So, in case you had not heard, VW has been involved in a rather large emissions scandal. This involved cars being sold worldwide with devices installed that lied to emissions tests, rigging the results so they appeared legal. VW initially admitted to the device being installed in 11 million cars, which is bad enough. However it has just got another Notice of Violation in America a few days ago for cars released under VW-owned brands Audi and Porsche. They have the same device installed, rigging the emissions results.
How did the device work? How did it fool so many? Well, VW set up software in the Electronic Control Unit that detects when the car is undergoing an emissions test. Upon realising this, the car goes into a temperature conditioning mode, fooling the test. One second after the test is over, the car’s engine returns to ‘normal’ mode, in which it kicks out about 9 times the amount of allowed nitrogen oxides (as set by the EPA). It neither disclosed nor described these devices at any stage of development.
According to the Guardian's research, VW’s rigging of test results could be responsible for 1 million tonnes of air pollution each year, and that is equivalent to the UK’s combined emissions for all vehicles, power stations, agriculture and industry. And that analysis was made BEFORE the latest allegations. So how badly has VW damaged the planet overall over the last few years? We just don’t know yet, they clearly have not admitted to all of their mistakes, and even though what they did admit to was shocking enough, they are getting exposed to have done worse.
Such acts should not go unnoticed - and it hasn’t, of course. VW’s shares have plummeted. But we need these big companies to just not think that this kind of action is acceptable in the first place - it might be a good ‘economic’ decision to make at the time if you are really so short sighted, but in this day and age we have damaged enough of the planet to know this is irresponsible. Surely the pursuit of money will have to come second to the health of our planet at some point in time? Here’s hoping. We can all just do our own part for now!
One thing that has come out of this is some fantastic memes though: