— The Company “Totally Screwed Up”
Regulators in the US have charged the German car manufacturer Volkswagen with deliberately cheating on its emissions tests, an accusation that will have a direct affect on around half a million of the four cylinder cars that have been sold in the US over the past seven years.
According to reports, the CARB (California Air Resources Board) has said that the company admits to its cheating ways and has come clean with the whole issue. Turns out, the car company used code that was buried deep within its software which could detect when it was being driven on the emissions test cycle, at which point it would turn on its emissions control system which would be working at reduced levels normally. While the company said that the controls were reduced to let the engine run more economically, the fact is that the engine emits more oxides of nitrogen called NOx which eventually forms toxic smog in the atmosphere.
The issue has since gone nationwide, and the EPA has also issued a Notice of Violation to Volkswagen, saying that the NOx emissions in VW cars could be anywhere between 10 to 40 times more than the legal limits. While the case is a nightmare for the company, Martin Winterkorn, the Group Chief Executive has issued a statement which sounds something like an admission of guilt and has also said that the company will be carrying its own independent inquiry into the matter.
The existence of the defeat device means that the cars do not comply with the federal standards, which is why VW has halted the sale of the 2.0 diesels in the US. But, what’s even worse is that this means that Volkswagen could also be fined $37,500 per car for the 482,000 cars that have been affected, bringing it to a grand total of 12 billion in fines. It is evident that the story will take a long time to play out and by the looks of it, there is still much that we do not know about.