"optimization software": so banal vw confesses to its customers the exhaust gas

Posted by tetley at 2020-03-09

Millions of VW owners can now find out on the Internet whether the Schummel code is in their diesel engines. However, customers only read at the margins of their insight into the company's own criminal energy.

The Volkswagen Group has manoeuvred itself into the biggest crisis in its history with an unprecedented trickery. However, he tries to sell the gas manipulation to his customers as harmlessly as possible. VW drivers can check by car number on the Internet if their diesel engine is affected by the affair. This is the turbine seat called EA189, which is built in numerous cars by VW, Audi or Skoda.

"Optimized exhaust values"

The deception is quite euphemistic about VW, as shown by the example of a VW Golf VI 2.0 TDI construction year 2013: "We regret to inform you that the diesel engine installed in your vehicle (...) is affected by a software that optimizes nitrogen oxide values (NOx) in the test run (NEFZ), the communication says. We are now working on a "technical solution".

At first glance, this reads like an ordinary recall due to a software error. In any case, VW does not tell customers about the true background. After all, "We deeply regret that we have disappointed your confidence," the communication says.

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Massive damage to brand

The exhaust gas scandal has already caused massive damage to the Volkswagen brand. In the annual ranking of the most valuable brands published on Monday, the value determined by Interbrand for Europe's largest car manufacturer dropped by nine per cent to well 12,45 billion dollars (11,1 billion euro),"the news agency dpa reports. In the ranking, Volkswagen slipped from the 31st. on the 35. Move aside.

What threatens affected drivers?

Up to seven. In October, VW will have to submit a plan to the Federal Office of Motor Vehicles (KBA) for future compliance with the exhaust gas limits.

According to experts, it is not yet clear whether a software update is done for all vehicles. In addition, it remains open whether the consumption and performance of the vehicles will change after the revision. This should be decisive for the question of whether customers can, for example, subsequently challenge the contract of sale of the cars concerned.

Future measurement in real operation

In any case, the German car industry has done Volkswagen a disservice. After all, the decision taken months ago to include the gas measurement in real-life driving in the new consumption cycle WLTP (see Info Box) is unlikely to be softened by so much lobbying.

Consumption: This means NEFZ, WLTP and RDE

The automotive industry is facing an important change: the old measurement cycle for standard consumption (NEFZ) is gradually being replaced by a new world-wide cycle (WLTP). This is intended to bring consumption data closer to reality. These concepts play a role:

CO2 limit values: After the emission of CO2, although not classified as a pollutant but classified as harmful to the global climate, the vehicle tax (next to the lift space) is calculated. By the end of the 2020-year period, new cars are expected to blow only 95 grams of CO2 per kilometre out of the exhaust.

NEFZ (New European Driving Cycle): Consumption and exhaust values have been measured uniformly in the NEFZ since the beginning of the 1990s. The point is the comparability between the models of different manufacturers. However, the consumption values are measured only on the roller test bench and, according to experts, car manufacturers can beautify the measurement results with various tricks.

WLTP (Worlwide Harmonized Light Duty Test Procedure): The WLTP is to replace the NEFZ in the future. The new standard is to be introduced from 2017, but only gradually. For example, vehicle manufacturers may continue to use the NEFZ to determine the EU limit value of 95 grams of CO2 emissions up to the 2020-year period. In the new cycle, among other things, higher speeds (maximum 131 km/h instead of before 120) are driven, the extra weight of special equipment is taken into account and there is a lower share of service life. Initial measurements show that many cars now consume more than before in the new cycle, but some also consume less.

RDE (Real Drive Emission): From September 2017, it is planned to test the air emissions of cars on the road using portable emission measurement systems (PEMS). So the car is not moved on a roller test bench, but in real traffic.

Blue plaque: In addition to RDE measurements, the German Environmental Aid (DUH) is calling for the introduction of a new ecozone plaque to identify particularly low-polluting cars. Even those who have a green label should no longer go into certain environmental zones. It is mainly nitrogen oxide emissions. The requirements for the blue sticker would be met by many (even older) petrol vehicles, but not by many diesel vehicles, not even by all cars already complying with the Euro 6 standard.