of the affected 2.0-liter TDI vehicles. —MS
In all reality, Volkswagen probably won’t pay $37,500 for each car that cheated its way through U.S. emissions standards, but the German automaker will probably pay thousands for each car to fit a device that would clean up their acts.
The presumed fix would come by retrofitting a Selective Catalytic Reduction (Adblue or urea) system although that wouldn’t be the only fix necessary. Researchers discovered that the Passat TDI that they tested, fitted with the SCR system, was 5 to 20 times over the NO limit — less than the 10 to 40 times by the lean NO filter cars, but still illegal.
The long list of items needed to fit models of the Volkswagen Golf, Jetta, Beetle and Audi A3 doesn’t include the engineering needed to retrofit the cars and the costs to crash test the models after the significant modifications. That’ll add hundreds of millions to the bottom line.
Porsche’s CEO is confident that the fix for their 3-liter diesel Cayennes will be approved by regulators, which is more than Volkswagen can say at the moment.
That, Kia’s big Detroit show, GM’s plan to sell cars online and Volkswagen CEO has a momentarily lapse of logic … after the break!
Volkswagen in Germany announced Wednesday its fix for millions of its 1.6- and 2-liter diesel engines in Europe that are illegally spewing nitrogen oxides and have cost the company billions in a massive worldwide scandal.
According to the automaker, a small “flow transformer” would be fitted in front of the air mass sensor in 1.6-liter, EA189 engines. The small transformer will calm air leaving the air filter before reaching the sensor. Volkswagen says the calmer air will allow the sensor to more accurately measure airflow for combustion. The fix would take less than an hour. For 2-liter engines, the proposed fix would be a software update and would take 30 minutes. Both plans have been approved by the German transportation authority.
Both fixes may be headed to cars in the U.S. However, the announced plan was in Germany for engines only on sale in most of Europe. Volkswagen submitted its U.S. plan last week to the Environmental Protection Agency and California Air Resources Board, but details of that plan haven’t been released.
Volkswagen will have to submit Friday its plans to the California Air Resources Board and Environmental Protection Agency to fix hundreds of thousands of illegally polluting cars in the U.S., Reuters reported (via Automotive News). Although a fix is due today, testing that fix could take months before it would be installed in cars.
The deadline for the automaker comes after it announced it would ask Michael Steiner, head of Porsche development and quality, to oversee Volkswagen’s compliance with officials worldwide to fix up to 11 million cars. In Europe, Volkswagen demonstrated a fix for its 1.6-liter diesel engine that included an air sensor and software update that cost around $10.68, according to German outlet Wirtschaftswoche.
Volkswagen has said that its newer cars would likely only need a software update to be compliant. Older cars that are equipped with EA189 2-liter diesel engines may need more costly fixes.
According to the same source who revealed to TTAC that Volkswagen will announce next week its “TDI Goodwill Program”, the automaker will also begin to roll out fixes for affected diesel emissions cars in the U.S. in February.
The fix, which was mentioned to dealers and communicated to dealer staff, will comprise of an ECU flash. The details of the ECU flash itself and the specific vehicles to which it will apply were not provided.
It was reported previously that different generations of the affected EA189 diesel engine could receive varying levels of correction, from ECU flashes to the installation of full urea-fed SCR systems. This ECU flash could be just one of two or three fixes for Volkswagen’s dirty diesels.
Volkswagen has supposedly earmarked $4 billion to fix their diesel cars and public reputation in the U.S., which includes money the automaker will use to fund the “TDI Goodwill Program”, said the source.
Transparency in Motorsport… (photo courtesy: Murilee Martin)
A friend and I want to get into LeMons racing, but neither of us has much cash to throw at a hooptie or experience working on cars. I’ve changed oil, tires, lights, and brake pads but done little else.
Longtime lurker on TTAC that’s coming out of the woodwork. Love your columns and thanks for your time. I’ve got a 99 Civic with 199000 km (124000 miles) that needs new rear trailing arm bushings on both sides. I’m looking at about $500 to get them replaced. (Read More…)
TTAC commentator markholli writes:
First, a big “thank you” to you and all of the contributors and commenters on TTAC for hours of free entertainment. Keep up the good work! Now that I’m done buttering everybody up I’ll get to the matter at-hand. I have a 2005 Subaru Outback 2.5i (base) which has been my wife’s daily driver. (pictured above, literally – SM) (Read More…)