‘Dieselgate’ Update: Emissions Cheating Scandal Caused Enough Pollution to Kill 60 People, Study Finds
November 1 – According to a new study published in Environmental Research Letters, around 60 Americans have already died due to diesel emissions from Volkswagen and Audi vehicles. VW installed 500,000 ‘defect devices’ in their cars that were designed to avoid federal pollution requirements in the U.S. and Europe. The researchers also claim that at least 140 more U.S. citizens will die if the cars are not recalled and repaired.
What’s the problem?
According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Volkswagen put “defeat device” software in its 2.0-liter turbo diesel vehicles that allowed them to emit up to 40 times the allowed limit of nitrogen oxide (NOx) while appearing in tests to be within legal limits. The software was installed in approximately 11 million vehicles worldwide, including about 482,000 vehicles sold in the U.S.
Emissions Cheat Exploited Vehicles’ “Test Mode”
Defeat devices allow the vehicles to meet environmental standards when tested on a dynamometer in a laboratory. However, when driven on the road, the cars spewed pollution. The software is able to detect when the vehicle is being tested by analyzing data including steering position, speed, duration of engine operation and barometric pressure, and then adjusting performance and emissions to pass the test.
How Did Volkswagen Get Caught?
Volkswagen was caught by independent testing carried out by the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT), a clean-air advocacy group. For more than a year, VW maintained to U.S. officials that it hadn’t done anything wrong. Only recently did the automaker admit that it had installed the software to get around emissions standards.
Is My Car Affected?
Defeat device software was installed in the following diesel cars:
- 2010-2015 Audi A1, A3, A4, A5, A6, TT, Q3 and Q5
- 2009-2015 Volkswagen Jetta & Jetta Sportswagen
- 2010-2015 Volkswagen Golf & Golf Sportswagen
- 2012-2015 Volkswagen Beetle & Beetle Convertible
- 2012-2015 Volkswagen Passat
Audi Says 2.1M Cars Affected by Emissions Issue
VW to Recall 11 Million Diesel Cars with Emissions Cheat Software
Volkswagen has announced plans to recall and refit up to 11 million vehicles equipped with defeat device software, according to Reuters. New VW Chief Matthias Mueller said the automaker would ask customers to have diesel cars with the software updated, a move that could cost Volkswagen more than $10 billion. Click here to learn more.
Volkswagen Chief to Slash Costs, Investments to Preserve Credit Rating
Volkswagen’s new chief executive Matthias Müller announced that the beleaguered automaker is prepared to slash costs and eliminate all unnecessary spending to cover the costs of dieselgate, in a move he declared “will not be painless.” Müller, who took over as VW’s CEO after Martin Winterkorn stepped down last month, has the unenviable task of winning back customer trust, uncovering who was behind the emissions cheat software, and finding a way to pay for fines, lawsuits and other expenses. Click here to learn more.
California Woman Files VW Emissions Fraud Class Action
A 41-year-old Redondo Beach woman who purchased a new VW less than 12 hours after news of the emissions scandal broke has filed a class action lawsuit against the company, according to the Long Beach Press-Telegram. Plaintiff Amy Bergrud filed the complaint this week on behalf of customers who purchased or leased modified Volkswagen or Audi TDIs — particularly those whose purchases occurred after September 3. Click here to learn more.
Audi Recall to Begin January 2016
October 8 – Volkswagen will start recalling VW and Audi diesel vehicles affected by the emissions scandal early next year, according to CBS News. Up to 11 million cars worldwide contain the diesel engine with the software used to cheat U.S. emissions tests. VW said the recall should be completed by the end of 2016.
October 13 – Volkswagen announced this week that it will begin recalling 1,950 diesel vehicles in China to remove defeat device software designed to trick emissions testing. According to BBC News, the Chinese recall affects 1,946 imported Volkswagen Tiguan SUVs and 4 Passat B6 sedans. Click here to learn more.