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Earth Transportation

Emissions Scandal Expands: Mercedes-Benz, Honda, Mazda, and Mitsubishi (theguardian.com) 420

An anonymous reader writes: Volkswagen has taken some serious heat for deliberately circumventing emissions tests with "defeat devices" in some of their vehicles. While no other cars have been found to use specific devices to fool tests in the same way, we're now learning that many manufacturers still mysteriously perform worse in the real world. Last week, the Guardian revealed that diesel cars from Nissan, Hyundai, Citroen, Fiat, Volvo, and Renault emitted significantly more pollution in realistic driving conditions than the tests supposedly allow. Now, we learn that vehicles from Mercedes-Benz, Honda, Mazda, and Mitsubishi emit substantially more than they should as well. For example: "Mercedes-Benz's diesel cars produced an average of 0.406g/km of NOx on the road, at least 2.2 times more than the official Euro 5 level and five times higher than the Euro 6 level. Honda's diesel cars emitted 0.484g/km of NOx on average, between 2.6 and six times the official levels." This provides clear evidence that the automotive industry is designing its cars to follow the letter of the law (passing tests), but not the spirit (actually reducing pollution).
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Emissions Scandal Expands: Mercedes-Benz, Honda, Mazda, and Mitsubishi

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  • Maybe (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 09, 2015 @09:39AM (#50692565)

    Or it reveals that the testing mechanism was always wrong. It's a leap to say that differences between the tests and "real driving" represent fraud, until it's proven that the cheating mechanism is actually there (as it is in VW).

    • Re:Maybe (Score:4, Insightful)

      by MatthiasF ( 1853064 ) on Friday October 09, 2015 @09:43AM (#50692597)
      Wish I had mod points, but I agree with this sentiment. Tests present a statistical average but real-world terrain and human driving is all but average.
      • Re:Maybe (Score:5, Insightful)

        by tripleevenfall ( 1990004 ) on Friday October 09, 2015 @09:57AM (#50692693)

        Obviously, it's important for a test to always be uniform. If you tried to test cars under "realistic" driving conditions the tests would all be different.

        Realistic driving conditions are variations in temperature, terrain, traffic flow, etc.

        Realistic driving conditions vary based on the habits of the driver.

        Realistic driving conditions vary based on the condition of the car over time.

        Maybe instead of ballyhooing these tests, we should apply common sense to them. Maybe we should see them as a group of data points and not a limits, guarantees, or absolutes?

        • by pchimp ( 767649 )

          Obviously, it's important for a test to always be uniform. If you tried to test cars under "realistic" driving conditions the tests would all be different.

          ...

          Maybe instead of ballyhooing these tests, we should apply common sense to them. Maybe we should see them as a group of data points and not a limits, guarantees, or absolutes?

          Indeed, it sounds like these results should simply inform a better coefficient for expected real-world performance based on the standardized tests.

        • by dj245 ( 732906 )

          Obviously, it's important for a test to always be uniform. If you tried to test cars under "realistic" driving conditions the tests would all be different.

          Realistic driving conditions are variations in temperature, terrain, traffic flow, etc.

          Realistic driving conditions vary based on the habits of the driver.

          Realistic driving conditions vary based on the condition of the car over time.

          Maybe instead of ballyhooing these tests, we should apply common sense to them. Maybe we should see them as a group of data points and not a limits, guarantees, or absolutes?

          Best way would be-
          1. Place devices in 1000 or so vehicles, all over the country, in different settings (urban, rural, suburb) with drivers of all different ages. Measure accelerator position, speed, brake pedal position, exterior temperature, interior temperature, AC/heating load, etc.
          2. Come up with some average of this sample. The average becomes the emissions regimen, and the vehicle is exercised by computer control to match this average.
          3. Emissions/MPG are based on the vehicle matching these avera

          • by mrvan ( 973822 )

            Best way would be-
            1. Place devices in 1000 or so vehicles, [...]

            A problem with this is that it can only be done post-hoc, while these tests are designed to test whether a vehicle is allowed on the road at all. And even with such a test the software could potentially detect such a device (by monitoring the data transmissions or whatever). I agree that the regulators test should be as strict and as realistic as possible while still being standardized enough to be useful, but willful cheating is corporate crime and should be prosecuted as such.

