Volkswagen Diesel Scandal

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by vrDrew, Sep 22, 2015.

  1. vrDrew macrumors 65816

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    #1
    The revelation that Volkswagen has been cheating its on its EPA testing; in reality spewing out many times more harmful pollution than advertised, is quite shocking to me.

    A couple of notes: I was curious exactly how VW engineers got the cars to recognize they were in "testing" mode - actually pretty simple. The cars traction control systems were set up to recognize when they were on a dynamometer - with the vehicles front wheels spinning away, while the rear ones remained motionless. This apparently triggered a routine in the electronic engine control module that resulted in much lower emissions - but would have a real-world effect of sluggish performance and poor fuel economy.

    Its been an open-secret in the PC chipmaking business that companies like Invidia and AMD similarly "game" common benchmarking tests. I'm just surprised that VW thought it could get away with something like this in the automobile field, which is obviously much more tightly regulated.

    Also - diesel vehicles are much more popular in Europe for a variety of reasons I've never completely understood.

    I'm also curious to know how the recall of all those VWs is going to play out. Customers who have their cars recalled might get better emissions results - but they are likely to find their cars suddenly get worse mileage and very much slower acceleration. Somehow I can understand how many owners might elect not to take VW up on their recall offer.
     
  2. bradl macrumors 68040

    bradl

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    #2
    I would think the opposite. I would think that some of the owners would put the onus on VW to fix their cars on their own dime (as a recall would do) to get their emissions results up to the state's given standards. If not, they would have to compensate those owners for their smeg up. That compensation could be anything between a tweak to their engine to get it up to standard, to a rebuild of their engine to get it up to standard, to having the owner roll off the lot with a new card.

    This really does put VW owners at the advantage here.

    BL.
     
  3. BoxerGT2.5 macrumors 68000

    BoxerGT2.5

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    #3
    Anything can be done with software or electronics. I had a 450HP Subaru Legacy GT that didn't have any of it's catalytic converters (two of them) and was methanol injected and it passed the emission test by a simple program I ran sitting right in line at the emission testing center. :)
     
  4. MOFS macrumors 65816

    MOFS

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    #4
    I think diesels are more popular in Europebecause they are taxed lower because of supposed lower emissions, however these appear to be only in lab tests and are thought not to be as significant as previously thought (with VW exaggerating this further).

    The falsified lab tests for mobile phone companies is not just an open secret, it's open. http://www.anandtech.com/show/7384/state-of-cheating-in-android-benchmarks I can't find an article these manufacturers were fined any money (let alone $18million) which follows up your point about consumer protection/ advertising being less regulated than automobile emissions.
     
  5. Renzatic Suspended

    Renzatic

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    #5
    The most shocking thing about it is that they did it to begin with. It's pretty much an inevitability that someone will eventually catch on. What do they think would happen when that day finally comes?

    Though considering all the crap we've seen car manufacturers pull recently, this is pretty low ball stuff. Unlike Ford, GM, and Honda, who all knowingly allowed a severe defect to pass, because dealing with the lawsuits would be cheaper than a recall, at least no one died or were put at serious peril over it. I say they fix the problem, pay their fines, and everyone moves on.
     
  6. Sedulous macrumors 68000

    Sedulous

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    #6
    Diesel is the worst fuel there is. The exhaust particles are the exact right size for causing lung cancer. Likewise the chemicals from diesel are worse than just CO2.
     
  7. APlotdevice macrumors 68040

    APlotdevice

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    #7
    Will the fallout from this cost the company more than what they have made by doing this? If not, then it's just "good business"!
     
  8. heehee macrumors 68020

    heehee

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    #8
    I was wondering where this thread was, it's been a few days.

    It boggles my mind why an employee or employees would even do this. It's not like they have personal financial gain as in stealing data and selling it to another company.

    Time to buy the stock I guess.
     
  9. Renzatic Suspended

    Renzatic

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    #9
    This situation is a little different, because they did it all for performance gains. No problems to deal with, or problems to ignore. Hell, it probably cost them more to implement the cheat than it would have going by the standards.
     
  10. BoxerGT2.5, Sep 22, 2015
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2015

    BoxerGT2.5 macrumors 68000

    BoxerGT2.5

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    #10
    If their goal is greater adoption of diesel in the US (which it is), then yes. VW is highly invested in their diesel program and diesel is already used in Europe far more than the US. If the estimates are true that those cars dump 15-30 times more pollutants when the emission controls are off, they have a steep uphill task to get them down to acceptable levels without severely denigrating performance. If they do it by tuning the ECU alone the cars performance will certainly take a hit. If they do it by ECU tuning and retrofitting a urea injection system (common on most diesel motors in order to scrub the NO2, just not the ones found to have violated the law), then the performance would likely remain within a tolerable range. Retrofitting the urea injection would likely cost a few thousand per vehicle.
     
