Volkswagen: Crass Crony Corporate Capitalistic Capitulation

Guest Opinion: Dr. Tim Ball

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Winston Churchill famously defined an appeaser as someone who feeds a crocodile, hoping it will eat him last. In the debate about global warming, business, especially large corporations, is the largest sector of appeasers and some, like Volkswagen, are now, rightfully, paying the price.

Churchill was talking about Neville Chamberlain’s appeasement with Adolf Hitler. In a classic example of the claim that fact is stranger than fiction, it was Adolf Hitler who sketched the design for the first Volkswagen (Figure1).

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Figure 1

Volkswagen was caught programming their performance monitoring computers to give lower readings on exhaust emissions when subjected to government testing. The rest of the time the program was set to provide optimum fuel performance for the driver. They deserve every admonition, fines, and loss of sales, for a totally self-inflicted wound. It’s what happens when you try to serve two masters. A few heads will roll, but the German government has already essentially determined that Volkswagen is too big to fail and is using the public purse to bail the fail. In a further addition of insult to injury and with a clear demonstration that they don’t know what they are doing, Chancellor Angela Merkel is providing assistance with incentives to produce electric cars.

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Sir Walter Scott (1771 – 1832) wrote,

“Oh what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive!

Volkswagen’s deception was a self-deception because with some of the best engineers and scientists, they chose to accept the claims of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Clearly they did not look at the IPCC reports because if they had they would discover what Klaus-Eckart Puls discovered.

“Ten years ago I simply parroted what the IPCC told us. One day I started checking the facts and data—first I started with a sense of doubt but then I became outraged when I discovered that much of what the IPCC and the media were telling us was sheer nonsense and was not even supported by any scientific facts and measurements. To this day I still feel shame that as a scientist I made presentations of their science without first checking it.” ”Scientifically it is sheer absurdity to think we can get a nice climate by turning a CO2 adjustment knob.”

If they looked at the IPCC Reports and didn’t reach the same conclusion, then they are grossly incompetent, or the corporation took a political decision with their tacit approval.

They, like all automotive producers chose to pursue CO2 reduction as a marketing tool rather than examine the science and make the proper decision. Figure 2 shows their, now laughable, attempt to exploit the marketing opportunity.

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Figure 2

Volkswagen was not alone in the decision to capitulate to the green lobby and government deception about climate change. Almost all industry chose to cow and beg forgiveness for their sin of using fossil fuels. It was precisely what Maurice Strong and the other creators of Agenda 21 and the IPCC wanted. Chapter 30 of Agenda 21 titled Strengthening The Role of Business and Industry tells them their role and obligations.

Business and industry, including transnational corporations, play a crucial role in the social and economic development of a country. A stable policy regime enables and encourages business and industry to operate responsibly and efficiently and to implement longer-term policies.

Business and industry, including transnational corporations, and their representative organizations should be full participants in the implementation and evaluation of activities related to Agenda 21.

 

Maurice Strong knew business would capitulate to such moral suasion. He knew from his business activities how to exploit the seams between business and government. As Neil Hrab explained

Mainly using his prodigious skills as a networker over a lifetime of mixing private sector career success with stints in government and international groups, Strong has honed his networking abilities to perfection.

The lack of involvement of the business community is a combination of Strong knowing they would capitulate and then not providing the opportunity for input. Look at the participation list for the 2009 Conference of the Parties 15 held in Copenhagen. Business is placed in the Observer Organizations group as a Non-Government Organization (NGO) as follows.

The NGOs represent a broad spectrum of interests, and embrace representatives from business and industry, environmental groups, farming and agriculture, indigenous populations, local governments and municipal authorities, research and academic institutes, labour unions, women and gender and youth groups.

This does not equate with the statement in Chapter 30 that business plays “a crucial role in the social and economic development of a country.”

 

Business and industry were marginalized and then chose to exploit that position, as Strong knew they would. They surrendered to the eco-bullying even promoting what they had to know, or could easily discover, was bad science. They abjectly backed away despite simple and plausible options – they became appeasers. Like all appeasers, they only created bigger problems for themselves and society.

The crocodile is now eating them. Consider the case of Exxon. They totally surrendered to the ridiculous charge that they spent $16 million on climate change research. A simple comparison with government spending on climate research offsets the charge of bias as Joanne Nova so ably exposed. Couple this with the legitimate argument that understanding climate and climate change is basic research and development essential for any energy company. No sensible investor would put money into a company that was not doing such research. Now compare Exxon’s behavior with that of the insurance industry. They spend millions, to great praise, funding documentaries and promoting and exploiting severe weather threats for the sole purpose of selling more products.

On the back cover of Chris Horner’s book The Politically Correct Guide to Global Warming and Environmentalism, Richard Lindzen wrote,

“Future generations will wonder in bemused amazement that the early twenty-first century’s developed world went into hysterical panic over a globally average temperature increase of a few tenths of a degree, and, on the basis of gross exaggerations of highly uncertain computer projections combined into implausible chains of inference, proceeded to contemplate a rollback of the industrial age.”

It is beyond ironic that a major contributor to this bemusement is the scientists, engineers, and corporations that promoted and benefitted from the industrial age. In their criminality, Volkswagen is guilty as an accessory before and after the fact.

In this age of control by extremist fringe groups, Heywood Broun’s (1888-1939) comment about appeaser’s is likely more appropriate than Churchill’s.

“Appeasers believe that if you keep on throwing steaks to a tiger, the tiger will become a vegetarian.”

Vegetarians are part of the NGO group at the COPs right alongside business. The tail always wagged the dog, now the flea on the hair on the tail, is wagging the dog. Onward to Paris!

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193 thoughts on “Volkswagen: Crass Crony Corporate Capitalistic Capitulation

  1. With some 40000 delegates and with vegetarians representing some 5% of western populations there would likely be some one or two thousand vegetarians there. Do you consider them some evil ‘fringe group?’ what a strange ending to your narrative.

    Tonyb

    • In the context of carnivorous tigers, the term “vegetarian” is a metaphor for appeaser or dinner. It does not refer to a narrow connotation of humans that shun meat products.

      • “Do you consider them some evil ‘fringe group?’ More then you can imagine.” It’s a free world and people are free to do what they want. The problem is when 5% of the population want the same for the rest of the population?

      • “A rising mass movement attracts and holds a following not by its doctrine and promises but by the refuge it offers from the anxieties, barrenness and meaninglessness of an individual existence”
        Hoffer, The True Believer

        In plain ole english … it gives the frustrated something to belong to

      • Those who merely chose for themselves aren’t a problem.
        The problem arises when some within that movement seek to use govt power to force others to live the same lifestyle.

      • Hard to know who is and who is t a vegetarian.
        Some think only vegans get this appellation.
        Some so-called vegetarians eat milk, eggs, butter, and even fish, which last time I checked was the flesh of an animal.
        Eating eggs and calling yourself a vegetarian is likewise pretty eyebrow raising…you only eat the unborn young of a species of animal?

      • Until someone can tell me with any credibility what part of the animal the sausage comes from I consider sausage eaters to be vegetarians.

      • I know some “vegetarians” who eat chicken!

        Vegetarian can mean anything from no cow to no flesh.

      • Me nicholas says, “Eating eggs and calling yourself a vegetarian is likewise pretty eyebrow raising…you only eat the unborn young of a species of animal?”

        Perhaps I can put your mind at ease about eggs. Hens lay eggs roughly two out of three days of the year. Unless there is a rooster, none of the eggs are fertilized. If you ate a fertilized egg you would know the difference right away. Vegetarians should eat eggs because of the superior proteins; also, amost all of the vitamins and minerals are found in them. It really is a superfood.

      • “gnome

        November 22, 2015 at 3:34 pm”

        I’ve made them before…you don’t want to know. Google the Simpsons episode about the meatloaf.

      • Obviously there are a number of reasons for being a vegetarian, or vegan; one is not wishing to kill animals.

        Fish are obviously animals for this purpose, but eggs are not fertilized and are therefore not the unborn young. Milk does not involve the killing of animals, ditto butter, and there are many cheeses that are vegetarian, ie., do not use the by products of killed animals in their manufacture.