            The information you propose w

        • Are you in the car industry? I'm sure they fully agree with you ;-)

          I think may of those variations can be actually controlled without testing on a dynamo meter in a lab:
          - Testing on a test track eliminates terrain, traffic and conditions of the car over time.
          - Having a clear test scenario and test profile will elliminate the drivers habits and if you drive one way and then the other the wind effects should be minimal.

          Then you only need to add a maximum wind speed and a clear day and maximum and miminum temp

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      The testing mechanism may not necessarily "wrong" as much as it may be overly limited to specific conditions. Testing that specific conditions that are only present during tests (front wheels not moving while rear wheels are at 35.1 & then 55MPH for X distance) & changing the fuel injection to limit NO as VW did is cheating. Defining "realistic driving conditions" as rriving uphill or at higher speed than specified in the tests & producing more pollutants isn't.

      IMO, the book values on HP & t

      • Re:Maybe (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Rei ( 128717 ) on Friday October 09, 2015 @10:09AM (#50692777) Homepage

        Indeed. VW did very egregious cheating, deliberately detecting tests and then optimizing for them. It sounds like these others are not engaging a "test mode"; but have optimized themselves for conditions that are tested for (at the expense of power and fuel efficiency) while optimized themselves for power and fuel efficiency in conditions that aren't tested for. Not as egregious, but still clearly problematic. There's clearly gaping holes in the system.

        It also puts to lie this massive increase in diesel cleanliness over the years. It's improved, no question, but not nearly as much as has been marketed, particularly in smaller, cheaper vehicles. The same old choice remains: you can get a ~15% increase in fuel efficiency by mass (~30% by volume), and thus ~15% reduction in CO2 emissions, by going with a diesel, but it'll come at the cost of a more expensive engine (has to be built stronger to handle the higher compression, all issues of additional pollution control systems aside) and will kick out more health-impacting pollutants. And it just comes down to chemistry: if you burn fuel in air at hotter temperatures and/or higher pressures, you favor the production of chemicals like NOx - high temperatures and pressures make nitrogen more reactive. And you're going to kick out more PM for similar reasons. The higher temperatures and pressures help with CO and unburned hydrocarbons (they favor more complete combustion), but the scale of the added NOx and PM problems are much greater.

        Contrary to what they've been pretending, a major way that car manufacturers appear to have been reducing NOx emissions in diesels is simply by burning their fuel cooler / less efficiently in conditions that are being tested for, and hotter the rest of the time to keep their performance and efficiency numbers up.

        • Re:Maybe (Score:4, Interesting)

          by DarkOx ( 621550 ) on Friday October 09, 2015 @10:35AM (#50692953) Journal

          It sounds like these others are not engaging a "test mode"; but have optimized themselves for conditions that are tested for (at the expense of power and fuel efficiency) while optimized themselves for power and fuel efficiency in conditions that aren't tested for.

          Or the tests simply don't reflect the typical driver at all. Look the EPA sticker on my car says 39mph high way. Where I live there isn't much other traffic most of the time. Its pretty rural so the determining factor is more my driving than anything else. Weather and time of year in terms of summer blend vs winter gas probably has an effect as well. If I moderate my driving I can get well over the sticker, I have averaged as high as 42mpg over a tanks. The way I usually drive, I get about 27.

          I don't suspect cheating either because I can reproduce the results to my satisfaction. It don't even think its a case of optimizing to the test. I think its just a case of optimizing period. The best fuel economy is observed by traveling at a constant speed and accelerating slowly when that is required. Highway travel is usually constant speed over several miles or more @55-75mph, so that is the behavior that should be targeted. Its pretty easy to work out that is what the car is optimized to do just using your trip odometer and recording how much fuel you buy. Sure you could tune it to deliver better acceleration (just change the gear ratios would be one obvious way) but the cost would probably be economy cruising, anyway you go about it.

