As discussed previously, the lawsuits against VW working their way through the German court system have uncovered what appears to be a new emissions defeat device introduced at the time that they were supposedly fixing their previous cheating engine, the EA 189. The new engine introduced in 2012, the EA 288, was supposedly defeat-device free. However, it turns out that the pollution control mechanism only gets turned on within a specific temperature range — a range which happens to include temperatures in which the vehicles are tested for emissions.
And so Dieselgate continues
In the latest news, the German prosecutors office has issued and executed a search warrant on VW facilities in Wolfsburg related to the case. According to the prosecutor’s office, “This measure is in the context of investigations, which are directed against individual accused and refer to diesel vehicles with engines of the type EA 288.”
Many hundreds of thousands of vehicles are considered to be affected. Among them:
- Audi: A1 8X, A3 8V, A3 8X, A4 B8, A4 B9, A5 F5, A6 C7, Q2 GA
- Seat: Ibiza, Toledo IV, Leon III, Ateca, Arona, Alhambra II, Tarraco
- Škoda: Fabia III, Rapid (2012), Octavia III, Superb III, Karoq, Kodiaq, Kodiaq RS
- Volkswagen: Golf VII, Golf Sportsvan, Jetta VI, Touran II, T-Roc, Passat B8, Polo VI, Polo V, Beetle, Tiguan, Tiguan II, Sharan II, CC, Scirocco III, Arteon
- VW Commercial: T6, Caddy, Crafter, Amarok
Meanwhile in the UK, the civil trial against Volkswagen has begun as as many as 100k plaintiffs are represented in one of the largest class-action suits in the country’s history.
Impact on EVs
When will this all end? Who bloody knows. Diess sure seems to want the company to switch to electric vehicles — even Elon Musk offered a defense of VW’s electrification efforts:
Diess often seems to be fighting a one-man battle to drag a reluctant corporate hierarchy away from its polluting past and into an electrified future. Unfortunately for Diess, the event that triggered this defense from his competitor’s CEO was news that he and other executives were being charged with being complicit in hiding Dieselgate from investors.
In case it requires a reminder: internal combustion engine exhaust kills people. It’s not simply the fact that ICEs run at lower efficiency than even electric vehicles powered by fossil power plants (a modern combined cycle NG plant operates at around 60% efficiency, while a typical gasoline engine, while having a peak efficiency around 35%, has an average operating efficiency of only about 20% (diesel is marginally higher, at around 25%). The simple fact is that non-CO2 pollutants have a limited lifespan in the atmosphere, so it matters greatly where they’re emitted, and car exhaust is emitted at ground level in populated areas.
If you see a child playing along the side of the road… he or she is breathing the exhaust of these cars. Indeed, because of their height, children breathe in a higher concentration of exhaust than adults.
Children who grow up breathing polluted air develop smaller, stunted lungs. The elderly and those with breathing conditions die prematurely of heart attacks and strokes from exhaust. About a third as many deaths can be attributed to vehicle exhaust as to smoking (for example, 30k annually in the UK vs. 100k for smoking), making it one of the largest preventable public health problems in the world.
Added by Mokurai:
Push your local school boards to switch from diesel school buses to electrics. It should be a financial no-brainer, in addition to its other benefits.