      • well then you either only eat at night with the lights off or you don’t eat because, in light, EVERYTHING casts a shadow

    • It has been said, to original Native Americans, the word “vegetarian” means: “bad hunter’. Maybe in this context, it means “bad scientist”.

      • Some truth in that, Tom. A good few years back I was working in the sub-Arctic and we were living in a rented house in an Inuit community. Somebody (can’t remember who) had hired an Inuit young woman to cook for us, to ease the confusion of having 6 people cooking for themselves (or each other, which was even worse). When I explained to the cook that I did not eat meat, she just stared at me, mouth open, unable to find words to voice her incomprehension at such bizarre behaviour. Right enough, there’s not much edible vegetation up there.

      • Vegetables and Climate Scientists are in fact very similar in that, to adequately survive, both require Sunlight, water, and a big helping of BS

    • vegetarians are not the same as Vegetarians.

      vegatarians eat vegetables. Vegetarians want everybody to eat vegetables.

    • What do native peoples everywhere call white vegans and vegetarians?
      Lousy hunters. so I guess they’re not too bright at science generally.

    • What a strange interpretation of his final comment. He made no such inference. Vegetarians that will be there, will be promoting the idea that if we were all vegetarian, so-called global warming would cease. They are therefore part of the mix that are creating huge amounts of CO2 in order to tell us to amend our lifestyles. If there were no CO2 bogy, if we cancelled all fossil fueled energy tomorrow, these conferences would not now stop, they are part of the global conference merry go round.

    • Vegetarian t-bone steak, rump steak, chicken wings,/legs all made from veg. Its like buying an electric car and lifting the hood and finding a 900h gasoline hot rod delight, thank God its only 5%

    • The point………………………………………………………………………………………………….,,..,.,,,.,you

    • With some 40000 delegates and with vegetarians representing some 5% of western populations there would likely be some one or two thousand vegetarians there. Do you consider them some evil ‘fringe group?’ what a strange ending to your narrative. …

      When they start talking about banning meat then yes they have become an oppressive fringe group. No group that has such a small following should even think about imposing their wishes on the majority.

      • “No group that has such a small following should even think about imposing their wishes on the majority.”

        +1

        And yet they do, by the way.

  2. It, this sordid industrial stitch-up by a massive German corporation holds a mirror up, to the ocean going and mendacious deceit that is the very embodiment of the Brussels mafia EU formative Soviet superstate.
    The EU and the green agenda, a very unhealthy symbiosis – where, peddling mythical doom laden scenarios and linked about a life giving harmless gas namely CO₂, is finessed, promulgated to nauseous lengths…and when you go down that path, anything goes, absolutely…….. anything.
    Claiming that, diesel exhaust emissions; “are cleaner and better for the environment” in comparison to those of petrol vehicular emissions…….honestly? CO₂ – was made out to be that much of boogie man! Be not in any doubt: Politicians [Brussels apparatchiks] really are scumbags of the first order.

    Oh NO!……………….. then when the tests are reading too many poisonous emissions – yes that’s right – they cheated their own tests – let me tell you – that’s just how the EU works.

    • Athelstan, the engines emitted nitrogen oxide (NOx) pollutants up to 40 times above what is allowed in the US. Not CO2. Catalytic converters never stopped CO2 to my knowledge. Although I think they have found CO2 irregularities since, probably from burning more fuel, more power, when not in safe mode.

  3. Volkswagen researched what people cared about.
    Mileage and being Green both scored highly.
    Put the two together and reducing CO2 emissions is the priority to boost sales.

    That reducing CO2 emissions has little to do with saving the environment is irrelevant.
    The Media has sold the public that fairy-tale.
    It’s not in Volkswagen’s interest to try and correct the Media.
    They just exploit it.

      • 100% agreed. This is by far the worst Dr. Ball essay I’ve read, it’s horrible. VW simply found a way to pass the absurd EPA emission tests and provided to the customer exactly what they wanted.

        You want to take an issue with them using gimmicks to up sales?! Take issue with just about every business that has ever sold anything then why don’t you.

        Besides, they advertised their low CO2 emissions and very high fuel economy, not that their vehicles produced very little NOx. The level of NOx emissions was necessarily faked on tests, which led to real world fuel economy and CO2 emissions being LOWER than test results. So you see, they accurately advertised their cars to the public and duped the EPA, good for them.

        The real question here is, since most of the science out there shows that volatile organic compounds are the limiting factor for ground level ozone, why has the EPA chosen to restrict the emissions of NOx much more than VOCs? I’ll contemplate this illogical reasoning by the EPA while I drive home with my EPA-approved 15 mpg 5.6 L V8.

    • “That reducing CO2 emissions has little to do with saving the environment is irrelevant. The Media has sold the public that fairy-tale. It’s not in Volkswagen’s interest to try and correct the Media. They just exploit it.”

      Bingo. This was no “self-deception” as the article’s author put it. This was a deliberate attempt to literally capitalize upon the public’s state of mind & situational awareness. Beyond a few scapegoats shoved out the door with silver parachutes, it doesn’t appear they’ll suffer much for it either… certainly not enough to prevent them from trying something like this in the future.

      If you want to punish wrong-doing, then rather than using Steuern das Geld des Volkes to bail out Volkwagon, they ought to make the company provide 5 shares on the NYSE to each & every one of the German people and be done with it.

      • Why should Volkswagen give anything to the German people? They weren’t the ones being harmed by Volkswagen’s deception.

      • “Why should Volkswagen give anything to the German people? They weren’t the ones being harmed by Volkswagen’s deception.”

        @ Mark W: If the corporation broke the law, then it should be punished in a way that those who lead said corporation will most appreciate. What better way for a government to punish a corporation than by critically devaluing its stock while simultaneously buying votes showing the people how magnanimous they are by giving the “fine” directly back to the people they rule represent?

  4. The original issue was not CO2 emissions, but NOx and diesel particulate emissions. VW did exactly what I have done in the past when putting my own personal vehicles through testing programs, use a testing map to get through with very clean results and then go back to the scenario which works best on the road. The two are not the same.

    Unfortunately nobody seems to be asking whether such stringent emissions standards in the US are even appropriate, and whether their (IMO frankly ridiculous) EPA rules are costing everybody. Tuning for emissions standards compromises power and fuel economy, simple as that. VW’s mistake was indeed marketing, as it gives buyers an excuse to claim they have been ripped off in some way and seek compensation. In reality VW provided them with a better vehicle through their supposed “cheating”.

    • +1….or cost analysis said it’s cheaper to get caught than to try and make a car live up to those expectations

    • Indeed it was NOx. Still seems like a case of the conmen finding they’re the subject of a con. Some appreciate the irony. Who is conning who? Where does it end?

      • Remember flying into LA in 70’s, until the last minute there was little evidence of land visible through the photo-chemical smog generate with massive levels of NOx.

        so as bad as these modern cars are said to be they are a stunning improvement over the past. Is this a bit of the old protectionism? When you look at the unbelievable actions of many US Car producers in the past. 4 wheel drives with incorrectly inflated tires, killed hundreds for a start.
        VW have been very silly but casting stones at others can bring unwelcome scrutiny.

      • The problem of course is that there is real pollution, and real ecological impact.

        The greens of course usually fail to spot the real causes for concern.

        NOx is a far worse pollutant than CO2.

        But it is somewhat the result of driving down CO and hydrocarbon emissions.

      • Spot on, except that particulate matter is not the issue, just NOx.

        NOx IS a real pollutant, but it doesn’t become ground level ozone without volatile organic compounds, which gasoline engines happen to emit more of. The EPA emission standards are skewed towards making it harder for diesel engines to pass. Diesel cars at the heart of the issue make up about 35% of the EU consumer vehicle fleet and only comprise something like 3% of the U.S. fleet, yet trends in ground level ozone are the same for Europe and North America. There is no correlation to the ratio of light duty diesel:gasoline vehicles on the road and ground level ozone.

        http://www.eea.europa.eu/data-and-maps/figures/historical-and-projected-trends-in/gmt10_fig1_ozone.png/image_original

    • When BMW first got serious in the U.S. I bought a BMW 2002 in 1968. It was a wonderful, sporty car and more fun to drive than any car I’ve had since. The only problem was that it had early stage pollution controls like an air pump. No catalytic converter. The lovely OHC BMW four cylinder ran rough and awful with the smog controls. I yanked everything off and turned the engine into sweet and smooth for almost 100K. Put all the junk parts back on when I sold it. Never felt a twinge of guilt.

