Volkswagen deiselgate scandal has stirred up massive controversy within the company and across the globe. Volkswagen diesel engine emission deception will have devastating results for years to come. The company faces penalties to the extent of $18 billion (INR 1.17 lakh crores) while VW has lost around $22 billion (INR 1.5 lakh crores) in market value alone. It also resulted in the resignation of Group CEO Dr Winterkorn and suspension of many employees.
But how did these fudged tests come to light? The problems with VW diesel cars first came to the attention of regulators after International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT) and West Virginia University (WVU) conducted research on real world emission performance.
VW Jetta, VW Passat and BMW X5 were tested by WVU and put forth its report to ICCT in October 2014. The tests were conducted on portable emission modeling systems that include gas analyzer probes that enter the tailpipe and connection to on board computers. The reports indicated that these tested vehicles emitted 20 times more NOx over the emission limit. Smog, acid rain and increased levels of lung disease (including cancer) are the result of increased levels of NOx in the atmosphere.
ICCT tests indicated that VW Jetta fitted with a Lean NOx trap was among worst offenders. The vehicle requires an EPA certificate called Tier 2 Bin 5/ULEV II, which indicates that the vehicle emits njust 0.05 NOx gms/mile while ICCT tests on the Jetta found emission well over required standard at 3.96 gms/mile. The team drove VW Passat and VW Jetta across West Coast with huge rigs in the trunk connected to exhaust system to find nitrogen oxide emissions over 20 times legal limit.
VW has admitted to use of defeat device software that artificially lowered emission during lab testing. The company is currently under investigation and according the EPA the diesel vehicles that are affected by Volkswagen diesel deception include Jetta – MY 2009-15, Jetta Sportwagen –MY 2009-14, Beetle – MY 2012-15, Beetle Convertible – MY 2012-15, Audi A3 – MY 2010-15, Golf – MY 2010-15, Golf Sportwagen – 2015 and Passat – MY 2012-15.