          As other have pointed out the test has to be specific and control for as many variables as possible, otherwise we can't use it for comparative use cases. So add additional test conditions, maybe publish results and set standards for different driver profiles, aggressive, nominal, hyper miler, and publish them all. Don't develop a new single test case because you will create a perverse incentive to target that use case and it will likely be more distant from actual use than city/highway profiles they have now.

    • Cheating on the Test (Score:5, Informative)

      by e4liberty ( 537089 ) on Friday October 09, 2015 @10:50AM (#50693051)
      There was an article in last week's Economist on this. From recollection... in Europe, the testing is not done by an EPA-equivalent government agency, but by third party test labs. There, to get the business, the testers allow the auto manufacturers to rig the test: remove mirrors, remove all weighty optional equipment, remove seats, tape the door and window cracks, etc., etc. In other words, they are not testing the same car that they are selling.
    • Someone should nominate you for a Darwin award.

      " It's a leap to say that differences between the tests and "real driving" represent fraud, until it's proven that the cheating mechanism is actually there (as it is in VW)."

      Hey Potsy, they found cheating. You even referenced it in your post. FTA:

      "...carmakers designed vehicles that perform better in the lab than on the road. "

      So yeah car manufacturers are gaming the system.
  • Is there some compelling reason why these tests aren't being conducted in realistic conditions in the first place?

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      You need a controlled environment for consistent results.

    • Is there some compelling reason why these tests aren't being conducted in realistic conditions in the first place?

      Jobs. No government wants to all of a sudden have car manufacturers have to stop making diesels until they can comply and thus or lay off workers or require cash injections to stave off bankruptcy. In auditor, given the fuel cost advantage of diesel over gas the car buying public is likely to be upset. Since politicians neither want to piss off companies or voters they prefer to pretend the problem doesn't exist and delay changes through the beuracratic process know as "Studying the problem to come up with

    • Is there some compelling reason why these tests aren't being conducted in realistic conditions in the first place?

      Repeatability. If you can't repeat the measurement, then the result can result in a "he said"/"she said" fight in the courts or in administrative hearings. That said, the testing you do on the dynamometer should bear some relation to what actually happens in the field. Engineers will tune their products to the tests. Some engineers will also test "in real life", but only if they have time an

    • Because the car manufacturers don't like it. They have stalled the efforts (at least here in Europe) to have realistic test scenario's for many years: 'not objective' 'too expensive' etc.

      Now Europe has said it will push formward this legilation which has been ready for years. It clearly wants to make use of the momentum while the car industry is on the defence...

  • by RoTNCoRE ( 744518 ) on Friday October 09, 2015 @09:42AM (#50692593) Homepage

    I don't think diesel passenger cars will be a thing much longer in North America after this. And time to change the tests to measure results in real world usage conditions.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 09, 2015 @09:52AM (#50692649)

      I took autoshop in the late 90s. I remember my autoshop teacher swearing up and down that diesels could not be cleaned up enough to make a good passenger car engine. He swore up and down that they were cheating on emissions tests back then. Never underestimate the "shadetree mechanic" type of person.

    • by aaarrrgggh ( 9205 ) on Friday October 09, 2015 @09:56AM (#50692685)

      The standby generator market which I am very familiar with half jokingly refers to the next round of emission standards as "diesel air cleaners"-- the standby generators will be required to have cleaner air out of the exhaust pipe than what comes in.

      Emission standards have become very strict; while the objectives are good, they are pushing the realm of what is viable.

      For standby generators, continuous monitoring is practical, but when it takes 20-30 minutes to come up to full temperature and the normal run time is less than an hour, actual emissions are going to be much worse than the idealized continuous running state. We actually need to add artificial load to make the emissions control systems work properly-- increasing CO2 and NOx, and DPM t(o some level) in absolute terms, but reducing them relative to the engine size. I imagine cars are in a similar condition; "real world" is an ambiguous design condition.

    • by Spaham ( 634471 )

      well think again...

      http://s.newsweek.com/sites/ww... [newsweek.com]

      you forget the rednecks

  • by sjbe ( 173966 ) on Friday October 09, 2015 @09:45AM (#50692611)

    Ok, if they want to cheat then they should have to forfeit 3X any revenues (not profit which is a much smaller figure) they made from the products they sold. Have the money fund the EPA or something similar or refund the customers. Any engineer or manager who signed off on or was involved in this should be liable for damages as well as criminal charges with no corporate protection since this was a fraud.