      • The most fun I had driving a car was when I too young to know better. Honestly though, it wasn’t the car (that I still fondly remember) it was the age.

  5. I love low CO2 cars, road tax in the UK is now based on grams emitted per km, and is essentially zero for the lowest emitting cars, much less than in the previous scheme. This is probably the only financial advantage of the current CO2 hysteria for consumers (plenty of advantages of course for the climate priesthood, and providers of “clean” energy).

  6. Something is not right here.

    While there were variations in Nox emissions across a range of manufacturers, Volkswagen was not a shining beacon a league in front of all the other manufacturers. So if VW was falsifying the test results, then surely the other manufacturers were too.

    This report says that the lowest Nox emissions:
    On average, the nitrogen oxides emission level in the new test cycle was more than double the Euro 6 limit value …. The highest emission levels in WLTC were found for a Volvo (14.6 times the limit), a Renault (8.8 times the limit) and a Hyundai (6.9 times the limit) vehicle. A BMW model had the lowest emission level (70 percent below the Euro 6 limit).

    So if BMW had better figures than VW, then what were BMW doing? And if other manufacturers were fiddling figures, then why is VW not screaming ‘victimisation’?

    R

    • It is quite simple: in the case of diesel motors there is an offset between fuel use / CO2 emissions and NOx emissions. Lower fuel use means a leaner mixture and/or a higher compression factor. That gives higher temperatures and more NOx in a diesel motor, which has mostly an overshoot of air, except at full load.

      The only way out is the use of de-NOx catalysts (depleted uranium?) and ammonia (horse piss may be a source, but I hadn’t heard that one before)… But such a catalyst and/or particulate filters are an appreciable cost for small cars in a crowded market, so both the French and German car makers have got that out of the way for years for the smaller cars with less than 2 liter motors by lobbying the European Commission…

      • Yup – I drive a 2011 Dodge Dually when pulling equipment and I plan to keep it because other makers of that year and all newer models require “horse piss” as most folks around here call it. I can do the 80 mph speed limit on Utah Freeways (130 kph) hauling 13,000 pounds and I get passed by big diesel rigs doing 100. Unlikely I will need to trade up in my lifetime as these modern rigs last a long time. Mind you, I still have a 1975 Jeep Cherokee in running order in the driveway though it has a bit of cancer. ( The air pump and associated performance killing and fuel guzzling equipment was removed 30 years ago. If you calculated the saving in emissions by running a more efficient engine back then, the Pollution Control stuff didn’t make any sense. But I guess you have to start somewhere.) Love those old V8’s. ;-)

      • Clearly, you reduce the compression, run it richer, reduce the wear and tear, and shade it back to more CO2 emission. CO2 is the natural dominant combustion byproduct of higher Carbon (and higher energy) diesel. The particulates are the real problem. Filters clog up way too fast. Like putting a potato in the exhaust pipe. Maybe a fluidized bed afterburner???

  7. Thank you
    That was a fine article concerning the appeasement of the con artist.
    Oh what tangled web we weave.

    While I clearly see the con of CAGW, I am also an advocate of reducing the cost of transportation.
    I drive a diesel. Sentimentally, I love the rumble of the engine which probably comes from a lifetime of being around sea faring vessels and machinery. I am also always interested in keeping dough in my pocket and reducing my costs. I’ve tried a neighbor’s biodiesel and it works just swell in the warmer months. It’s cheap and a fine option.

    I recently started reading about solar paint that acts just like a solar panel.
    http://www.nanoflexpower.com/automotive
    Would love a fact check on this if anyone out there is smart on the subject.

    Bad on VW for either being incompetent or an appeaser.
    Give me a vehicle (and/or a dwelling) that is a hybrid with fuel I can make on my own and even semi powered by the sun and I’d be pretty happy. And, I bet there would be quite the market for like minded knuckle draggers.

  8. 21 Nov: Toronto Sun: Lorrie Goldstein: Climate hypocrisy in Paris
    The United Nations will tell us to consume less, while leaving behind a carbon footprint that could choke a horse
    While Europe portrays itself — and will again in Paris — as the global leader in reducing GHG emissions, the only reason it can make that claim is through smoke and mirrors.
    That’s because Europe crafted the 1997 Kyoto accord — which expired in 2012 — to recognize 1990 as the base year for reducing GHG emissions.
    By using 1990, a year before the Soviet Union disintegrated and its industrial GHG emissions dramatically dropped because its economy collapsed, Europe was able to claim much of this emissions drop for itself, as major parts of the former Soviet empire were absorbed by European countries.
    It was an accounting trick. Nothing more…
    Then the more than 80 world leaders scheduled to attend — including Trudeau — will return home and pretend to implement whatever it is they agreed to, without actually lowering GHG emissions…
    That’s why, if Trudeau was to implement Canada’s current GHG reduction plan that has been submitted to the UN, he’d have to shut down the equivalent of 58% of Canada’s oil and gas sector by 2020 and 100% by 2030.
    Which is a good illustration of the ***fantasy world the UN lives in when it comes to climate change.
    http://www.torontosun.com/2015/11/21/climate-hypocrisy-in-paris

    ***”fantasy” no more!?

    22 Nov: Financial Post: Geoffrey Morgan: Anyone who pollutes will pay, Alberta says as it releases tough climate change policies
    CALGARY – Alberta will be coal-power emissions-free by 2030 and will impose a $30 per tonne carbon tax on all emissions – including emissions from cars and furnaces – by 2018…
    Previously, Alberta only charged large emitters, companies that produce more than 100,000 tonnes of carbon per year, a carbon levy. Now, anyone who pollutes will pay…
    A document outlining policy recommendations to the government also shows proposed carbon levies rising every year to 2030, when the recommended price would be $100 per tonne…
    The province estimates the changes will increase the average cost of gasoline, natural gas and electricity by $500 per household in 2018, rising to $900 in 2030…
    Electricity prices are also expected to increase with the retirement of coal-fired electricity…
    The policy is also calling for “transition funding for displaced workers and affected communities.”…
    http://business.financialpost.com/news/energy/anyone-who-pollutes-will-pay-alberta-says-as-it-releases-tough-climate-change-policies

    • Canada should immediately stop coal and oil recovery and export. Trying to make a buck by selling these planet killers to the world makes them no better than the drug cartels.

      /sarc or /snark?

      • Shut down the fossil fuel industry, layoff thousands, get the domino effect going across the country and then maybe people would wake-up.

        Sarc off.

      • There its a better way, snark on.
        In a couple of years Alberta will overthrow the accidentally elected NDP and their cadre of out of town looters.
        Then they will solve Canada’s emissions problems, by joining Saskatchewan, Northern British Columbia and separating from the confederation.
        Easy peasy Canada no longer has a greenhouse gas problem.
        But they may have one hell of a problem finding fresh suckers to loot and having to pay full market value for oil and gas, should finish bankrupting eastern Canada.

      • Sorry John but we have to wait 4 years for the Alberta Socialist mandate to expire and 5 for Trudeaumania2 to dissipate. And then what will the other parties look like? Give it 30 years.

      • But Wayne, it is an emergency.
        The only way Canada can meet the Goals set out by our Liberal Overlords, is if The Oil producing parts of canada are removed.
        Notley will understand this, it is a national emergency for the good of the countries image.
        As for that mandate, democracy is mob rule, a mandate to govern is only as durable as the patience of the misgoverned mob..

  9. There’s an aspect alongside appeasement – big, established corporations suffer less, proportionally, from regulatory burdens than small or startup businesses.

    Regulation has an anti-competitive component that is studiously ignored in policy because A) it makes it easier to get big corps (see oil and insurance for specific examples) to accept or even support regulations (so bureaucrats like it), and B) corps can reduce competition (so they like it – though only up to a point).

    Lies and ignorance, as usual, distort markets *and* regulation.

