If it hadn’t been for California Air Research Board testing emissions, Volkswagen would have gotten away with cheating.
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The quick summary version is this: A research team of two students and two professors from West Virginia took a diesel VW Passat on a road trip and recorded its emissions data. Then the team reported the data to CARB and the EPA.
The agencies noted huge discrepancies from what the factory test and the new test recorded. VW admitted to using software that let the diesel engines cheat emissions tests.
VW CEO Martin Winterkorn resigned. And now comes the fallout from this epic fail by VW.
VW’s loss is going to far exceed any monetary damages awarded from the lawsuits that are already piling up. VW will lose more than fuel economy, power, and efficiency in the TDI-equipped models. VW cost itself its integrity and the trust of its loyal customers and the consumer public at large.
This is no small matter. With all of the scandals that have been discovered in the auto industry over the last couple of years, this may be one of the worst. Sure, GM was found to have known about their ignition switch failure before the scandal broke, plus the loss of 124 lives.
Sure, the public was plenty angry with the cover up just to save a few bucks. The same with the Takata airbag debacle. And people weren’t exactly pleased about the Jeep hack, either. But no one likes a liar and a cheat. And VW has proven themselves as both.
The fix to the emissions problem might be simple; it may or may not sacrifice the TDI engine’s touted efficiency. Regaining consumer trust? This will take a lot of time to repair this trust.
Which brings up something else, too. VW got caught, but who else hasn’t? Yet. You can bet the water-polluting-quasi-corrupt EPA is going to be asking a lot of questions of a lot of manufacturers and testing a lot more vehicles to make sure emissions are at mandated levels.
I can only imagine what finding more fudged numbers would do for consumer trust in the auto industry.
And of course this is only going to bolster the rabid EV and green tech types’ claims that we need to make the switch from fossil fuels and high emission combustion engines to the equally inefficient and higher carbon footprint EV and alternative fueled vehicles.
What's next? Electric vehicle manufacturers caught cheating on battery range claims? It's always been a bit of a unreliable "art," but it seems that EVs get a pass on unreliable range information due to the variability of battery range due to driving style; weather based on temperatures; and feature usage, such as, running the A/C will impact range.
But what do you think?
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