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Volkswagen Group orders external investigation of emissions testing violations, pledges full support to EPA and ARB

On Friday, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and California Air Resources Board (ARB) charged that, based on ARB testing, Volkswagen and Audi passenger cars equipped with 2.0L diesels have used a software defeat device to cheat on the results of NOx testing, and thus have violated the US Clean Air Act. (Earlier post.)

On Sunday, Volkswagen Group CEO Prof. Dr. Martin Winterkorn said that Volkswagen does “not and will not tolerate violations of any kind of our internal rules or of the law”, and said that the company “will cooperate fully with the responsible agencies, with transparency and urgency, to clearly, openly, and completely establish all of the facts of this case.” Volkswagen has ordered an external investigation as well.

The Board of Management at Volkswagen AG takes these findings very seriously. I personally am deeply sorry that we have broken the trust of our customers and the public.

The trust of our customers and the public is and continues to be our most important asset. We at Volkswagen will do everything that must be done in order to re-establish the trust that so many people have placed in us, and we will do everything necessary in order to reverse the damage this has caused. This matter has first priority for me, personally, and for our entire Board of Management.

—Prof. Dr. Martin Winterkorn

EPA issued a notice of violation (NOV) of the Clean Air Act (CAA) alleging that Volkswagen and Audi cars from model years 2009-2015 equipped with 2.0-liter, four-cylinder diesels include software (a “defeat device”) that circumvents EPA emissions standards for NOx. California separately issued an In-Use Compliance letter to Volkswagen, and EPA and the California Air Resources Board (ARB) have both initiated investigations based on Volkswagen’s alleged actions.

The agencies charged that the electronic control module (ECM) in the vehicles in question—roughly 482,000 diesel passenger cars—sold in the US since 2008—contains software that detects when the car is undergoing official emissions testing. Based on that ability, during EPA emission testing, the tainted ECM ran software which produced compliant emissions results under an unique ECM calibration. At all other times during normal vehicle operation, the vehicle ECM software ran a separate road calibration which reduced the effectiveness of the emission control system (specifically the selective catalytic reduction or the lean NOx trap).

As result, emissions of NOx increased by a factor of 10 to 40 times above the EPA compliant levels, depending on the the of drive cycle, the agencies charged.

VW may be liable for significant civil penalties and injunctive relief for the violations alleged in the NOV, as well as the cost of recalling and correcting the vehicles.

Comments

HarveyD

@ NL:

Regardless of negative comments from many posters, REs with some sort of storage, are the fastest growing energy sources and growing faster (than other sources) year after year.

CCPs are going the other way.

NPPs have (relatively) stagnated for decades.

NGPPs are short term interim (not so clean) electricity sources

Solar and/or Wind coupled with Hydro are the best matches for clean 24/7 e-energy.

Electrified vehicles users will want to use electricity from REs.... not frpm CPPs, NGPPs or NPPs.

SJC

Among 200 million vehicles in the U.S. I don't think 500,000 VW diesels are going to ruin the air, in this case it is the cheating that matters. Since about 1 in 1000 vehicles sold is pure EV, we will not have to worry about the grid right now.

We need solutions soon not 40 years from now. We import more oil now in the U.S. compared to 40 years ago at a much higher price, this is not progress. Cellulose ethanol in hybrid cars can reduce oil imports, clean the air and reduce CO2 emissions, this is something we can do NOW.

Lad

Nick:
The main advantage of RE is one many bypass by short-thinking only the cost. That advantage is you only need to spend the money once; you don't continue to feed the monster by mining and reform, refining, transporting, distributing and burning chemicals in the atmosphere.

Engineer-Poet

I'm quoting this as a textbook example of dogmatic Green delusion:

Electrification is poor method to disperse Btu's. Best to limit use of the grid per the extreme cost, upkeep, dynamic balancing, problem energy storage, low efficiency distribution, extreme cost to expand and update, etc.

The US grid has a net efficiency of about 93%, kWh in to kWh out, and its cost depends mostly on its peak capacity rather than energy transferred; cutting use without reducing peak demand increases per-unit costs.  Such word-salad objections have the look of propaganda, designed to serve the fossil-fuel industry.

Natural gas via pipeline distribution is extremely efficient Btu distribution as compared.

And here the fossil-fuel industry gets its shout-out.  Emily never talks about gas pipeline capacity limits, which would have left much of the east coast in rolling blackouts during the polar vortex cold snaps had it not been for plants switching to stockpiles of fuel oil and even jet fuel.  Those fuels are obscenely expensive, and had cost recovery not been adjusted after the fact some generators might have gone broke.

These problems are inherent in gas reliance, but they don't register with Emily.  She's a gas-industry shill in Green clothing.

Engineer-Poet
The main advantage of RE is one many bypass by short-thinking only the cost. That advantage is you only need to spend the money once

This is more delusion.  Wind systems have so far had lifespans around 20 years or less, while PV has far too low EROI to sustain any system reliant on it.  If you had to live on their output you would only spend the money once because then you'd be broke and quickly reduced to pre-industrial existence.

SJC

Just criticizing others is not helpful.

Engineer-Poet

Pointing out that a non-solution is not a solution is not merely helpful, it is ESSENTIAL for achieving actual solutions.

SJC

Providing solutions is helpful, all I see is criticism.

HarveyD

It may take E-P a decade or two, but sooner or latter he will realize that REs are gaining i size, reliability, lower cost and total energy production over other energy sources.

He will not be abe to refute facts for too many more years.

Engineer-Poet

We have the solution in hand.  It's called nuclear power.  We also have a bunch of people who either believe humanity must return to the stone age, or the only morally legitimate sources of energy are directly or indirectly from the sun (with a smattering of geothermal).  These people insist that they have the solution to e.g. climate change and energy scarcity, but they have never proven their assertions and their programs continue to rely on natural gas and even coal.  The only possible conclusions are that they are deluded or lying.

Ontario has a grid that emits something over 100 g(CO2) per kWh.  France is down to 70 or so, and Sweden is down around 20.  "Green" Denmark is well over 300 grams, and Germany is closer to 500 grams.  This is your "solution" to climate change and air pollution?  You're crazy.

HarveyD

Our very low cost, reliable Hydro + Wind has much lower CO2/kWh than stated above.

The local Micmac Original Nation people are currently installing one of the most productive direct drive very large (89+) wind turbines wind energy farm in the Gaspé QC Peninsula, on 400+ feet towers. Slower turning, longer heated blades will produce less noise and reduce collisions with birds.

The $120+M in NET revenues will be used by the local Micmac community to build more schools and medical facilities.

HarveyD

NL.....look (stick) around for another 5 years and you may have to change your mind about REs.

Engineer-Poet
Our very low cost, reliable Hydro + Wind has much lower CO2/kWh than stated above.

Are you sufficiently deluded as to believe that the world has as much per-capita hydro potential as Quebec?  Please remember that neither vertical relief nor rainfall can be engineered.  Also, what are your costs of settlement with the First Nations for putting their residential, hunting and burial lands underwater, Harvey? 

Quebec has roughly 8 million people living on about 1.36 million km² of land, or roughly 6 people per km².  That is an extremely low population density.  The contiguous 48 states of the USA cover a bit over 8 million km², and housed 306.7 million as of the 2010 census; that is 38 per km², more than 6 times the population density of Quebec.  It trivially follows that land-area-dependent energy solutions that are sufficient for Quebec are, ceteris paribus, likely to be insufficient for the USA... or anyplace on earth that is more densely populated.  The USA also has large areas which get little rainfall, and the result is just as you'd expect:  despite major rivers having been maxed out for decades, hydro produces less than 7% of total US electric generation.

The local Micmac Original Nation people are currently installing one of the most productive direct drive very large (89+) wind turbines wind energy farm

A whole 150 megawatts nameplate; at 35% CF, just 52 MW average.  A look at HQ's list of hydro facilities suggests that HQ has around 20 GW of hydro capacity alone.  It would take 38 such farms to equal the nameplate capacity of the Robert-Bourassa hydro facility alone, and wind has zero ability to respond to demand.

Harvey will go on and on about wind and solar "renewables" because it's his monomania.  The reality is that they are of little use and even less worth, both for the grid and for the environment.

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