  10. The historical record is littered with this behaviour as a standard for large multi-national organizations.

    E.g. IBM supported Hitler in WW2 with card punches/readers and know-how to run the German war machine and process Jews and others genocides (IBM and the Holocaust: The Strategic Alliance Between Nazi Germany and America’s Most Powerful Corporation-Expanded Edition http://www.amazon.com/IBM-Holocaust-Strategic-Alliance-Corporation-Expanded/dp/0914153277).

    I don’t see how they could do business on a global scale without appeasement.

    An interesting dilemma.

    • It’s a dilemma.

      If I invest in your company and you promise a greater rate of return than an alternative would I be happy if you failed because you chose to not play along with an intellectually corrupt principle (ie CAGW).

      If I held onto my coal investments I’d be broke. If I invested in any of the solar shams I’d be riding in high cotton.

      20% of the first tier nation populace are chasing ROR. Does what they chose drive the lie or are they just …. appeasing.

      It is a dilemma.

  11. And yet another great post Dr. Ball. Thanks for your efforts.

    It is a crying shame that grown men and women still believe that CO2 can warm the planet in spite of all evidence pointing the other way. Someday, this delusion will be taught in schools along with the tulip bubble.

  12. VW demonstrated that emission test methodologies used by the Government were deeply flawed in the first place.

    And blame for that falls on the Government, not VW.

    • I tend to agree that it is Governments who are most at fault in this, and it is because Governments are signed up to the Climate Change sc*m, not because the likes of VW are signed up to it, but obviously big industry has to do what big Government tells it to do.

      I would expect a car manufacturer to make a car as good as possible that complies with the government test. If there are weaknesses in that test then I would expect the car manufacturer to exploit those weaknesses so that it makes the best car for the public which slips through the testing regime.

      It is up to the Government to formulate the required tests, and to make sure that there are no loop holes. If I had been VW, I would have gone on the offensive and claimed that the cars fully complied with the relevant test, and that is all that matters. If governments wish to rewrite the tests then they can do so.

      In the UK, the Government was well aware that diesel cars produce harmful particulates and decided that it preferred to reduce CO2 at the expense of increasing particulate material/emissions in cities. The department of transport was aware of the competing issues, and chose CO2 reduction so as to safe guard the health and wellbeing of our children’s children, rather than to safeguard the health of the citizen of today. Crazy when particulate emission was known to be harmful, whereas CO2 emission was only thought to be harmful. Shows how little common sense Government departments have.

      • “I would expect a car manufacturer to make a car as good as possible that complies with the government test.”

        Do you seriously think the German government would shut down VW if they just said ‘no, we’ll keep building the cars our customers want’?

  13. Just like the ban on Freon 12 and chemical companies, there are a lot of engine companies making big profits on engine emission regulations. Everyone else pays.

  14. I looked over the EPA’s regulations for testing cars(which is done and certified by the automakers under the aegis of the EPA). They have very specific regulations for doing the testing which is done on a dynamometer/test setup using two very specific sets of test parameters for warmup, acceleration, steady cruise, etc.
    The mfg. reports the test and certifies that they were done properly.
    I found no mention of doing any additional on-the-road testing. The EPA was supposed to be doing on-the-road testing and spot checks but apparently never did.

    So I have a fair amount of sympathy for VW. They did as they were directed to do by regulation. They installed an adaptive computer system that met the directed tests and optimized performance for the customer. I think this mostly shows the incompetence of the EPA and the legislators that wrote the law.

    By coincidence, my daughter bought a Golf with the 2L turbodiesel shortly before this hit the fan and loves it.

    • “They installed an adaptive computer system that met the directed tests and optimized performance for the customer.” ~Phil Cartier

      I think Phil is right in his counterpoint. While Dr. Ball makes a case that the offending company should be punished with fees and its bones thrown out to the condors, it is interesting that despite increasing cafe standards in the industry, VW did not destroy value for the customer. A car is a major purchase for most homes and the buyers and drivers of the car should be first on the minds of the sellers. Under the new system, the demands of molecule-counting bureaucrats and environmentalists will be the only customer.

      In fact, I am afraid to look at what kind of example was made of VW. But if not, it is significant that this is a German maker.

      • The story is far from over and it’s worth remembering that VW went heavy into contrition mode when the scandal finally surfaced; it had been brewing for many months before it hit the news.
        I don’t expect they’ll be trying to argue that it was all fair play after all their apologies.

        VW lied to the EPA but they also lied to their customers by misrepresenting the vehicles’ performance stats. It might be that re-sale value of those cars is not yet drastically affected but that’s probably because the regulators’ response to the situation is still not clear; if it turns out that you can’t license your car until it passes the new and improved emissions test, then the car is not as valuable.
        From what I’ve seen, the Passat and the Jetta have, respectively, a lean NOx trap and Urea injection equipment installed, but programmed to be by-passed when the steering wheel is inactive and when the non-driving wheels are not turning (amongst other things).
        As I recall, unofficial mobile testing of those cars in non-cheat mode reduced the acceleration by a modest amount and around 5 mpg. I’m surprised VW thought it was worth the risk for that kind of an edge.
        As for BMW, the car that West Virginia University tested at the same time as the Passat and Jetta passed the test that the others failed.
        VW continues to incrementally reveal additional vehicles that cheat.

      • Mebbe, I appreciate the perspective you offered. Let me have the honor of being the first to disagree entirely with what you have said.

        When standards are set by the EPA or some consortium of states, the standards may be destructive, or useless, or couterproductive. This is axiomatic. These standards are often made in harmony with international agreements and foreign interests, and not with the knowledge or consent of the buyers and voters. The EPA standards for light trucks, for example, were outrageous and practically impossible to reach, without changing the whole function, performance, and design of the light trucks.

        After excorciating VW for lies lies misrepresentation and cheating, you get to the heart of the entire matter better than anyone else on the thread (which is why I always read your posts). You say, “…if it turns out that you can’t license your car until it passes the new and improved emissions test, then the car is not as valuable.”

        Now we see the naked arm of brute force. And since we are dealling with such precise molecular readings for emmissions molecules, and also with such imprecise measurements as mpg, we know that these laws are the kind that are selectively applied. Very selectively applied. I will end by saying this is exactly like the creation of impossibly complex and cumbersome tax law, and then using public disdain for “lies and cheating” to go after citizens on tax violations. (–A trick all the more devilish when the government first runs up trillions of dollars in debt.)

    • I think Phil has touched on a question here that has bothered me about this kerfuffle. EXACTLY HOW ARE THE EMISSIONS REGULATIONS WRITTEN? If all they say is that manufacturers have to test the new designs in a certain way, and have to verify that their cars will pass the same tests after some mileage – they are saying NOTHING about how the car has to behave BETWEEN the tests. I’ll bet VW simply read the regulations and realized that they DID NOT PROHIBIT doing what VW then did. SO VW has done nothing wrong! The fault is with the government bureaucrats who make unwarranted assumptions about the way these controls can be implemented, and don’t realize that they’ve left a giant loophole. Fine the bureaucrats at EPA.

      • The regulation says that except during start-up and in case of emergency, the motor must behave the normal way, and no “defeat device” can be used to make the motor not normal during tests.

      • Your point is well taken, but it can be seen as a “spirit of the law” vs “letter of the law” thing. If in fact the law did not state that the vehicle had to run the same in between tests, then VW did not violate the letter of the law, but still violated the spirit of the law. And we should remember that we are talking about real pollutants that do impact air quality. Whether or not the requirements are considered too stringent by some, other car companies apparently designed their cars to meet the requirements all the time (not just when being tested). That is probably why the VW was so popular — it was the only car of that type that did not suffer the performance penalty due to the pollution control system.

      • simple-touriste– I think your post simply confirms that the regulations were poorly written. The EPA specified the tests and did not do the proper followup from the beginning. The motor control unit(mcu) has to measure and control the engine inputs and how it operates. The EPA tests are not “normal” operation. That’s a basic engineering mistake- specifying tests that don’t measure the results you actually want. They could simply have said : once the motor has reached operating temperature the exhaust gases must meet the following limits- NOx, CO, etc.