    I've also read in the last day or two that VW is (predictiably) trying to claim that management knew nothing about the emissions and that "a handful" of engineers were responsible. While there were obviously engineers responsible I have NO doubt whatsoever that management requested and signed off on this. They're just trying to throw a few peons under the bus to save their own skin.

    • And now for what will actually happen:

      A round of wrist slapping followed by executive bonuses for successfully dealing with the crisis.

      • A round of wrist slapping followed by executive bonuses for successfully dealing with the crisis.

        Sad but probably true...

    • I've also read in the last day or two that VW is (predictiably) trying to claim that management knew nothing about the emissions and that "a handful" of engineers were responsible. While there were obviously engineers responsible I have NO doubt whatsoever that management requested and signed off on this. They're just trying to throw a few peons under the bus to save their own skin.

      Have you ever worked in a larger corporation? There are quite a few layers of managers and worker bees, so the upper layers do

      • Except, had you followed the story, you would know upper management knew.
      • Have you ever worked in a larger corporation?

        Probably more than most people reading this and I've spent a good chunk of my career (several decades) dealing directly with large automotive companies. I run a small company that is a supplier to some of these big companies we are talking about.

        There are quite a few layers of managers and worker bees, so the upper layers don't necessarily know what the lower layers are doing.

        At least in the case of VW this wasn't some minor engineering decision. I don' t have a doubt in my mind that some folks pretty high up the food chain at VW knew. As for the other companies, we'll see. If it is merely a difference in real world vs test bench the

    • by Tailhook ( 98486 )

      I've also read in the last day or two that VW is (predictiably) trying to claim that management knew nothing about the emissions and that "a handful" of engineers were responsible.

      This is true; VW is trying to isolate this to "a few software engineers." The most poignant moment in yesterday's testimony before the House was from Rep Chris Collins (R-NY); he pointed out that VW is not merely a car manufacturer, but also a major IP concern. VW, like the other major auto manufacturers, has teams of IP lawyers that analyze every aspect of their engineering and file for patents on every `innovation.' Yet somehow, after the inevitable struggle they must have had achieving the necessary p

      • It's not a couple of software engineers, but proving that will be impossible

        I wouldn't be so sure of that. I guarantee you that there is a paper trail here. NOTHING happens in an automotive company that large without a lot of documentation being generated. R&D, engineering, testing and management all HAD to be involved. If the government really decides to go after this (big if I know) I don't think it would be hard at all to prove that it was more than a few folks involved.

        It's possible to get to the truth. It wouldn't even be that difficult; just arrest some engineers and file criminal charges. At some point one of them would cut a deal and talk. That won't happen, however.

        It might if the right people are doing the prosecuting. It will take years however and the damage is

  • by flappinbooger ( 574405 ) on Friday October 09, 2015 @09:46AM (#50692615) Homepage

    The law says "pass this test" so they pass the test.

    How is this different than standardized testing in schools? The state says "pass this test" so the teachers train the kids to pass the test.

    Do they actually LEARN anything useful for the real world?

    Do these cars actually have low emissions when driven in the real world??

    You be the judge.

    • The law says "pass this test" so they pass the test.

      How is this different than standardized testing in schools? The state says "pass this test" so the teachers train the kids to pass the test.

      Do they actually LEARN anything useful for the real world?

      Do these cars actually have low emissions when driven in the real world??

      You be the judge.

      Which is the fundamental problem with many metrics used to judge success. People measure an outcome without think about what they really want to accomplish. You want me to hit X? Ok, I'll hit X. Oh, you really wanted me to do Y which might stop me from hitting X? Sorry, I got rewarded for hitting X so Y got run over in the process. Thank you for playing, better luck next time, and I have some lovely parting gifts for you...

      • Standardized testing doesn't accomplish much IMHO. You teach the test, learn nothing else, and you end up with people who can past tests, but otherwise cannot actually do what the tests were designed to test for.

