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United States News Politics Science Technology

US Asks VW For Electric Cars (news.com.au) 250

US authorities have asked the German carmaker Volkswagen to produce electric vehicles in the United States as a way of making up for its rigging of emission tests. German newspaper Welt am Sonntag claims the US Environmental Protection Agency is currently in talks with Volkswagen with the aim of agreeing on a fix for nearly 600,000 diesel vehicles that emit up to 40 times legal pollution limits. The paper, which gave no source for its report on Sunday, said the EPA was asking VW to produce electric vehicles at its plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee, and to help build a network of charging stations for electric vehicles in the United States.
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US Asks VW For Electric Cars

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  • by JoshuaZ ( 1134087 ) on Sunday February 21, 2016 @04:38PM (#51553619) Homepage
    This is a very good solution. Rather than just try to slap VW with a fine that they'd shrug off, this would use the resources to help push the entire car market into a better environmental situation and one that is less dependent on fossil fuels as a whole. Electric cars are a technology which works better when there are more electric cars and more charging stations. This is essentially a networking effect. So the resulting push by having another major manufacturer make more electric cars will be substantially more positive than simply fining them.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Kinda have to agree.

      Who ever thought of this was pretty astute in gauging the environmental impact of the VW fiasco, and working towards ameliorating it in a way that not only gets buy in from VW and improves the air quality in a way better than the original regs.

      The only hiccup is if this turns into a gimme to VW as a way to ensure compliance.

      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by davester666 ( 731373 )

        This is TOTALLY WRONG. The gov't must get out of the way of the free market, as it is ALWAYS self-correcting. VW would eventually come around and produce clean-burning diesel vehicles on their own, just through normal market forces, or they would go out of business. It's a fundamental law of nature. Like gravity.

        Everybody knows this.

        Once Trump get's elected, this will get fixed up real good.

        • I see the dumb ass irony. So, how about VW pay the government to do this instead? I think that would make negotiations with the Elon Musk plan conclude a little smother?
    • No it's not a very good solution. VW has behaved in a way that requires punishment (and high fines are a perfectly appropriate way to make them change their behavior and send a message to other manufacturers that the US is serious), and every country should be requiring complete corresponding source code under a free software license from VW and any other automaker that lied, sold equipment under false pretense, or dodged environmental regulation. That will help prevent this particular cheating from recurri

      • ..., and every country should be requiring complete corresponding source code under a free software license from VW and any other automaker that lied, sold equipment under false pretense, or dodged environmental regulation.

        Except the "source code" is usually the property of the ECU maker, not the car maker. The car maker provides only data input and tables to the ECU, which then acts accordingly.

    • This is bad because it's not punishment. It's something they would have done anyway if they were following the law and it will still make them enormous profit. While I'm not saying we should bankrupt them, they need to be hurt. Hell, if I did what they did (cheated emissions and got caught) I'd be looking a fines many times the cost of fixing my car up to pass.
    • Right and maybe if you or I break the law we can just get to go on as nothing has happened. This solution only rewards them by having them do what they were going to do in the first place.

      Here is a novel idea, have them fix the vehicles at their cost and then fine them to the maximum allowed by law and use the proceeds to build charging stations.

      This proposed settlement is a bit like saying if you are a utility caught violating clean air laws, it's okay, for your punishment, go produce clean energy.

      There i

      • "There is nothing positive about this settlement unless you are VW."

        Or you're a human being that wants more electric cars on the road.

        This doesn't settle things between VW and all the consumers that can and will sue the living fuck out of them, it simply offers them a solution that will increase the percentage of electric vehicles sold.

        What good is building charging stations with that money going to do? It's not going to increase the number of cars on the road using electric power. It might enrich some spec

      • Here is a novel idea, have them fix the vehicles at their cost and then fine them to the maximum allowed by law and use the proceeds to build charging stations.

        No, you don't get it. They're still not going to get out of dealing with those vehicles and their responsibility to consumers somehow. This is just about their responsibility to the state. VW may well end up having to actually buy those vehicles back, yet! Besides, there is really no feasible way to "fix" those vehicles. They can make them suck by degrading their mileage and making them drive like turds, but there's no room to retrofit the emissions equipment that they would need to install in order to impr

    • It's not necessarily a good solution. They can produce some compliance cars that meet the letter of the agreement, that no one wants to buy, and it won't do any actual good.

      If however VW wants to enter the electric car space anyway, this might let them retain the capital required for that investment and shrug off any shareholders (particularly those with oil interests).

    • And the crouch bros are ok with this?
  • by dfn5 ( 524972 ) on Sunday February 21, 2016 @05:09PM (#51553743) Journal
    As it turns out, the new VW electric cars will only be electric in test mode.
    • Test engineer 1, "WTF? This electric car sure seems to need a lot of lubricating oil. Where does it go anyway? I don't see it leaking."

