In times that the planet is becoming quite uneasy owing to the impact that global warming is having. News of auto companies trying to beat the emission policies are bound to rattle quite a number of feathers. Volkswagen has felt the heat and the wrath of such doing after it was revealed that the company’s diesel vehicles did not meet the diesel emission cap. What this simply means is that the company diesel models are emitting more carbon dioxide than the law allows. As expected, there was a public outcry and plenty of media coverage as the company was forced to recall hundreds of thousands of vehicles in the U.S alone. So what really was the Volkswagen scandal?
What is emission compatibility?
To understand the depth of VWs doing, one has to understand what a emission caps are and how they affect the performance of the car. Owing to the rising temperatures on the planet, one of the ways to curb the growing pollution would be to make cleaner cars that have a lower carbon footprint. To achieve, this companies would have their cars undergo emission tests to test just how clean their cars are and if they get a clean bill of health, they can release the car into the market.
How diesel cars reduce pollution.
Now that you understand how emission control works, it is time you understood how diesel cars are able to reduce their carbon dioxide emission and perhaps the sole reason why Volkswagen was caught pants down.
To meet the set pollution levels, cars that use diesel are usually fitted with a tank that contains a chemical called Urea. The sole purpose of this compound is to turn the fumes that result from the combustion of fuel into a harmless gas (nitrogen) and water. The downside to this is that engine performance is affected because reducing emissions means that fuel efficiency also takes a fall. Now it’s easier to see how VW could have been lured into trying to beat the system in order to retain their performance.
What exactly did VW do?
Well, here comes the cream of the pie. According to publicized reports and later a confirmation by the company, instead of using the Urea fitted tanks, the company used ‘Defeat devices.’ These were fitted with a software that allowed the cars to cheat during the emission test making them appear cleaner than they were.
However, VWs software allowed the car to beat the test in the lab but once the car hit the road, the emissions control would be switched off. As a result, the car pumps nitrogen oxide which is a pollutant into the air and what was worse is the fact that the levels were up to 40 times the legal limit. It is a complete case of profit over conscience.
The worse part is that the software was not controlled by the driver. Instead, it new when it was being tested and hence switched emissions control on and off depending on the scenario. Thanks to the algorithms used on the software, using the steering patterns, atmospheric pressure and the use of the engine, it was able to tell when it was testing time.
It is estimated that the car manufacturing giant had been installing the so called ‘Defeat device’ in its cars for at least six years before the scandal was unearthed. The company has also gone ahead to admit that over 11 million vehicles had the cheating software and some of the models affected include the Audi, VW vans, Skoda and SEAT. In the U.K a further 1.2 million cars are under scrutiny over the same device.
What do you do if your car is affected?
Big question lingering in every VW or affected model owner’s mind is, “What do I do with my car?” Luckily, the answer is not as complicated as the whole scandal seems to be. If your car is affected, Volkswagen will get in touch with you and perform any repairs that are needed on the car free of charge. The only downside to this is the fact that you will have a car that does not perform as you had been told when making the purchase.
It is without a doubt that the management of the company was preview to the fitting of such devices and as much as they might want to have the public believe otherwise, it is important for them to understand that their actions might have weakened an already ailing planet. Even worse, the reputation of their brand might have been hit but only time will tell how badly this was.