        BUT If you have non-standardized testing, it is somehow unfair because testing isn't consistent and therefore subject to bias (or worse).

    • And you wonder why there are so many regulations. It's because of these circumstances that the government has to SPELL EVERYTHING OUT, or business will act like little children and say, "well you didn't say take of my cloths before I get in the shower."

      Moron.
      • And you wonder why there are so many regulations. It's because of these circumstances that the government has to SPELL EVERYTHING OUT, or business will act like little children and say, "well you didn't say take of my cloths before I get in the shower."

        Moron.

        Since this is a technological site I think it's interesting to consider that VW (and all the others as we're now seeing) can't make a clean diesel.

        Well, they CAN make a diesel run clean, but only under specific controlled conditions for a tailpipe sniffer test.

        The logical conclusion is that when the diesel engine runs clean, it has other undesirable characteristics. This, because, if it COULD run clean AND also have desirable characteristics, they would have it run clean all the time. It's simpler. Why add

  • by Fencepost ( 107992 ) on Friday October 09, 2015 @09:54AM (#50692665) Journal
    I don't understand why we're seeing all these gasoline hybrids instead of diesel ones. Aren't diesels running in their optimum range much more efficient? And with all these emissions issues turning up, isn't it feasible to set up diesel hybrids to basically always run in a narrow range with the best emissions and efficiency possible?
    • by Algan ( 20532 )

      Cost. Diesel engines, plus the associated emission control equipment, are expensive. Batteries, electric motor, regenerative brakes and other hybrid equipment are also expensive. Both provide pretty good mileage improvements, but having both on will hit diminishing returns, so it's not worth it.

      • Do you have any actual evidence to back this up?
        • by houghi ( 78078 )

          Prices of the cqrs in e.g. Europe. The Diesel will be more expensive to buy compqred to the gasoline one.
          In the long run the Diesel will be cheaper. How much depends on how much you drive.

          The sweet point varies from type to type, but is around 15.000KM per year. They are cheaper because Diesel is cheaper due to the way things are taxed.

          But the start is: Diesel engines are more epxensive than gasoline engines.

          I can understand with the cheap gasoline prices in the US, the miles before it becomes provitable mi

    • by bre_dnd ( 686663 ) on Friday October 09, 2015 @10:24AM (#50692885)
      Peugeot makes them: http://www.peugeot.co.uk/hybri... [peugeot.co.uk]
    • by Frederic54 ( 3788 ) on Friday October 09, 2015 @10:48AM (#50693035) Journal
      In the US you mean? In Europe there is diesel hybrid, in Korea there is even a Hyundai Elantra LPG hybrid.
    • I don't understand why we're seeing all these gasoline hybrids instead of diesel ones. Aren't diesels running in their optimum range much more efficient? And with all these emissions issues turning up, isn't it feasible to set up diesel hybrids to basically always run in a narrow range with the best emissions and efficiency possible?

      I wonder about this, in the context of long-haul semis. I've wondered what it would be like if someone, say Peterbilt, would make a truck tractor with a fixed-speed diesel driv

    • by Solandri ( 704621 ) on Friday October 09, 2015 @01:00PM (#50694041)

      I don't understand why we're seeing all these gasoline hybrids instead of diesel ones. Aren't diesels running in their optimum range much more efficient? And with all these emissions issues turning up, isn't it feasible to set up diesel hybrids to basically always run in a narrow range with the best emissions and efficiency possible?

      Diesels already almost always run in their optimum range. A car engine basically has three operating states that are important. Accelerating from a stop, cruising (usually at highway speeds), and accelerating at highway speeds (to pass).

      Gasoline engines hit peak power and torque at the high-end of their RPM range. That's great for accelerating at highway speeds, not so good for cruising and accelerating from a stop. Because most of the engine's time is spent cruising, that's where you need to optimize fuel burn rate to improve overall fuel efficiency. Gas engines have a lot of problem with this because it's not coincident with their peak power and torque production. Consequently you're having to optimize the engine's performance at two hugely different RPMs. The hybrid helps a lot here because the electric motor provides a lot of torque at 0 RPM for accelerating from a stop (power = torque * RPM * a constant),and allows the gas engine to be shut off completely for a while during cruising. So now you can optimize the gas engine for high-RPM efficiency, and rely on the electric motor for what would normally be low-RPM operation.