      • As bad as the EPA test cycle is, the European driving cycle is even worse. But back then when they implemented the regulations they had no mobile testing equipment that could test the car under actual driving conditions. Hence the defeat device. Now they can test while driving and that’s how they caught VW cheating.

        They are now updating the regulatory regime. Coordinating this is also part of the drawn out negotiations for a Trans-Atlantic Trade Agreement. If we can agree on the same rules in a number of trade relevant areas it could make a lot of red tape go away for industry in general. Germany supports this but is fighting an uphill battle mainly against France. But the French are not the only ones, and there are split opinions in every country depending on the affected interest groups.

    • I have seen this before. 10 cfr50 appendix b or “you lied and I swore to it” created a priesthood of QA inspectors many of whom were unqualified to inspect…..and besides you can’t “inspect” quality into something. The upshot was that production recognized the reality was not quality but satisfying the stupidity of the quality construct. (Causing a failure in actual quality control.) In this case it appears the EPA created a stupid test VW engineers simply decided that you can’t fix stupid and addressed the requirement. It is not VW’s responsibility to admonish the priesthood but to submit. Now EPA confronted with the damning evidence of stupidity points the flashlight at VW for having complied explicitly with the stupidity. Personally I am enjoying this tempest.

  15. “Future generations will wonder in bemused amazement that the early twenty-first century’s developed world went into hysterical panic over a globally average temperature increase of a few tenths of a degree, and, on the basis of gross exaggerations of highly uncertain computer projections combined into implausible chains of inference, proceeded to contemplate a rollback of the industrial age.”

    Nope at the rate we are going, future generations. like normal people in North Korea, will worship the largess of the UN, live in abject poverty and under iron despotic control and believe they are the wealthiest people in history.

    Meanwhile their rulers will live like emperors.

    Roger

    http://www.thedemiseofchristchurch.com

    • Big business and big government are symbiotic organisms. Big business collects the taxes that allow big government to pass crazy regulations that big business enforces.

      A networked world has no need for big government, which only grew to its present size because it provided economies of scale in an industrial era. And a world where you can manufacture most things you need in your own town has little need for big businesses like Volkswagen. Why own a car that can drive hundreds of miles, if you can just rent a VR drone wherever you want to go? Why pay to ship a car to you from Mexico or Germany if you can build an electric car to your own design in your own garage with a 3D printer? Why send a third of your income to a government thousands of miles away, if you have pretty much everything you need within a hundred miles?

      VW is among the walking dead, and just doesn’t realize yet. Telepresense and local manufacturing technologies are going to implode the industrial economy over the next few decades, particularly mass-produced transport. Neither big business nor big government will survive it.

      The funny part is that those technologies will probably make CO2 usage decline much faster than anything the CAGW nutters can push through Western governments…

  16. “In a classic example of the claim that fact is stranger than fiction, it was Adolf Hitler who sketched the design for the first Volkswagen (Figure1).”

    Volks wagen means car for the folks. This is as opposed to the cars for the government.

    They had massive hoods.

    So we are back to pre-WWII Germany and the activists are continually pushing for idiotic little “cars for the folks.”

    I know a woman who thinks there are two ages in earth history. There is the stone age, before pick up trucks, and there is the modern age, after pick up trucks. And I agree with her.

    All of you men who want to put her and all other women back in the stone age, and reduce her to the poverty of the women in the ME, please explain why.

    I can assure you, she needs it to haul things.

  17. Don’t know about you, but it seems most of my day is spent circumventing things.
    Then just when you thought you were done….more things !!
    It keeps it interesting.

  18. I have a Nissan Qashqai which has a feature whereby when the car stops, eg at lights, the engine will cut out and start again when another action is performed eg foot off brake, turn wheel etc. An indicator shows how much CO2 emission this feature has prevented. So far, after two years my car has prevented 2.0kg of CO2. This is about 1/20,000,000,000,000 of the annual world CO2 emissions due to human activity. Although not much of a selling point it gives me a lovely warm feeling (sorry about the pun) that I am doing my bit to save the planet.

    • Now my Subaru has an mpg display in the middle of the dash, I’ve noticed a big difference in fuel economy on my daily commute based on how many stop lights I hit on the way there. A stop/start system would probably save me a few gallons a year… though it would still be insignificant compared to the 30-40% increase in fuel consumption during the winter, where the engine doesn’t even warm up by the time I get home some days.

      • If you have a Subaru and it is “automagic” (Automatic AWD assuming MY 2003 models) then you can permanently turn your “4×4” in to a “2×4” simply by inserting a certain fuse in a certain slot marked “FWD” (FRONT wheel drive) in the fuse box in the engine bay. And to this day I still ask why! Why build a car that is “4×4”, carry the mass of a second axle/final drive…and NOT use it ALL THE TIME??? Subarus do understeer heavily, but one that is automatic and “AWD” is terrible in my experience. I have owned Subarus since 1996…the Legacy RS Turbo mainly (MANUAL). I think the one I have now, 2003 Imprezza, will be the last. Toyota took over Subaru in about 2000. Not been impressed since.

      • I believe they make that an option in case of a fault in the multi-plate clutch to the rear wheels, or if you have mismatched tires that would cause excessive wear in the clutch. That way, you can still drive the car to somewhere that can fix it.

        As I understand it, they changed the AWD on the automatic cars a few years ago; seems it used to start out 90% FWD and push more power to the rear wheels if they needed it, whereas now it starts out 4WD and drops back to 90% FWD on the highway.

  19. A Langley B.C. golf course is being appropriated as part of Agenda 21 right now :
    “Sun, Nov 1: A rally will be held at Surrey City Hall tomorrow, to protest the city’s appropriation of the family-owned Riverside Golf Centre. It’s been expropriated as part of the city’s plan to create more green space. But as Jill Bennett reports, the owner says he needs better compensation.”

    http://globalnews.ca/video/2312448/golf-course-appropriation-being-fought-in-surrey/

  20. If you work the numbers on IPCC AR5 Figure 6.1 you will discover that anthro C is partitioned 57/43 between natural sequestration and atmospheric retention. (555 – 240 = 315 PgC & 240/555) IMO this arbitrary partition was “assumed” in order to “prove” (i.e. make the numbers work) that anthro C was solely/90% responsible for the 112 ppmv atmos CO2 increase between 1750 – 2011. C is not CO2.

    PgC * 3.67 = PgCO2 * 0.1291 = ppmv atmospheric CO2
    IPCC AR5 Figure 6.1
    …………………………………….PgC/y……ppmv/y
    FF & Land Use Source…….8.9……….4.22
    Ocean & Land Sink…………4.9……… 2.32
    Net Source.……………….…..4.0……….1.90

    If the anthro 8.9 Pg C/y (4.2 ppmv CO2/y) suddenly vanishes the natural cycle that remains would be a constant sink of 2.3 ppmv CO2/y. Reverse extrapolation (GCMs & RCPs apply forward extrapolation) calculates that 121 years in the past (278 ppmv CO2/2.3 ppmv CO2) or the year 1629 (1750-121) atmos CO2 would have been 0, zero, nadda, zip, nowhere to be found.

    Oh, what a tangled web we weave!

    The 8.9 Pg of anthro C simply vanishes in earth’s 45,000 plus Pg C cauldron of stores and fluxes. Mankind’s egoistic, egocentric, conceit means less than nothing to the earth, the solar system and the universe.

    • That’s the aftermath of slamming one into a large chunk of concrete at 70MPH. The steering column is made to pull forward in a collision, but with a hit that hard it just slammed right back. No matter what kind of safety equipment the driver could possibly have in such an impact – dead. A passenger might survive with a NASCAR type harness, helmet and HANS.

      The ‘Smart’ car and similar sized vehicles simply don’t have the size required for effective crumple zones to gradually absorb impact, nor do they have enough bits and pieces to break off for getting rid of kinetic energy as is done with Indy, Formula 1 and other race vehicles.

      • Have crumple zones? I see them on the road and view them as additional crumple zones for every other vehicle on the road.

        pbh

  21. You can see this playing out with fossil fuel companies as well. Shell, Exxon et al spent a huge amount of money funding, legitimizing and listening to the demands of a group of people who are now essentially manufacturing their own controversy through media outlets like the LA and New York Times. Every inch they gave the most rabid of our current “environmental” movement took and now backed onto a precipice they have either fight back against a determined enemy or possibly perish.