      Test engineer 2, "I don't get it either. Are you feeling light headed too? I think we need to open a window on the car testing bay, get some fresh air in here."

  • VW asks US to resume rare earth mining ... to supply the batteries for the electric cars which the US has asked VW to provide.

    • by Smidge204 ( 605297 ) on Sunday February 21, 2016 @07:50PM (#51554511) Journal

      The typical electric vehicle battery pack - a lithium technology - uses no rare earth metals.

      Don't confuse it with NiMH cells which often do use rare earth metals.
      =Smidge=

      • That may be true but I suspect the motor uses plenty of rare earth metals. While the GPP may have where those metals end up in the car wrong they do end up in the car somewhere.

        An electric motor can certainly be made without rare earth metals but it will be heavier and less efficient. Given the weight and performance gap electric cars already have compared to internal combustion competitors they cannot afford to not use rare earth metals.

        I'm sure someone is thinking that electric cars can outperform most

        • by Firethorn ( 177587 ) on Monday February 22, 2016 @02:42AM (#51556523) Homepage Journal

          That may be true but I suspect the motor uses plenty of rare earth metals. While the GPP may have where those metals end up in the car wrong they do end up in the car somewhere.

          Your suspicions are most likely incorrect, unless you count copper as a rare earth metal. Most serious EV vehicles use AC motors. This is explicitly true for Tesla [teslamotors.com]. No rare earths are required for it's motor.

          FTA: Unlike the DC brushless rotor, the induction rotor has no magnets – just stacked steel laminations with buried peripheral conductors that form a “shorted structure.”

          It's the hybrids that are using DC motors that need magnets, preferably rare earth ones.

          An electric motor can certainly be made without rare earth metals but it will be heavier and less efficient.

          Not when you want performance, or go over a certain performance level:

          Thus, the induction machine when operated with a smart inverter has an advantage over a DC brushless machine – magnetic and conduction losses can be traded such that efficiency is optimized. This advantage becomes increasingly important as performance is increased. With DC brushless, as machine size grows, the magnetic losses increase proportionately and part load efficiency drops. With induction, as machine size grows, losses do not necessarily grow. Thus, induction drives may be the favored approach where high-performance is desired; peak efficiency will be a little less than with DC brushless, but average efficiency may actually be better.

          Diesel engines rule the road, rail, and sea.

          Speaking of rails... Have you heard of the "Diesel-electric transmission" [wikipedia.org]? They've been in nearly all locomotives for many decades. We've had diesel electric ships since 1903, and their use is becoming more popular.

          The concept is simple enough. Rather than having a mechanical gearbox, you hook your diesel engines up to a generator, then run power lines to electric motors that power the wheels. The diesel provides the energy, the motors provide the power for movement.

          Well, let me know when electric tractor/trailers are on the market.

          Consider [peterbilt.com] yourself [peterbilt.com] informed. [hybridsemitruck.com]

          Until we get batteries that can compete with fuel oil and diesel fuel on weight, volume, and cost we will continue to see electric vehicles as novelties and penis size compensators.

          Not really, the weight and energy density of diesel is not necessary for all applications, and batteries have (recently) become cheap enough that electric is finally cheaper than diesel - at least in the applications most suited for them. Tesla is looking to cut costs in half again for their batteries, allowing them to break into the market a step down from the luxury section.

          Saying that electric won't be suitable for semi-tractor trailers anytime soon is like saying that jet engines aren't suited for use because they can't reach the moon. Long haul tractor trailers are the most demanding common application I can think of, the most suited for diesel. Long before they go electric, it will be highly practical and economical for 99% of consumer automobiles to be electric. Including trucks such as UPS delivery vehicles.

        • Nope. Only a perm mag DC motor uses rare earth. Most are AC motors and use windings.
  • Instead of punishing, force them to invest. Maybe for a few years that is a loss for the company, but if played right it could actually help them in the long run. (Since it forces shareholders to accept reduced earnings for some time, which they normally would no be willing to).

  • by Kohath ( 38547 ) on Sunday February 21, 2016 @07:10PM (#51554305)

    The EPA of corrupt settlements in legal cases. If crimes were committed, why should VW (or anyone) get away with them by funding leftist feel-good projects? [forbes.com]

    Here's hoping that the next administration starts "settling" these cases for an apology and a big donation to the NRA. Then maybe people will start paying attention to how corrupt this process is.

    • That would require a Republican adminstration, which at this point woudl be Trump or Cruze. Fuck that shit. Either Hitler 2.0, or the living embodiment of Nehemiah Scudder.

      I wont' accept either of those results.

He's dead, Jim.

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