Wednesday, September 23, 2015

The VW debacle

Most people are probably already aware of what Volkswagen has done with respect to nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions from a large number of their diesel cars.  The EPA Notice of Violation can be found here. A timeline of events is here.

Briefly, VW appears to have admitted that engine management software used various clues such as wheel alignment to detect when emissions tests were being run as opposed to normal road driving.

The EPA has discovered that if a test situation was detected, the software would turn on an "auxiliary emissions control device" designed to remove oxides of nitrogen from exhaust gases. Once normal driving was detected again, the software would turn off the emissions control. The reason seems to be related to vehicle performance, but there may be other factors.

The health issues are complex. Millions of UK citizens subject themselves and their children to atmospheric NOx pollution by living in cities, but for a number of reasons concentrations in the UK are declining. No thanks to VW apparently.


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Sackerson said...

Is the decline in laughing gas the reason why people sem more miserable today?

A K Haart said...

Sackers - that's where VW slipped up. If they had devised a system to emit lots of N2O during tests, EPA testers might have treated the whole thing as a joke.