What were they thinking? VW has been found to have fitted its TDI engines with a device to change emissions during testing.
There is a lot of coverage about this. Automotive News, Jalopnik, Autocar, NY Times, NY Times and NY Times. What has happened? Volkswagen said on Sunday that it would halt sales of cars in the United States equipped with the kind of diesel motors that had led regulators to accuse the German company of illegally installing software to evade standards for reducing smog.
It gets worse: “Volkswagen, the world’s top-selling automaker, lost a stunning 17.1 percent of its value Monday after admitting that it intentionally rigged nearly half a million cars to defeat U.S. smog tests.” The Obama administration, meanwhile, announced it is expanding its investigation of what it’s calling ‘defeat devices’ in diesel vehicles, to make sure other manufacturers aren’t using similar schemes to thwart federal Clean Air laws.
“Volkswagen has now admitted that it intentionally installed software programmed to switch engines to a cleaner mode during official emissions testing. The software then switches off again, enabling cars to drive more powerfully on the road while emitting as much as 40 times the legal pollution limit.”
There are some very good engineers in VW. I am very curious to know how intelligent people even considered trying this trick. Unusually for the car industry the sin is one of commission not omission. For the latter you can claim stupidity or ignorance (which is bad enough). Can someone really claim the defeat device was an error and not something calculated? VW’s position in the US will take a hammering and there will be a lot of corporate bloodshed as responsibility is apportioned. My question right now is did Ferdinand Piëch know about this?