They seriously did this?
The origin of the case was a report last year by the International Council for Clean Transportation and West Virginia University that documented elevated emissions from some Volkswagen cars.
The cars in question could emit as much as 40 times the legal standard of nitrogen oxide, the EPA said.
When regulators initially raised the issue with Volkswagen, the automaker blamed the elevated pollution on “various technical issues and unexpected in-use conditions,” EPA said in the violation order.
Volkswagen in December last year initiated a voluntary recall of about 500,000 cars. Regulators broadened their probe when the cars continued to pump out excess emissions after the recall, despite showing some improvement, the California board said.
At that point, regulators told Volkswagen that they would not approve the automaker’s 2016 models “until VW could adequately explain the anomalous emissions and ensure the agencies that the 2016 model year vehicles would not have similar issues”, the EPA said.
“Only then did VW admit it had designed and installed a defeat device in these vehicles in the form of a sophisticated software algorithm that detected when a vehicle was undergoing emissions testing,” the EPA said.
Everyone knows that the mpg numbers and so on are, well, not a lie, but tweaked. Very careful drivers, driving in a very careful manner, are used to create them.
But actually having a specific engine mode purely for emissions testing? Which is only used during emissions testing?
That’s, umm, outrageous. And it’s not something I would normally believe. I’d, if presented with that story, say that the EPA has managed to get a bit mixed up there with the technology somehow. But they do seem very sure indeed.
Time to edge in on some of Julia’s popcorn futures perhaps? Because this could get very interesting indeed. Either way: whether VW really did do this or the EPA hasn’t quite grasped the point properly.
And there’s a further implication. It’s all about diesels, so few American manufacturers are going to be at risk here (they generally just don’t put diesels into consumer vehicles). But were the VW pollution stats anomalous as compared to other European vehicles? And if not, then who else has something similar installed?
From the EPA’s announcement:
In September, after EPA and CARB demanded an explanation for the identified emission problems, Volkswagen admitted that the cars contained defeat devices.
So, are they bang to rights?