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The best piece on VW so far


14 thoughts on “The best piece on VW so far”

  1. The complete inability to see second-order effects. Does authoritarianism effect the ability of the rational bit of the brain or are they both symptoms of the same damage / disorder?

    I smell some interesting research involving wiring various sorts of statists up to the mains and then making them do logic and reasoning problems involving second and higher order effects.

    It might not prove anything but I bet you could have three years of extreme fun!

  2. Hmm, an article based on science and using logic and common sense to reason out its conclusion.

    What a waste of time in the 21st century…

  3. Ah, Tim. You’ve never had the clarity of thought to reject the Global Warmmongering doctrine the way this chap does.

  4. I don’t see what VW has done wrong. People have assumed that the tests represent the ways that cars work in the real world. These tests were more like, I think, Formula One races – nice ways to experiment with new technology that eventually has an impact on production vehicles.

    No one thinks that because you can pass the written driving test you can actually drive. You simply pass the test. Likewise VW was asked to submit its cars for this non-real-world test. It was not a real world test. It was an up-on-the-blocks test. They did well. Over all the general progression was positive.

  5. Good article, except for this:

    “As the Clean Air campaigners of today point out, air pollution is now on the same level as smoking if you measure by premature deaths. It’s more serious than alcohol, much more serious than obesity, and many times more serious than road traffic accidents.”

    More hippie lies. Show us the bodies.

  6. Sadly you can’t say the same thing about NOx. As an example London now has the highest NOx levels in Europe, similar to those of Beijing

    I’d be interested in any data behind this, given that NOx levels have halved in the USA and UK over the last 15 years.

  7. SMFS>

    Seriously? Sure, you measure something, people will try and game the system – but VW didn’t try and game the system, they outright cheated.

    The VW XL1 might help explain the difference. That piece of shite is incredibly heavily tweaked/tuned for the nuances of the Euro fuel-economy test cycle, so it has some truly impressive official figures, and a particularly sharp drop to real world ones. That’s gaming the system, but it’s not cheating – pretty useless data, but gained by optimising test performance. If you have the same use for the car as in the tests, you can get the same results. You won’t, but that’s because the metrics aren’t terribly well designed.

    What they’ve done with the TDIs in the US is to detect when the car is on a rolling road and then run the engine in a special testing mode. That’s rather different. Unless you put the car on a rolling road, you will never be able to achieve the same results.

  8. BMW’s TD figures stand up in real life. We’ll wait and see if they’ve been cheating the emissions results.

    I don’t understand the rush to defend VW, especially before the facts are known.

    If they’re guilty, then they’re cheats and market-riggers, so very much the enemy for free marketeers.

    And if the tests are wrong, or stupid, or counter-productive …. well. I don’t recall VW bringing any of that, so let’s hope the new CEO isn’t also a quivering piece of jelly.

  9. So Much For Subtlety

    Dave – “Seriously? Sure, you measure something, people will try and game the system – but VW didn’t try and game the system, they outright cheated.”

    How did they cheat? They weren’t asked to reproduce road conditions. They were asked to produce a car that in a highly artificial environment would have its emissions measured. Which they did. In the same way that Ferrari enters Formula One races to see how good their best engines are. It is not meant to apply to the real world.

    “Unless you put the car on a rolling road, you will never be able to achieve the same results.”

    Were they asked to produce results like those on normal roads? No they were not. Everyone understood that the results they got in the tests had no connection with actual driving. Even people here at Tim’s have mentioned it in the past. If your horse is trained to race, and wins the Grand National, it seems a bit odd to complain it is useless at pulling a dray.

  10. So Much For Subtlety said

    Were they asked to produce results like those on normal roads? No they were not.

    The cheating appears to be in having separate modes for testing and for road use.

    That said, the report by the ICCT group that kicked it off showed something more like the VWs were clean to begin with but got dirtier and dirtier with respect to NOx over long journeys. Which might suggest there isn’t a separate mode (despite VW saying there was) and it’s that the NOx devices on both the Passat and Jetta were useless or being prevented from activating, and the rolling road test too short to have detected the problem.

    The report is here (5MB pdf) and the charts showing the results begin on page 89. If I have understood them correctly Vehicle A (Jetta) and B (Passat) are within the standards for only the beginning of some of the routes. By comparison Vehicle C (X5) is mostly within the limits for most journeys most of the time, except for some rural hill routes when it is crap.

  11. It says a good deal about the state of our media that I’ve learned more from the comments on this blog about what VW were actually doing than I’ve learned from and MSM analysis (the nadir of which was Jeremy Vine on BBC R2 who appeared not to understand the difference between CO2 and NOx emissions, much less have any idea of the trade offs between those two, MPG, particulate emissions etc).

    I’m a bit sceptical about “real world testing” – surely the inconsistencies between test runs will be a total nightmare. At the end of the day, so much will depend on the driver, the route driven, the driving conditions etc etc – one of our lads at work gets almost half the MPG I get out of the same transit pickup (He appears not to have discovered a gear higher than 3rd, while I tend to roll around everywhere at 35-40mph in 6th, with the engine barely ever getting much past a fast idle). Given the difference in fuel usage, I’d expect emissions data to be similarly disparate..

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