What Volkswagen’s ‘Dieselgate’ Is, and Why it Matters

What Volkswagen’s ‘Dieselgate’ Is, and Why it Matters A public relations challenge that exploded in Volkswagen’s face last week had really been a ticking time bomb, threatening behind the scenes for a couple of years.
In small, Volkswagen AG was roundly accused by regulators with evidence in hand, and admission by the accused, it deliberately devised a way to cheat its way through diesel emissions certification testing.
In this area 482,000 TDI diesel cars are in inquiry, including several VW brand models, and the Audi A3, and patrons, dealers, and others are feeling the effects now playing out.
SEE ALSO: EPA and California Allege Volkswagen Diesels Willfully Circumvented Clean Air Act
It’s hitting the news now, but regulators had known in this area it, and what’s now blowing up in the headlines may just be beginning.
Some have now called it “Dieselgate” reminiscent of former president Nixon’s “Watergate” scandal over insincere to the public, and at least clear is the
German automaker faces charges of deliberate diesel emissions rules evasion.
To summarize what is experience, we’ll around up key facts and ramifications of the scandal that has rocked Volkswagen’s “clean diesel” legacy.
Just the facts
On Friday Sept. 18 the U.S. EPA issued an unequivocal statement laying out a case for a “notice of violation” (NOV) against Volkswagen AG.
Separately, California was in process of issuing Volkswagen as In-Use Compliance letter. This was the first coming forth of an investigation that had been opened in May 2014.
At issue was a “defeat device” relying on computer software Volkswagen allegedly hoped would by no means be detected was letting cars sail past stringent U.S. Tier 2, Bin 5 emissions rules, but once on the road, they emitted 10-40 times the NOx.
Volkswagen plant, Chattanooga, Tenn.
Volkswagen for years has toured its “Clean Diesel” reputation. The engine in inquiry was used for four-cylinder Jetta, Insect, Golf, and Audi A3s, the EPA said, casing 2009-2015. Passats model year 2014 and 20i5 were also included.
Other VW/Audi diesels have not been implicated in using software that let the cars detect when they were being tested so as to activate their emission reins.
Initially honest-minded observers said it smacked of a witch hunt by heavy handed authorities making VW grow guilty until proven innocent but the strong accusation came after VW had already admitted to regulators its wrongdoing.
“Our goal now is to ensure that the affected cars are brought into compliance, to dig more deeply into the extent and implications of Volkswagen’s efforts to cheat on clean air rules, and to take appropriate additional action,” said Cynthia Giles, Supporter Administrator for the Office of Enforcement and Compliance Pledge.
If the book is thrown at them, said the EPA, up to $18 billion in fines could be levied against VW at $37,500 per car for 482,000 model year 2009-2015 diesels sold in the U.S.
Not said in Friday’s press release was the EPA and California Air Resources Board had let VW quietly save face. The automaker last December did recall the close-to half-million affected cars but software updates could not remedy the out-of-compliance emissions.
In July regulators had confronted VW, the controversy has been a back-and-forth dialogue behind the scenes all summer, but it was not really the U.S> Government of California which originally learned the defeat device.
The evidence had been uncovered in the course of normal research by the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT) in Europe, according to Bloomberg.
SEE ALSO: How Volkswagen Tricked the EPA’s Emissions Test
They found VW diesels with the EA188 2.0-liter turbodiesel four-cylinder from 2009-2015 emitted far more on-road emissions than they did on testing dynamometers.
Tests were then conducted at West Virginia University, and its Center for Alternative Fuels, Engines and Emissions confirmed the discrepancy.
“In September, after EPA and CARB demanded an explanation for the identified emission problems, Volkswagen admitted that the cars contained defeat devices,” said the EPA.
Over the weekend the company’s CEO Dr. Martin Winterkorn apologized matching a humble tone set by the U.S. arm of the German Automaker which has otherwise not existing additional comment saying only it is cooperating with investigators.
Volkswagen Assemble of America, Inc.:
Volkswagen is committed to fixing this issue as soon as possible. We want to assure customers and owners of these models that their automobiles are safe to drive, and we are working to develop a remedy that meets emissions standards and satisfies our loyal and valued customers. Owners of these vehicles do not need to take any action at this time.
Winterkorn’s statement:
The Board of Management at Volkswagen AG takes these findings very seriously. I in person am deeply wretched that we have broken the trust of our customers and the public. We will cooperate fully with the reliable agencies, with transparency and urgency, to clearly, openly, and completely establish all of the facts of this case. Volkswagen has ordered an external investigation of this matter.
We do not and will not tolerate violations of any kind of our internal rules or of the law.
The trust of our customers and the public is and continues to be our most vital asset. We at Volkswagen will do all that must be done in peacefulness to re-establish the trust that so many public have placed in us, and we will do all de rigueur in peacefulness to reverse the hurt this has caused. This matter has first priority for me, in person, and for our entire Board of Management. Read more