  11. giantfan1224 macrumors 6502a

    giantfan1224

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    #12
    I've wondered about this. If owners don't take their cars in to get the fix their cars won't legitimately pass emissions. Won't emission testing centers be required to see that the software patch was implemented before they could test and provide a certificate? And if that means owners will then have to put up with sluggishness and worse mpg, would they have recourse to have VW be required to buy back their cars or spend thousands to upgrade the performance?
     
  12. localoid macrumors 68020

    localoid

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    #13
    Organized and carried on primarily for the profit of the stockholders yadda, yadda, yadda...
     
  13. AustinIllini macrumors demi-god

    AustinIllini

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    #14
    It's not that simple. Odds are, there is no real fix to this. In order to fix emissions, it may be necessary to severely cripple the engine in order to improve economy. It will be quite difficult to quantify
    1) What the actual value of the lost performance is
    2) What the loss of value of the car is as a result of this issue

    Either way, VW owners likely are way behind on both counts.
     
  14. lowendlinux Contributor

    lowendlinux

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    #15
    Because my wifes 116D gets ~60MPG and Diesel is about $.20 per L cheaper.
     
  15. VulchR macrumors 68020

    VulchR

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    #16
    Another failure of poorly regulated capitalism. Who'd thought?
     
  16. Happybunny macrumors 68000

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    #17
    I'm just waiting for the other auto manufacrures to be caught out, I cannot believe that only VW did this.:(
     
  17. giantfan1224 macrumors 6502a

    giantfan1224

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    #18
    So how should it have been better regulated in this case? If current oversight could've seen this sort of thing coming then there should've been something already in place to prevent it but you're always going to have cases like this that will force a corrective rather than a preventive action. A hefty fine and bad publicity should be enough dissuade other similar acts in the future. VW will most likely take it hard on the chin for this.
     
  18. giantfan1224 macrumors 6502a

    giantfan1224

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    #19
    This is very easy to detect. VW was a bit brazen in their fraud so I'd be surprised if others were as careless because, IMO, the negatives far outweigh the positives here.
     
  19. AustinIllini macrumors demi-god

    AustinIllini

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    #20
    Honestly, this level of deceit is so bad, I wouldn't expect a regulator to look for it, let alone catch it.
     
  20. VulchR macrumors 68020

    VulchR

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    #21
    EPA's budget has been cut year after year. The tests for emissions are not realistic, and in the US the tests are less well designed than in Europe.

    As for fines and so on, the only people who will be hurt are the consumers, taxpayers and workers. the managers and investors will cloak themselves in lawyers and they'll weasel out of any responsibility or personal liability as they always do.
     
  21. vrDrew, Sep 23, 2015
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2015

    vrDrew thread starter macrumors 65816

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    #22

    Mercedes and BMW, two makers of luxury diesel cars; achieves high performance with low emissions by installing a system that injects urea into the combustion process. This apparently has the effect of scrubbing the nasty nitrogen compounds from the exhaust.

    Its very effective; however it comes at a cost - reportedly several thousand dollars per vehicle; the system takes up valuable space; and periodically
    the urea needs to be replenished at the dealer service department.


    Diesel: Fast; clean; and cheap. Pick any two out of the three.


    Lastly, I would note that, once again - it was regulators in the United States that uncovered a case of widespread cheating within a fundamentally European institution. For all of Europe's legendary legislative and regulatory power - how come its American prosecutors and bureaucrats that keep catching the bad guys?
     
  22. tshrimp macrumors 6502

    tshrimp

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    #23
    I am wondering if they do get fixed on the recall if there will be money compensation for VW vehicles now not meeting the EPAs MPG. Hyundai, and I think Ford, both had to pay out due to false MPG claims.

    Best thing about this...I was looking at a VW, and usually after these things prices get cheaper :). See Ford Firestone tire issue, Toyota brake issue, etc.
     
  23. tshrimp macrumors 6502

    tshrimp

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    #24
    What the heck does this have to do with capitalism? Irrelevant here as the EPA would have been involved either way and would have missed it either way. It is capitalism that will keep them more honest in the future as people will speak with their wallets and stop buying from manufacturers who participate in these seedy practices.

    Is this not why some of us have Macs? We did not like the things Microsoft was doing, so we spoke up by going over to Mac. We spoke with our wallet, and I have to admit...Apple makes mine way too light :)
     

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