    The only bright side (assuming you are bitter and revenge driven like myself) is that some of those, such as Steyn, Buffet and the Rockefellers who are funding the current movement seem to think they will be forever immune. I personally doubt that. In the event some of these more radical organizations actually get what they want I’m sure another even wealthier billionaire or monarch will come along and those twits will find themselves next on the hit list.

  22. One thing that I personally keep coming back to is WHY did the EPA keep the VW NOx thing stashed on the shelf for two whole years ? – and why bring it out now?

    Banking PR antidotes ? nah……. couldn’t be.

  23. My cousin is a vegetarian until she comes east from CA to Easton PA, we go to Pberg (Phillipsberg, NJ) across the Delaware River and get a special Philly cheese steak. I have been there several times with her…

    • Downright precious list
      Thanks
      This one was one of my favorites
      “at the brink of significance (p=0.06)” … you’d need to wear a tie, and perhaps a meaningful pin of accomplishment and and have moving graphics to make this one hit the sweet spot in the brain.

    • In many cases the word “significance” can be replaced by “insignificance” without changing the meaning.

  24. Since adding CO2 to the atmosphere is beneficial to the biosphere, Volkswagen didn’t do anything wrong. Yes, they broke the law, but it is the law that is in error, not Volkswagen.

    So when Tim Ball says that “…some, like Volkswagen, are now, rightfully, paying the price”, he is absolutely wrong. There’s nothing wrong about adding the “gas of life” to the atmosphere.

    People need to wake up.

    • The CO2 emissions were not the problem. The problem is the NO2 emissions which are notorious in diesel engines because the fuel burns at a lower temperature than in petrol engines.

      • Diesel burns hotter in an engine than petrol. Diesel has a lower in open air flash point than petrol, ~210c/diesel ~250c/petrol. One of the reasons diesel is economical is that it burns hotter when injected in to a compressed air cylinder. It’s another reason why turbo chargers work well with diesel raising the air temperature in the cylinder faster before injecting fuel.

  25. “programming their performance monitoring computers to give lower readings on exhaust emissions when subjected to government testing”.

    This way of presenting it suggests they fiddled the data, but that is not the case. They programmed the engine computers to run the engine in a lower NO2 emission mode (but slightly less energy efficient, because the car doesn’t move and therefore it doesn’t matter) when the software figures out that the engine is being tested (for instance by knowing that the car doesn’t move). They tuned the engine to give the desired emission outcomes on the test bench but concealed that under road conditions, requiring a different tuning for efficiency, those emissions can be quite different.

  26. What a strange post. VW tricked the Nitrous Oxide regulation, nothing whatsoever to do with CO2, really guys? Diesels have a higher compression ratio, hence higher temps inside the combustion chamber, which is the source of their economy in the first place. VW did not contribute any more to so-called Global Warming, NOx has nothing to do with Global Warming/Climate Change. How is it that only one other commenter pointed this out?

    And, it is not Horse Piss, it is a urea injection which will be required to put the newer VW’s back into compliance. Lots of Diesels have this system already.

    Dr. Tim Ball why did you write this?

  27. I never knew Hitler sketched that drawing for the “people’s car”. Funny how so many Germans paid in to the system, but never got to even buy one let alone drive one. The first people to actually drive a “Beetle” were allied commanders.

    • Two internet hoaxes in 1 comment : 1. Hitler sketched the first design for the VW,
      2. Allied commanders were the first to drive a Beetle.

      • Point 1. Refer to Dr. Tim Ball for the label on fig 1 in the post. Point 2. No “internet” hoax. You should do some more reading, in a library.

      • @Patrick MJD,
        1. The basic design for the Beetle was done by Béla Barényi in 1925, five years before Ferdinand Porsche perfected it, and some eight years before Hitler decided to use Porsche’s design for “his” Volkswagen.

        2. During WWII a limited amount of Beetles were produced for the Nazi elite. (It is true that they weren’t mass-produced until after the war, and that the factory survived the first year by producing cars for the British army).

        O yes, Hitler started out as a landscape painter, but that doesn’t make him a car designer.

      • And thanks for pointing out the fact that many Germans who paid into the system didn’t get to own nor drive a “Beetle”.

  28. I find it rather ironic that the Greens want everyone to be a vegetarian and yet want to reduce CO2 to starvation levels….for plants.

  29. Business is Business? With a placard for a name, and not holding to normal standards of freedom or democracy, the corporate agenda is to make money. Every time mere people expect them to obey social rules that have been set by the democratically elected government (that they have great control over). They whinge and make a fuss like a frantic tree hugger.

  30. Germany can’t gain too much steam over and above Greece, VW has to pay the piper. The piper of course are its currency makers in Belgium. With market forecast looking so dull car manufacturers (and all manufacturers for that matter) love new regulations that charge people more to maintain older models.

  31. Tim Ball:

    I usually enjoy your essays but I disagree with the one above. You say

    Volkswagen’s deception was a self-deception because with some of the best engineers and scientists, they chose to accept the claims of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

    Sorry, but that is wrong. Whether or not VW “chose to accept the claims of the IPCC” has no relevance to what VW did and why VW did it.

    VW made a commercial decision on how best to comply with EU Directives and national legislations concerning CO2 emissions, but VW’s decision included a small legal mistake with large repercussions for VW.

    A car can operate in more than one mode and the modes can be changed by the computer which operates a modern car engine. One mode provides low CO2 emissions and low fuel consumption but poor performance. Another mode provides high CO2 emissions and high fuel consumption but good performance.

    EU Directives, national legislations and advertising of car sales to potential purchasers each demand low CO2 emissions and low fuel consumption. But car owners want good performance. VW achieved these objectives by
    (a) having each vehicle normally operate for good performance with high CO2 emissions and high fuel consumption,
    and
    (b) setting the computer to detect when emissions were being monitored and to then operate in the mode that provides low CO2 emissions and low fuel consumption but poor performance.

    The automation of this switching is deemed to be “cheating”, and VW is being penalised for having automated it.

    Many other vehicles obtain the same objective in the same basic way but are deemed to not “cheat” because they do not automate the switching between modes. For example, on the dashboard of my Peugot 308 cc there is a button adjacent to the ignition switch and pressing the button changes the car from its low CO2 emission mode to its good performance mode. This is not deemed to be “cheating” because a driver has to consciously alter mode for good performance by pressing the button, but every driver presses the button when turning on the ignition.

    VW is suffering major repercussions from having made a small legal mistake in complying with legislation while attempting to sell vehicles people want.

    Richard

    • The BBC almost agrees with you, in that it hysterically cries cheat, while quietly admitting it maybe legal in Europe.

      VW cars can also cheat European emissions tests, BBC learns:-
      “VW has admitted it used the device to rig tighter pollution tests in America.
      But it’s been more ambiguous about whether it used the same tactics to actively cheat official European tests.
      Panorama’s results suggest that it did.
      It could have huge implications for the company, which says it is still yet to determine whether the cheating software even breaks the law in Europe.”

      http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-34857404

    • Contrary to what Tim Ball wrote the VW ‘cheating’ has nothing to do with CO2. The issue is the reduction of NOx, in fact by running the Diesel engines in a more efficient mode the VWs were consuming less fuel and therefore producing less CO2. The difficulty with the lean burn Diesel engines is that they either produce soot or NOx, there is a ‘sweet spot’ in operation where both are minimized but not enough to meet regulations.
      Consequently a catalytic/reactor system has to be used, VW chose a system which ran in a low pollution mode during testing, but a high efficiency mode during road operation. One reason being that the low pollution mode consumes more urea and they wished to reduce the recharging with urea for consumers.

      • Phil.

        The NOx issue is only pertinent because in the US it revealed the ‘cheating’.

        If it makes you happier then substitute ’emissions’ for ‘CO2 emissions’ throughout my post.

        Richard

      • You’re wrong Richard, the ‘cheating’ was to beat the NOx emissions limits not the CO2, it’s what the whole issue is about, CO2 has nothing to do with it! In fact when the ‘defeat mechanism’ was activated to increase NOx the CO2 was lower.