Consumers Say Auto Industry Is Innovative And Effectively Cutting Emissions

Consumers Say Auto Industry Is Innovative And Effectively Cutting Emissions Even though pollution is still seen as one of the largest shortcomings for personal vehicles, the majority of patrons feel the auto diligence is progressing with emission reductions and investments in renewable energy sources.
This outlook of the auto diligence’s reputation comes from a survey sponsored by the International Organization of Motor Vehicle Manufacturers (OICA) and conducted by polling institute TNS Sofres.
“The conclusions are quite clear and positive, with the car seen as an object of question, providing many vital advantages compared to any other transport mode: globally, patrons view the car as comfortable, practical, quick, safe, and future oriented,” said Matthias Wissmann, first vice president for OICA. “Also the diligence itself scores extremely high and is fundamentally considered as an diligence that can be trusted and is innovative.”
Source: International Organization of Motor Vehicle Manufacturers
Carbon emissions are the largest problem personal vehicles face, as marked by more than 60 percent of the survey’s responders. In comparison, less than 20 percent felt that other transportation issues – including being stressful, tiring, and having too many constraints – applied to cars. Patrons also said personal vehicles pollute more than public transportation.
Source: International Organization of Motor Vehicle Manufacturers
But even pollution was named as the leading weakness for personal vehilces, patrons also said the auto diligence is doing a excellent job tackling the issue. Not only are auto manufactures making progress reducing both carbon emissions and non-carbon emission, said respondents, but 68 percent said the diligence also excels at investing in sustainable energy sources.
Source: International Organization of Motor Vehicle Manufacturers
SEE ALSO: UNESCO Scientists Call For 70 Percent Emissions Reduction By 2050
The survey revealed that, as a whole, the reputation of the auto diligence is rated very fortunately. It gets the highest scores for innovation, with in this area 80 percent of responders noting that manufacturers are developing the newest technologies for vehicles, including connected and intelligent vehicles.
Patrons also said the diligence actively seeks solutions to challenges, makes products that improve the quality of life, and can be trusted in the long term.
For the survey, TNS Sofres’ automotive team completed more than 14,000 interviews in 18 countries, “with the goal of capturing patrons’ attachment to the automobile and their image and attitude of the sector overall,” noted OICA.

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Why Doesn’t Real World MPG Match The Window Sticker?

Why Doesn’t Real World MPG Match The Window Sticker? It’s been said with reference to certainties in life, only death and taxes are assured, which means your EPA-estimated mpg is beyond doubt not guaranteed.
While in recent years we’ve heard of automakers including Ford and Hyundai/Kia paying out for failing to meet mpg estimates they qualified on window stickers, this was because of procedural errors or omissions under the EPA’s honor system of self testing.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency which oversees certification protocols otherwise says “your mileage will vary.” But why is that?
SEE ALSO: Study: EPA Understates Hybrid MPG By Up To 33 Percent
Several reasons, and for hybrids the EPA goes a step additional and says while hybrids potentially return better fuel economy, they also may vary even more than non hybrids depending on a few factors.
On the positive side, the U.S. EPA is relatively strict, and has improved its testing procedures through the years. It has five tests for city, highway, and combined estimates, and specific additional tests for all-electric cars as well as hybrids. Compared to European and Japanese standards, the U.S. looks downright conservative – and more realistic.
As just a few examples, a 2015 Toyota Prius is rated for 77 mpg under Japan’s JC08 testing whereas the EPA lets it pass with a far-more realistic 50 mpg. Just as optimistic is the first-generation Chevy Volt which on Europe’s NEDC cycle is rated for 52 miles of all-electric range. The EPA calls it at 38.
The whopper is the Nissan Leaf, rated in Europe for 120 miles range and in Japan as high as 141 miles range. They wish! EPA says 84.
This said, you still may get in the mid 30s in your Prius if it’s malfunctioning, freezing out, or you drive it aggressively.
Those are a hint of some of the reasons why you have “ultimate lab” estimates and “real world.” Really, the EPA says its “labs” try very hard to simulate real world, but they follow specific averaged tests, and the real real world has many more factors affecting results.
Following are some of the real world variables accounting for why your mileage may vary.
You’re a Terrible Driver
Just kidding! We’re sure everyone reading this is very careful and capable, but the EPA does say “how and where you drive” tops its list for why mpg will be on the money, or above or below the mark.
Common sense tips include drive sensibly, observe the speed limit, don’t do jack rabbit starts, avoid wind-dragging cargo on your roof, and don’t carry excess weight in the vehicle.
According to the EPA quick acceleration and heavy braking can reduce fuel economy by up to 33 percent on the highway and 5 percent in slower city and suburban pouring. Read more

