richardf8: (Ensign_Katz)
[personal profile] richardf8
For those who may not know, VW is having a scandal because the software controlling the TDI engine was written to note when it was being emissions tested, and operate the engine in a way that it would pass, but under normal operating conditions, it was out of compliance, emitting 40x more of some pollutants than permitted.

I can only imagine that this happened because someone concluded that driveability and compliance were mutually exclusive.  At this point, US sales of TDI equipped vehicles are on hold while VW fixes the software.  In my eyes, if VW did not think that it could produce a driveable, compliant diesel engine, it should have said to the EPA, "your requirements are unreasonable; waive them or no TDI for the US Market."  Instead it created an ECU that behaved well when being watched.

Now VW President Winterkorn has stepped down, despite saying that he had no awareness of the program.  There are those who will say that it was his responsibility to know.  That is true.  But now that he does know, isn't it his responsibility to investigate?  What does his resignation do to advance the goal of making this right?  It seems to me that this particular move crosses the line from drama into melodrama.

Are EPA Standards for passenger vehicles too stringent?  Probably; diesel's selling point has always been higher mpg than gasoline.  It's certainly not cleaner. But VW has taken a pass on making that argument.  Instead, by choosing situational compliance, it not only cheated at the game, but it also participated in the fiction that the standards were achievable at the time they were set.

Where do things stand now?  Owners are afraid that any fix will cost them either mpg or performance or possibly both.  VW may need more than a software patch to achieve compliance.  It will cost them a lot if they need to upgrade these cars to include Urea injection, but that may be where things go.

Does this affect my attitude toward VW?  Not really; it's a corporation, corporations are all sociopathic, and failure to comply with EPA regs does not lead directly to customer's deaths, so in my book they're ahead of GM with its ignition switches, and FCA with it's remotely hackable CAN bus.
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