      • Phil.:

        I refer anybody who wants details of your pedantic point to the above post in this thread by Ferdinand Engelbeen and the subsequent posts in the resulting sub-thread.

        I stand by my brief explanation of the issue and my statement that said
        VW is suffering major repercussions from having made a small legal mistake in complying with legislation while attempting to sell vehicles people want.bold

        Richard

  32. I strongly suspect that industry plays along with, lobbies for and welcomes these kind of strict regulatory controls on products.
    Major corporations in the EU are heavily involved in the process of setting standards.
    Ideally standards should be tough to comply with.
    The reason for this, is that their purpose is to exclude certain competitors and entrepreneurs and innovation and new entrants to the marketplace.
    Now that VW has revealed a part of the hoax, the goalposts will doubtlessly be moved to allow VW back into the game.
    What VW and the German government would have really preferred would have been a mandatory requirement that all cars can pass a “made and tested in Germany” test.
    Mazda’s RX-8 was unable to jump through any of these hoops, and was thereby eliminated. Hurrah!!
    This is exactly why the strict emissions contest is so keenly needed by the companies which pretend to cooperate:
    “The sales of the RX-8 ended in 2010 in Europe after failing to meet increasingly demanding emission standards”.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mazda_RX-8

    P.S. I can’t prove that the above is true. But it is as plausible an explanation as any.

  33. Now compare Exxon’s behavior with that of the insurance industry. They spend millions, to great praise, funding documentaries and promoting and exploiting severe weather threats for the sole purpose of selling more products.

    Yet from the link we get ““Our business depends on us being neutral. We simply try to make the best possible assessment of risk today, with no vested interest,” says Robert Muir-Wood, the chief scientist of Risk Management Solutions (RMS)”

    These companies cannot survive unless they are neutral. They know that if they over-estimate risk, it raises the cost of insurance and reduces the amount of insurance sold. That is standard economics. They have zero incentive to over-estimate risk.

    Yet they say “But even in the short term, Muir-Wood’s team has determined, the risk of a variety of disasters seems to have already shifted. “The first model in which we changed our perspective is on U.S. Atlantic hurricanes. Basically, after the 2004 and 2005 seasons, we determined that it was unsafe to simply assume that historical averages still applied,”

    This is the hard-headed, practical , bottom-line focused world of business, not wooly thinking academics.

    • seaice:

      The hokey you have swallowed is NOT “neutral” but is – as you assert – “the hard-headed, practical , bottom-line focused world of business”.

      Higher premiums provide insurance companies with greater income so long as the premiums are not so high as to deter insurance purchases. And hypothetical future risks – such as dangerous man-made global warming – provide an excuse to raise premiums.

      There is no evidence of any kind that damages from man-made global warming have occurred. Indeed, in recent decades storms have reduced in number and in severity. So, Muir-Wood’s team is making an assertion to excuse higher premiums when they claim to have determined that the risk of a variety of disasters seems to have already shifted in a manner that would increase future risks.

      Richard

      • You don’t believe the insurance market is competitive then? The only way an insuance company in a competitive market can make money is to asses the risks correctly. If they over-estimate the risks, then they will be undercut by other companies offering lower premiums. This is basic economic stuff and applies to insurance as it does to oranges. Increase the price you reduce the sales. There are such things as market failures, but what has failed in this market to allow some companies to raise the price and increase sales?

        If I were running an insurance company and I believed the other companies were selling premiums at an inflated price, I would simply undercut them.

      • seaice:

        Of course I “believe the insurance market is competitive”.

        Clearly, you don’t understand how competition works.
        What successful businesses do is relevant and what you would do is not.
        Price is NOT the only marketing consideration.

        Richard

    • Please explain why the rules of competition would not work as usual in this case then. Why would a company offering lower premiums not attract a greater share of the market and out-compete the competitors?

      To help you out, one way this could happen is by a cartel. All insurance companies get together to fix the rates. This establishes effectively monopoly conditions – a well known market failure that results in excess profits and a reduced supply.

      Do you think the insurance companies are operating a cartel (which is illegal)? If not, then explain why normal competition would not work.

      Otherwise you are left with hand-waving.

  34. Google

    Tennessee Governor Phil Breedesn

    Volkswagen

    TVA power purchase agreement

    Silicon Ranch

    Nice neat and corrupt

  35. Corporations know that as long as all companies are hit with the same regulations, they will be able to pass the costs on to the consumer while at the same time reaping the praises of govt and media alike.
    Even better, big corporations know that they can absorb the cost of regulations more easily can smaller companies, which puts them at a competitive advantage.
    Finally, if they are big enough, they can use their influence to shape regulations to their own advantage. That is, they get hurt less than do their competitors.
    To some, this is evidence that corporations have too much influence with govt and regulators. So they seek to write regulations to limit the influence of corporations. The problem is that the same corporations that are currently influencing regulators will have strong influence on the writing of these new regulations.
    As long as govt controls the market, the first thing that will be marketed are regulators and regulations.
    That’s basic human nature and there is nothing govt can do to change that.
    The only solution is to reduce regulations to the point where govt power is no longer worth buying.

  36. I designed the vehicles to operate at maximum efficiency. At a stopped/idle there is no reason for power, so the engine operation was programmed as such. For the acceleration and higher fuel mileage considerations, I programmed the engine operational parameters for maximum efficiency.

    We apology for, and deeply regret, the incompetence in not realizing that the government mandated testing methodology would result in an inaccurate representation of the overall (and average) emissions. Our own statistical analysis, although now obviously flawed, showed that we were honestly trying to do the right thing (but no, you can’t review it because you just want to pick it apart)

    There was no intent to deceive (and no, you cannot look at any internal e-mails or correspondence).

    Now that I think about it, I don’t apologize. If my bosses will just provide with me with more resources and time I will be able to show that there really weren’t any emissions of concern.

  37. My apologies in advance for this lengthy post. There are a number of misconceptions on this thread. Let me try to clear up a few.

    There are macro-motives and micro-motives that determine the way the various players act.

    Macro-motives are [not a complete list]:

    – Regulatory environment as far as CO2 is concerned. This is driven by the European Commission in Brussels and has a direct impact on fuel consumption. The allowable grams of CO2 emissions per kilometer (0.62 miles) are continuously being reduced. In the US this is driven by the CAFE (Corporate Average Fuel Consumption) standards. It is essentially 6 of one and half a dozen of the other. It goes in the same direction.
    – Regulatory environment as far as NOx is concerned. This is driven mainly by the EPA and by the California EPA (and 9 other states aligned with California). EPA rules regarding NOx are much stricter than what Brussels allows, in CA they are even more strict. Europe is planning to play catchup in the NOx field.
    – Export markets: how important are they for your national champions and what is their regulatory environment?

    – What type of cars does your economy produce in terms of market segment, price, weight, power, desirability?

    – What footprint does your auto industry have in terms of employment and contribution to GDP and tax revenue?

    Micro-motives are – depending on your rank and responsibility in the organization [not a complete list]:

    – How do I get re-elected? This applies to politicians?
    – How do I appease my voters with environmental concerns? See #1 above
    – How can I get an unelected job in Brussels where I make a ton of money and don’t pay taxes on it? That applies to the European Commission – EC – and their staff.
    – How can I accrue the utmost power in my unelected office and expand my budget and staff?
    – How can I gain a competitive advantage for the country (not necessarily my own) whose support put me in this position of power, thus guaranteeing their continuing support? That applies to the EU Commissioners.
    – How can I keep my shareholders happy and maximize profit? [Any CEO]
    – How can I keep the environmentalists off my back? [Management of any corporation]
    – How can I build a product that fulfills all safety, environmental, safety, and other requirements and keep the cost so low that we can sell it for a profit.
    – How can I make my boss happy and keep my job?

    Let me flesh out the above.

    Behind the scenes in Brussels there is a war going on between the German automobile industry on one side and the French and the Italians on the other side. The others in Europe are either bystanders or supporters of one side or the other, depending on where the assembly plants and suppliers are located and how they are being bribed with subsidies or political horse trading.