Tesla Sends Invites For Next Week’s Model X Launch Event

Tesla Sends Invites For Next Week’s Model X Launch Event This morning Tesla Motors started sending out invitations to the Model X launch event Sept. 29, eight days from today.
The ceremony of handing over the first Founder’s editions will take place at Tesla’s newly bought adjacent property, the former Solyndra factory.
It’s not immediately clear why that location was chosen instead of the main factory in Fremont where Model S had been delivered June 2012. It could have to do with the fact they want a huge party there, and do not want to interfere with the busy main factory, though this is just conjecture.
SEE ALSO: Tesla Invites First Buyers To Configure Their Model X
The Model S handing-over event itself was not so much a full-on party or technology reveal as a delivery event. And technology does need to be revealed, as Tesla has attempted to keep many details of the Model X under wraps until now.
Numerous other questions remain down to the base-level starting price for the Model X. Top-drawer Signatures start at $132,000, not much more than a comparably equipped Model S.
It’s said the entry point therefore will not be much more than an entry level Model S 70D, which starts at $76,200 before incentives.
SEE ALSO: Model X Seat Questions Have Some Tesla Fans Sitting on Pins and Needles
Unknown also is how generous the turnout will be, but this has been one anticipated event. With more than 30,000 reservation holders in a line stat started three-and-a-half-years ago, much pent-up interest is awaiting this reveal.
Expect also live streaming and much media coverage for the electric crossover utility vehicle.
This event will also be a major milestone on the way to the next stage of Tesla’s primary focus – Model 3.
The company is building its Gigafactory in Nevada and working a long-term plot toward that vehicle which could be priced from the mid 30s with 20-plus mile range. Read more

Volkswagen Lost Almost $17 Billion in Stock Value Today

Volkswagen Lost Almost $17 Billion in Stock Value Today While Volkswagen could face up to $18 billion in fines for an emissions cheating scandal its stock was devalued $16.9 billion today.
It was the leading one-day slide since November 2009, and comes at a time the German automaker is facing challenges in other arena. The shares declined by 13 percent to 140.95 euros by 0207 EDT.
SEE ALSO: EPA and California Allege Volkswagen Diesels Willfully Circumvented Clean Air Act
The company’s former chairman Ferdinand Piech has resigned five montghs ago in a power struggle with Martin Winterkorn over strategy and the company had been balanced to shake off doubts in this area its leadership.
Then Friday a strongly worded accusation by the EPA named the company a shark by intentionally installing a device to trick emissions inspectors into passing its diesel cars.
The company has acknowledged the allegation, and its CEO has apologized saying it has no tolerance for law breaking.
Volkswagen is also facing diminishing sales in China, other operational issues, and its VW brand had already been struggling with profitability.
“This disaster is beyond all expectations,” said Ferdinand Dudenhoeffer, head of the Center of Automotive Research at the University of Duisburg-Essen to Business Insider.