      Diesel engines have a higher compression ratio so hit peak power and torque at the low-end of their RPM range. That's great for cruising and accelerating from a stop, not so great for accelerating at highway speeds. This is why they're so common in tractor trailers - it's OK if the truck takes a long time to accelerate at highway speeds, but you want good power and fuel efficiency during cruise. Since the diesel engine's peak torque and power happen close to cruise, they're a lot easier to optimize for fuel efficiency.

      A hybrid won't actually help much here because it doesn't add much - the diesel engine already has lots of torque close to 0 RPM, and is fuel efficient during cruise. About the only thing a hybrid would add would be regenerative braking. While that's a big deal in city driving, the vast majority of the driving tractor trailers do is on the highway, so again there's little benefit from the hybrid. The best thing to add to a diesel is actually a turbo. Their weakness is power output at higher RPMs, and a turbo provides extra power at the high-end of the RPM range, which improves accelerating to pass at highway speeds - precisely the driving stage diesels normally have problems with.

  • Parameter optimization is always a difficult problem. Even if the engine parameters change with varying conditions, the "operational envelope" is not going to be uniform under all conditions.

    If you have to choose between optimizing "road" emissions or "test" emissions, which one do you think is going to ship?

    Note I'm not talking about VW style cheating.

  • by Mal-2 ( 675116 ) on Friday October 09, 2015 @10:08AM (#50692767) Homepage Journal

    Beating test cycles by engineering to the test is hardly a new phenomenon, and it is the bulk of why current EU tests [wikipedia.org] are being replaced by new standards currently in development [wikipedia.org] that are harder to game [researchgate.net]. Even with this improvement, expect some level of optimization for test conditions while either ignoring or even harming real world performance.

    The relentless cycle beating has had a myriad of harmful effects beyond just not accomplishing the purpose.

    • * Regulators start to believe their emissions goals can actually be met, even when they realistically cannot while maintaining adequate driving performance. People just don't baby the throttle the way the NEDC does.
    • * Somehow, the problems the controls were intended to alleviate aren't getting any better, so they crank them down tighter. The engineering gets even more optimized for the test. The cars get nice "green" certifications, and everyone wonders where the smog is coming from.
    • * Often, this engineering means smaller engines and turbos, which inevitably don't last as long as the larger displacement engines they replace. It also means increased mechanical complexity. Guess who picks up the tab for this? Us.
    • * The smaller, boosted engines may do just fine in emissions testing, and even performance testing on the dyno, but often they are not as good as the larger, naturally aspirated engines they replace for real-world tasks. This is particularly true with trucks, where you'll see V-8s being replaced by turbo-4s. They may still have the same or even better power on paper, but they now have spool-up lag and have to operate in a higher RPM range to haul cargo and/or passengers, and really can struggle with towing loads due to the lesser torque.
    • and have to operate in a higher RPM range to haul cargo and/or passengers
      Increasing wear and tear and drastically reducing the life of the vehicle.
      Ever hear someone say, "the don't make stuff to last anymore"?
      Well now you know why (in part at least) stuff doesn't last as long as they used to.
    • by Tailhook ( 98486 )

      One of the worse effects of all of this are the cultural consequences inside these corporations; your willingness to defeat the testing regime determines your fate. You can be certain the managers in charge today are the guys that "got it done" years ago by beating the tests. They're the ones that keep quiet, look the other way every time, and quietly make sure the honest ones don't get anywhere near responsible positions.

  • I remember while listening to the autobiography of Smokey Yunick as read by John Z Delorean, he was talking about his days as a vehicle tester for GM in the 70's when emissions became a thing. He talked about how they would drive the standard shift cars in a hilly area, always riding the clutch, always turning the car off at lights and stops etc. This would give the car much greater test numbers than real world use. Cheating the system isn't new, and the fact that there seems to be NO ONE checking on these
  • by Jason Levine ( 196982 ) on Friday October 09, 2015 @10:09AM (#50692779)

    The VW boss recently said "It's the decision of a couple of software engineers, not the board members." It looks like those two software engineers snuck into all these other car companies and altered their systems also! How nefarious!

