Getting back to the Volkswagen Dieselgate emissions cheating scandal, one of the open questions is “when” and “why” did VW resort to cheating on emissions tests? Earlier I’d reported statements in the press that Bosch had warned Volkswagen as far back as 2007 against using certain test software to control the emissions system, because it would be illegal. And, it seems, that Volkswagen didn’t want to bear the $1500 cost per car of a urea based emissions control system. Now a new report from the German newspaper, Bild am Sonntag, says Volkswagen’s decision to cheat occurred in 2008 shortly before the EA 189 engine went into mass production.
The engine had been in development since 2005, and was meant to meet tougher emissions control standards. However, engineers could not get it to actually perform to those emissions standards, at the targeted cost for the engine. After several years development, at great expense, Volkswagen was faced either with abandoning introduction of the engine, or cheating. Apparently VW couldn’t stomach not meeting the cost target?
The Bild am Sonntag report cites unnamed sources close to the investigation.
Among the top executives who’ve been suspended from Volkswagen are:
- Ulrich Hackenberg, head of development for all Volkswagen Group brands, including Audi, and previously head of development for Volkswagen-brand cars from 2007 to 2013;
- Heinz-Jakob Neusser, currently head of development for the Volkswagen brand;
- and Wolfgang Hatz, head of engines and transmissions development for all Volkswagen brands.
Thinking about the timeline of this, as someone who has worked in (software) engineering organizations …
This engine was in development since 2005, and the decision to cheat came in 2008. It’s extremely likely the engineering staff knew of the problem much earlier than 2008. They might have had a working engine in (say) 2006, and then working diligently on the design to iron out “bugs” (defects). Since emissions control was a key acceptance goal for this engine, they will have known early it wasn’t meeting emissions requirements. Therefore in 2008 the decision to cheat will have been made after many other possible solutions had been tried.
The pressure to meet the production deadline at the targeted engine cost will have forced VW into cheating.
- Clinton claims, in leaked e-mails, anti-fracking groups funded by Putin (Russia) - October 12, 2016
- Dieselgate-like problem found in television sets by new NRDC report - September 22, 2016
- The 238 mile range Chevy Bolt is not a threat to Tesla Motors, Tesla is a threat to itself - September 14, 2016
- BMW, VW, ChargePoint claim to finish East/West charging corridors rings hollow - September 14, 2016
- Chinese Model S auto-pilot crash says we shouldn’t rely on autopilot mode, yet - September 14, 2016
- TI enabling smart EVSE’s by adding WiFi to charging station reference design - August 30, 2016
- Do we need a 500 mile range Tesla or other electric car? - August 27, 2016
- ChargePoint et al argues PG&E’s charging station plan is anti-competitive - August 10, 2016
- Solar Impulse demonstrates implementation of the clean energy paradigm we deserve - July 26, 2016
- Solar Impulse makes history as the first around-the-world solar-electric airplane flight, 40,000+ km with no fuel - July 25, 2016
- BMW has no Dieselgate, while VW skimped on emissions control
- DieselGate means VW should switch to PHEV or BEV's says Robert Llewellyn
- Audi wants Clean Diesel adoption, instead of electric vehicle's, while parent VW claims they'll be an EV leader
- Dieselgate resulted in 1 million extra tonnes NOx emissions from dirty VW's
- Differences in US and EU emissions standard key cause of Dieselgate
- EPA's new ozone standards arrive in midst of Dieselgate scandal
- Timeline of VW's Dieselgate, what did EPA/CARB do and when did they do it?
- Volkswagen promises info on Dieselgate soon
- Volkswagen warned as far back as 2007 against illegal Dieselgate practices
- Volkswagen to sprinkle electrification throughout product line, while clinging to Clean Diesel
- Emissions reporting problem larger than just Volkswagen, affects gasoline cars too
- EPA puts automakers on notice, while firings start at Volkswagen
- EPA/CARB accuses VW, Audi, cheated on emissions regulations
- Volkswagen promises electric vehicle leadership by 2018, kinda late to the agme are they?