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VW Halts 2015 4-Cylinder Diesel Sales In Wake of Emissions Cheating Allegations

VW Halts 2015 4-Cylinder Diesel Sales In Wake of Emissions Cheating Allegations Following federal allegations announced Friday that Volkswagen cheated on emissions testing, it has stopped sales of four-cylinder diesel Jetta, Passat and Beetles.
The allegations covered Volkswagen Jetta, Insect and Golf models from 2009 forward, and included Audi A3s diesels from 2009-2015.
According to the The Detroit News, a company spokesperson did not say how many of the new vehicles were subject to the sale halt.
In an unusual go, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency denied VW a “certificate of conformity to sell 2016 models with the 2.0-liter diesel engines. Dealers had been anticipating these to replenish inventories.
At issue is a “defeat device” Volkswagen was exciting with installing that made emissions reins only operate when under testing procedures. Otherwise the cars could emit 10-40 times the allowable pollution.
In a statement, CEO of VW AG Martin Winterkorn said Volkswagen has ordered an external investigation and that the company does not tolerate law violations.
He said it was a matter of personal priority, and apologized while saying he act with transparency toward investigators.
“I in person am deeply wretched that we have broken the trust of our customers and the public,” said Dr. Martin Winterkorn, CEO of Volkswagen AG. “We will cooperate fully with the reliable agencies, with transparency and urgency, to clearly, openly, and completely establish all of the facts of this case.”
The case but is just beginning, and the Justice Department could reportedly open a criminal investigation, if it has not already.
The EPA says a recall of nearly 500,000 affected cars is also expected. The process could take up to a year between the recall and making suitable repairs, depending on the fix deemed de rigueur.
California meanwhile is procuring other branded vehicles as well to check for potential defeat devices such as were learned on the Volkswagen and Audi cars.
The incident was first uncovered by West Virginia University. Volkswagen admitted the issue when questioned by EPA and California Air Resources Board representatives.
The Detroit News

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VW CEO Is ‘Deeply Sorry’ About Diesel Emissions Violations

VW CEO Is ‘Deeply Sorry’ About Diesel Emissions Violations After days of silence following a shocking revelation that Volkswagen cheated U.S. emissions rules, the CEO of Volkswagen AG has released a statement offering an explanation and a commitment.
“I in person am deeply wretched that we have broken the trust of our customers and the public,” said Dr. Martin Winterkorn, CEO of Volkswagen AG. “We will cooperate fully with the reliable agencies, with transparency and urgency, to clearly, openly, and completely establish all of the facts of this case.”
SEE ALSO: EPA and California Allege Volkswagen Diesels Willfully Circumvented Clean Air Act
Winterkorn went on to say that Volkswagen has ordered an external investigation.
“We do not and will not tolerate violations of any kind of our internal rules or of the law,” he said. “The trust of our customers and the public is and continues to be our most vital asset. We at Volkswagen will do all that must be done in peacefulness to re-establish the trust that so many public have placed in us, and we will do all de rigueur in peacefulness to reverse the hurt this has caused. This matter has first priority for me, in person, and for our entire Board of Management.”
The US EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) has accused Volkswagen of using a defeat device that would enable VW to circumvent emissions testing procedures, using a complex software algorithm that allows cars to detect when they are being tested for emissions and activate full emissions reins only then. The defeat devices were installed in 482,000 2009-2015 model year VW and Audi models using a 4-cylinder TDI diesel engine.
“Using a defeat device in cars to evade clean air standards is illegal and a threat to public health,” said Cynthia Giles, Supporter Administrator for the Office of Enforcement and Compliance Pledge. “Working closely with the California Air Resources Board, EPA is committed to making sure that all automakers play by the same rules. EPA will continue to investigate these very serious matters.”
The EPA is demanding that VW recall affected vehicles and could levy fines totaling $18 billion.
This article originally appeared at Rawvehicle.com

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Model X Seat Questions Have Some Tesla Fans Sitting on Pins and Needles

Model X Seat Questions Have Some Tesla Fans Sitting on Pins and Needles As Tesla fans await the release of the Model X later this month, much speculation has gone forth in this area its cargo room, middle-row seats’ folding skill – and ultimate utility of the new 7-passenger electric crossover.
Images posted this week by buyers configuring their car from Tesla’s online Design Studio show the X holding a bicycle and a load of boxes. These images answer some questions, but not absolutely settled are several questions including in this area the middle seat row.
The anxiety some have expressed had one Model X reservation holder say tongue in cheek the beginnings of a “Seat Gate” are in the making as public speculate without full info to settle questions. Read more