  • It's no big secret that manufacturers do everything they can to make sure a car passes the test regime; that is not illegal as long as they don't do something VW does even though the test configuration may not represent what the real world emissions will be. There is a big difference between optimizing a design so that it passes a test and, in theory at lest, if the vehicle is maintained and driven the same way was in the the test conditions will have the same emissions and designing a system to perform on
    • It's fraud pure and simple. How are you to know what the actual emissions are? Are they going to give you a device to put on your tail pipe so you can measure the emissions? No they're not. Manufacturers are fighting changes to the tests that would make them real world tests. So yes, fraud.
  • by wren337 ( 182018 ) on Friday October 09, 2015 @10:17AM (#50692841) Homepage
    It shouldn't be any surprise that if you ask a set of engineers to make the car pass a set of tests, that they design the car to pass the set of tests. The real issue is the quality of the tests. There should be an actual tailpipe sensor and a standard driving course rather than a dynamo test.
  • I would be surprised of the government collects $50B before its over.
  • by sinij ( 911942 ) on Friday October 09, 2015 @10:20AM (#50692859)
    While I think we should strive for a cleanest possible emissions at a specific price point, eliminating diesel engines entirely by making it too expensive to meet would do no favors to the environment. Diesels are more efficient than gasoline engines, so phasing them out in favor of gasoline engines will end up producing more total pollution.

    The correct approach is incentives, tax pollution via fuel taxes and give out incentives to manufacturers exceeding the average. This way cleaner diesel, that are more expensive to produce, will be eligible for a credit, making them cost-competitive.

    The root cause of VW fiasco is that they couldn't produce a clean engine at a price point. Making too-expensive car that very few people would ever buy (because it costs too much!) does not benefit the environment in any way.
  • There's no way the other diesel manufacturers were unaware of what Volkswagen was doing. Here's a little more on this: http://geekcrumbs.com/2015/10/... [geekcrumbs.com]

  • by 140Mandak262Jamuna ( 970587 ) on Friday October 09, 2015 @10:41AM (#50692989) Journal
    If you replicate on the road exactly the same driving profile that you use in the test bench, are you getting the same emissions? If so, there is no scandal here. All it calls for is improved testing standards to mimic real life driving conditions.

    VW is a scandal because it detected the car being not on the test bench and relaxed to emission control.

  • If you look at air pollution statistics from any first-world country, you'll find they have been getting significantly better over the last decade.

    The ONLY way forward from this "cheating" mess it to raise the standards to allow what cars are already emitting - because we know for a FACT that pollution has gone down with those levels of emissions actually allowed.

  • "This provides clear evidence that the automotive industry is designing its cars to follow the letter of the law (passing tests), but not the spirit (actually reducing pollution)."

    Sounds a lot like the educational system of today too. We got a lot of work to do.

  • by plopez ( 54068 ) on Friday October 09, 2015 @11:00AM (#50693115) Journal

    That is the real problem. The entire basis for the corporate system is avoidance of responsibility. Maximize profits at any cost, even human life. And bad emission controls do threaten human life, see the killer smogs in London in the 50's or in China today. Look at the BP oil spill, the Piper Alpha, or Bhopal India and not a single C level manager or member of the BOD was held responsible, despite the fact that when things go right they get bonuses.

    Until we hold executive officers, whose title comes from the word "to execute" as in to make happen, or members of the BOD are personally held civilly and/or criminally responsible then nothing will really change.

  • I wouldn't be a bit surprised to find that most if not all vehicle manufacturers are doing this.

    I don't think they all are, but would I be shocked to find out they are? Nope.

    "No matter how cynical you become, it's never enough to keep up." - Lily Tomlin

  • Here's something for all you CI/CD volkswagon geeks out there.

    https://github.com/auchenberg/... [github.com]

    Thank me later

People who go to conferences are the ones who shouldn't.

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