Saturday, October 16, 2021
News Volkswagen Could be in Hot Water Again Over Emissions “Defeat Device”

Volkswagen Could be in Hot Water Again Over Emissions “Defeat Device”

It looks as though lessons were not learned in the past as Volkswagen might still be up to its old emissions “defeat device” tricks

  • Exactly six years ago, Volkswagen got nailed in what is known as #dieselgate.

  • This time, the device alters emissions based on temperature and altitude.

  • Depending on the circumstances, the vehicles may emit more NOx than legally permitted.

To us, this looks like a real SMH (shake my head, if you’ve ever wondered) moment. Almost exactly six years ago, Volkswagen got slapped in the face for what has gone down in automotive history as #dieselgate. But, what’s happening here isn’t as clear as the diesel scandal.

Volkswagen diesel engine | Photo: Volkswagen

Unlike the first round of emissions manipulation, which has cost Volkswagen well in excess of $30 billion US, this time, the device may serve a similar yet different purpose. The issue at hand is software used in some Volkswagen vehicles varies the vehicle’s emission levels based on outside temperatures and altitude. For all intents and purposes, this is illegal.

What happens is that the exhaust-purification process is deactivated at ambient temperatures below 15 or above 33 degrees Celsius, and at altitudes of more than 1000 metres. Such programming is “justified in terms of protecting the engine against damage or accident and for the safe operation of the vehicle” according to European law.

The Advocate General has argued to Europe’s top court and the Austrian Supreme Court that the software is, in fact, nothing more than a defeat device.

Volkswagen responded to the allegations and, via Autocar, said the following:

“According to the criteria established by the Advocate General in his opinion, the thermal windows used in Volkswagen Group vehicles remain permissible. Their purpose is to prevent sudden and immediate risks of damage to the engine,”

We’re sure to hear more about this over the coming months. A decision by the courts is expected between two and six months from now.

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Matt St-Pierre
Trained as an Automotive Technician, Matt has two decades of automotive journalism under his belt. He’s done TV, radio, print and this thing called the internet. He’s an avid collector of many 4-wheeled things, all of them under 1,500 kg, holds a recently expired racing license and is a father of two. Life is beautiful. Send Matt an emai


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