Emission Scandal Volkswagen Dieselgate

Glossary:

Clean Air Act: A law that limits the amount of pollutants are produced by factories, cars, etc...

NOx Gas: Nitrogen Oxide gas that affects both the environment and human health

Defeat Device: Software added into cars that would recognize that it was being tested and would then limit the car's performance to reduce the NOx gasses emitted.

EPA: United States Environmental Protection Agency

VW: Shorthand term for Volkswagen

Settlement: an official agreement intended to resolve a dispute or conflict

Jargon:

Emission Standards: Laws set to restrict the amount of emissions emitted

Diesel engine: an engine that uses a slightly different

Emissions tests: Tests directed by the EPA to make sure the cars meet the emissions standards

Software: A program installed into the computer of the car

How did Volkswagen cars “cheat” on the EPA emissions test?

Volkswagen deliberately installed software to alter the car’s performance to compensate for the excessive emissions. According to Bibhu Prasan Patra, a professor of strategic and general management area at the Xavier Institute of Management, Bhubaneswar, India, “The computer software installed in engines were attuned to sense test scenarios by monitoring speed, engine operation, air pressure and even the position of the steering wheel. The car knew when to turn on this high emission efficiency mode due to the software knowing when it was being tested. When it realized that it was being tested the software would kick in and would limit its performance to aid in passing the emissions tests. According to Jack Ewing, an author for International New York Times who writes about business, banking, economics and monetary policy, “during normal operation, the cars emitted as much as 40 times the allowed amount of nitrogen oxide, a harmful pollutant.” But there was a reason for cheating on the emissions test.

Why did Volkswagen “cheat” on the emissions test?

With Volkswagen being known for it’s excellent diesel engines, they have to put a lot of work into designing the engines to outperform past models and competitors. Trying to crank out as much power as possible while staying within the emission standards is tricky. Volkswagen needed a way to pass the test while retaining their elite performance and mpg. “The carmaker installed emissions-cheating software in 2008 after realizing that a new diesel motor could not meet pollution standards, people familiar with an internal inquiry said.” said Jack Ewing, an author for International New York Times who writes about business, banking, economics and monetary policy. These above regulation emissions greatly impacted the world. By cheating on the emissions tests, it proved to many that Volkswagen cared more about their profit than the environment. The unregulated engine greatly impacted the environment. According to Bibhu Prasan Patra, a professor of strategic and general management area at the Xavier Institute of Management, Bhubaneswar, India, “an analysis shows that the VW vehicles emitted between 250,000 to 1m extra tones (of NOx gases) every year.” The side effects of the scandal greatly affected the environment.

How much of an effect the excess NOx gasses have on the world?

Having up to 40 percent more emissions emitted than allowed by the EPA would have a drastic affect on the environment. This excess NOx gasses emitted had an effect on thousands of worldwide and according to Bibhu Prasan Patra, a professor of strategic and general management area at the Xavier Institute of Management, Bhubaneswar, India, “the high level of NOx caused a premature death of 9500 lives in London alone.” To help counteract this damage, Volkswagen was fined a settlement that covered the whole scandal which included the damage done to the environment. Not only did the car's damage the environment, the brand lost a lot of trust. According to Mark Rechtin, an autos editor for consumer reports, “The real problem was public relations.” Although Volkswagen was masking their emissions during testing, they were were still caught cheating during an on the road test, which greatly affected their reputation.

How did the EPA find out that Volkswagen was not meeting the standards?

Even though the cars were passing the EPA’s emission test, John German collected data that said otherwise. According to Bibhu Prasan Patra, a professor of strategic and general management area at the Xavier Institute of Management, Bhubaneswar, India, “German and his colleague took a Passat, Jetta and a BMW X5 (which was also showing emissions incongruity in Europe)for their “ on- the road- test drive”. The cars that were tested were all known for being inconsistent with the EPA tests, but they were appalled at the results. Another quote from Bibhu Prasan Patra, “German clearly found out in his research that VW had installed sophisticated software designed to cheat strict emission test across the world. He conducted a simple test – in order to check the car’s emission on real roads instead of controlled lab test condition… German submitted the ‘on the road’ test drive report to the Environment Protection Agency (EPA) in May 2014 and sent a courtesy copy to VW to inform them that their vehicles ‘Passat, Jetta violates standard emission norm of EPA.”After the data was given to the EPA, Volkswagen was then given a notice that their cars weren’t meeting the emissions standards set. Volkswagen decided not to respond which lead to the EPA testing all their cars. Volkswagen was then given a final notice that the company needed to do something about their cars.

What will happen to the cars that were cheating?

Volkswagen has yet to issue a recall for the cars for the scandal is still an ongoing issue. “For now, the cars are safe and legal to drive. No immediate action is needed by today’s drivers.That said, the settlement approved Oct. 25 gives people who are ready to sell their cars back to VW an option to get their cars bought back, along with some extra cash for their troubles.” said Jeff S. Bartlett, Michelle Naranjo, and Jeff Plungis, all authors for consumertrack, the auto portion of consumer reports. For the cars that people choose not to sell back to the company, the cars may have to be changed to fit the emission laws. According to Bibhu Prasan Patra, a professor of strategic and general management area at the Xavier Institute of Management, Bhubaneswar, India, “Some 400.000 (VW Cars) would need changes to their fuel injection systems as well as having the software removed.”

Credits:

Created with images by digifly840 - "factory smoke emissions" • nakhon100 - "Volkswagen Passat Variant" • pedrosimoes7 - "VW Golf GTI V" • zolakoma - "Traffic" • Unsplash - "street night lights" • Spanish Coches - "Volkswagen"

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