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.
- Electrify America aims to simplify electric car charging - May 15, 2019
- Telling your neighbors about your electric car helps them over the hump - May 12, 2019
- Illinois EV tax echos question of road funding when gas taxes shrink - May 10, 2019
- Biden/Ukraine story getting more heat and suspiciousness - May 2, 2019
- Explosion at APS energy storage unit injures firefighters, casts doubt on energy storage - April 23, 2019
- No, Tesla is not phasing out the J1772 adapter - April 17, 2019
- Near destruction of the Notre Dame contains lesson in thinking ahead - April 16, 2019
- Nepotism bites VP Joe Biden as he starts 2020 Presidential run - April 13, 2019
- Tesla almost kills $35k Model 3, launches lease program, still shows misleading pricing - April 13, 2019
- Tesla CEO Elon Musk giving flawed charging advice on Twitter - April 11, 2019