Tuesday, November 3, 2015

New Volkswagen violation - will scandal expand to gas powerd cars?

Earlier I described the technical details of dieselgate with regard to the EPA's September 18 Notice of Violation (NOV). Sadly Volkswagen Group's (VW) ordeal is not over yet. The EPA released a new NOV which now affects VWs 3.0 liter diesel engines.

There is a serious threat that the scandal will expand to more and more engine types and vehicle models. "ARB and EPA will continue to conduct a rigorous investigation that includes testing more vehicles until all of the facts are out in the open." This time the violation also affects Porsche which was unaffected by the earlier NOV.

Although the number of vehicles is limited (10.000 in 2014, plus an unknown additional number in 2015), the technical details are at least as disturbing as the earlier violation.

Again VW used a cheat device. This time exactly one second after the vehicle completes the initial phase of the standard test procedure, the vehicle changes to normal mode, where NOx emissions increase up to nine times the EPA standard. This time the engine cheats by running in a low NOx "temperature conditioning" mode. Engine temperatures are kept down as high temperatures increase NOx emissions.

The consequences of removing the cheat device would be a broad range of reduced performance, including reduced torque and increased fuel consumption. What's even more worrisome is that this time VW didn't just play with the post-combution exhaust cleanup. They changed the operating parameters of the engine. That method can be applied to a broad range of vehicles including those with gasoline powered engines.

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