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Volkswagen Emissions Scandal


Published September 28, 2015

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Volkswagen Emissions Scandal


What Did They Do?


Some of you may have heard about the recent Volkswagen (VW) emission scandal in the news lately. You may ask what this means exactly. Well, VW has been cheating in emission tests by making its cars appear far less polluting than they are. The US Environmental Protection Agency discovered that approximately 500,000 VW diesel cars on American roads were emitting up to 40 times more toxic fumes than permitted, and VW has since admitted their "emissions hack" affects 5,000,000 VW cars worldwide.


VW’s “emissions hack” is a program in the engine software that lets the car perceive if is being driven under test conditions - and only then pull out all the anti-pollution stops. “Clean diesel” engines cut emissions through techniques such as adjusting air-fuel ratios and exhaust flows, and in some (though not most VWs) injecting a urea-based solution to render the nitrogen oxides (NOx) harmless. When running normally, requiring greater performance, VW’s controls would not operate in the same way.


What Does This Mean For VW?


There is no getting around the fact that this scandal will hurt Volkswagen. VW has already issued a recall for 482,000 vehicles in the US while also halting sales of the models affected. The models affected include: Audi A3, VW Jetta, Beetle, Golf, and Passat diesel models. VW's Martin Winterkorn has already resigned from his CEO position and took responsibility for the scandal, although he claims he was not aware of any wrong doing. VW has already set aside $7.3 billion to cover recalls and other additional costs. The cost could quickly rise though, as US officials could up to $18 billion in fines for exceeding the emissions limit.
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