Volkswagen has taken a few its diesel models off of the market while the company deals with accusations of cheating emissions tests by installing software in Volkswagen and Audi models which recognizes when an emissions test is occurring. The emissions control is only used to its maximum capability while an emissions test is being administered. The EPA estimates that when the models are driving normally, they could be producing over 40 times the legal amount of nitrogen oxides. Nitrogen oxide is a term for oxides that are produced during combustion at high temperatures. Nitrogen oxides are created mainly by vehicles, though do occur naturally during lightning strikes given our air is almost 80% nitrogen, and are the major contributor to smog in cities, though a critical distinction should be made between Nitrogen Oxides and Nitrous Oxide, most commonly known as an alternative oxygen source for performance engines or for use as an anesthetic. Nitrous Oxide is a greenhouse gas however and when combusted does actually create Nitrogen Oxides.
The allegations against Volkswagen involve almost 500,000 diesel engined models and possible fines amounting to over £12 billion ($18 billion USD). As the auto industry rebounds in America, now is a critical time to be present in the U.S. market. Volkswagen was in the process of rebranding diesel power, giving it the face of clean power and efficiency when used in their brand of diesel engines, hoping to bring an edge to their VW brand. In a Business Insider Article, Armdt Ellinghosrt, an auto analyst, pointed out a sad reality of the situation,
[With] “the largest R&D budget globally in any sector,” VW couldn’t figure out how to make a large number of its diesel engines emissions compliant in the US.
Diesel engines, not only VWs, have been subjected to scrutiny and questioned as to whether government testing actually accounts for everything that is actually emitted. This could not only be hit for VW, but also a hit for all diesel vehicles, though it could also lead to an examination of the U.S.’s emission standards. Let us know your thoughts, how should VW be held accountable for this somewhat devious behavior? Let us know in the comments or on Google+, Twitter, or Facebook!