    In general the German auto industry is better financed and is driving technological progress based on higher profits and larger scale. France and Italy are trying to drive allowable CO2 emissions per kilometer down because their industry mainly produces small, lightweight, cheap cars with little premium appeal and small profits per unit. Volkswagen and its subsidiaries Skoda and SEAT, not to mention Porsche, Audi, etc. can sell cars with more appeal for a higher price due to higher resale values and better financing options. Lower CO2 emissions means a competitive advantage for the French and Italian OEMs.

    There are opportunities for haggling. If your cars on average exceed the allowable CO2 emissions limit on a fleet basis, then there are offsets available based on the number of electric cars and hybrid cars you are selling. How much you can offset is determined by a number of fudge factors negotiated essentially between the governments and the EU Commission. Germany can line up a large number of countries in support based on the large footprint of the German industry in other European countries, but they cannot dictate the rules. Also their own green lobby stabs German industry in the back.

    In a way, while pretending to be sensitive to the environment CO2 is merely a battle space for national advantage and for environmental NGOs to extract funds.

    Between low CO2 limits in Europe and lower NOx limits in the US, and even lower limits in California and its fellow traveler states :-), VW is caught between a rock and a hard place. The US is an important export market for the German auto industry, not so important for the Italians, and completely unimportant for the French. Outside of Europe the Italian and French auto industry typically sell in markets with less stringent environmental rules.

    Now, let’s look at engine technology:

    Gas engine: higher CO2 output per km or mile than a Diesel due to lower efficiency than a Diesel. This depends a bit on the operating environment. In general the exhaust temperatures of a gasoline engine are higher than those of a Diesel as less actual energy is extracted for propulsion from the potential energy. Since the higher exhaust temperatures keep the catalytic converter within good operating range a gasoline engine is a better fit for a hybrid, especially a plug-in-hybrid, than is a Diesel. In addition the exhaust treatment is much simpler as you need only a fairly cheap to make catalytic converter that deals mainly with CO (Carbon Monoxide) and UHC Unburned Hydrocarbons. A typical 3-way catalyst only has 1/7th the amount of Platinum of a Diesel and mainly uses a combination of PGM metals (Platinum Group Metals), typically Palladium and Rhodium. Newer lean burn engines with modern turbochargers and engine-transmission controls give you lots of low end torque, a well balanced torque curve, and good fuel mileage.

    Diesel engine: lower CO2 output due to higher efficiency and better conversion of potential energy in energy for propulsion, but much higher NOx emissions due to surplus of oxygen, especially so in lean burn mode.

    There are some detriments to a Diesel:
    – The higher cost of manufacturing Diesel engines as they require tougher specs in engineering.
    – The higher cost of the Diesel Oxidation Catalyst (DOC) due to the amount of Platinum needed to remove CO & UHC.
    – Low exhaust temperatures are not beneficial for use in a hybrid as the engine cannot maintain operating temperatures well.
    – The necessity of one or two additional exhaust treatment systems to deal with NOx reduction.

    THIS LAST ITEM ABOVE IS CRUCIAL IN THIS CONTEXT!

    VW was betting on the Clean Diesel technology in the US, betting they could achieve the required emissions targets while making a profit, instead of competing in the Hybrid space. This would have allowed them to spread their R&D and manufacturing costs over a larger number of engines. It would seem that this decision was mainly made by management and that then the engineers were told to make it happen, or else….

    There are currently two systems being used to achieve reduction of NOx emissions in a Diesel engine:
    – LNT = Lean NOx Trap
    – SCR = Selective Catalytic Reduction

    LNT functions by running the engine in lean mode (high NOx) for about 30 seconds and storing this exhaust in an adsorption sponge. Then you run the engine in rich mode for about 90 seconds and release the exhaust trapped in the adsorption material using the excess fuel as a reduction agent. This technology does not require a lot of space or cost, but it is limited to engines with a maximum displacement of 2 liters. A disadvantage is the fuel consumption which is higher than if the engine was running in lean mode all the time.

    VW installed an illegal defeat device by installing the software that would switch to test stand mode under certain driving parameters. It has been mentioned above that VW made a “small legal error”. Not so! This was a deliberate attempt to deceive. Why they did so and who initiated it and who knew about it and when did they know about it is the question here.

    VW could have used the SCR technology, and they do in their 3 liter 6 cylinder engines and in the 2 liter engine in the US version of the Passat. This Passat is much larger than the “Rest of the World Passat” and was specifically developed for the US to compete with the Toyota Camry and the Honda Accord. SCR works while running the engine in a very fuel efficient lean burn mode all the time. As a reduction agent you inject a urea-water solution, trade name AdBlue among others. However, this requires room for a rather large tank for urea to last you between annual inspections based on an annual usage of 10,000 to 12,000 miles. In my Mercedes ML-320 Bluetec they used the space of the spare tire, which they eliminated to install a 40 liter (10.57 US gal.) tank. This was needed as the filler cap is in the trunk space. As a consumer you do not want to fill this up yourself unless you have great manual dexterity. Hint: it smells really bad if you spill it as the term “urea” implies. There was no external filler cap as the design of the vehicle preceded the SCR implementation. In the US you had a hard time finding the catalytic agent (AdBlue) at gas stations and you don’t want to drive to the car dealer for a fill-up all the time either. That’s why they made the tank so large.

    However, putting an SCR catalyst requiring a large tank in a small car is difficult both from a space and cost point of view. In addition, in the older Golf and Jetta models it would have required the redesign of the platform / chassis, a redo of the crash tests and following all attendant federal and state regulations to re-license the vehicle. The cost was prohibitive and one needs to ask oneself the question why they just didn’t forego the sale of Diesels in the US until a new platform specifically designed for SCR and or a new engine design functional with LNT was available.

    The newer car designs also have the advantage of external filler caps. You don’t make a mess when you refill. And at least in Europe there is a EU requirement for these external filler caps and the availability of AdBlue / Urea solution at gas stations, at some point even from a pump, just like water or air. This would allow a much much smaller tank for urea and it would open up more design solutions for the car maker.

    The SCR emissions treatment had one additional decided disadvantage from the point of view of VW. It suffered from NIH = Not Invented Here. It was a technology mainly developed by Daimler (Mercedes), and VW management apparently, the story goes, hated it. The NIH syndrome is very wide spread, both in business and in government.

    It has been mention in an earlier post that most cars exceed allowable NOx limits, and that is true. The driving cycles do not reflect reality. BMW was able to achieve real life NOx emissions much lower than most others. In some vehicle types BMW has implemented a combined LNT & SCR technology, something that may have to come to other vehicles as well in order to meet government mandates. As a manufacturer in the Premium segment of the market BMW can afford to do so. It is a pricey solution, but many BMW buyers want what they want regardless of the price. The same is true for virtually all buyers in this price segment.

    The additional cost of exhaust treatment with ever tighter regulations makes it increasingly difficult for the Non Premium brands to compete in the Diesel space. Attempts by local governments, such as the City of Paris, to lower soot and NOx levels show in which direction this is going. And here is a tidbit that probably is surprising to US readers: in the upper reaches of the German Premium brands (Audi A6 & A8, BMW 5 & 7 series, Mercedes E & S Class, Large SUVs) the percentage in Germany sold with a Diesel engine is typically between 80% – 90%. These vehicles are mainly used for business and they give you long range at high speed with great mid-range torque. The increasing efficiency and torque of the newer gasoline engines nibbles away at any Diesel advantages for small cars.

    Getting back to Micro-motives and VW engineers. It seems that a fairly small number of VW engineers and executives were involved. The CEO, Mr. Winterkorn, had at some point promised a fleet fuel consumption reduction of 30% until 2020 (I think), and apparently made it clear that this goal was mandatory. He was known not to want to hear the words “it cannot be done”, according to various press accounts. Some managers and engineers in charge of the engine lines were under a lot of pressure to achieve this and it could not be done. So they cheated, maybe to keep their jobs. Talking about a Micro-motive in the larger scale of things.

    According to what I have heard a number of other OEMs could not achieve the results published by VW as far as emissions and mileage are concerned. They wondered why VW’s numbers seemed to be so much better. Now they know why, VW cheated.

    This puts also a different spin on the events of March of 2015 when Ferdinand Piëch, the then head of VW’s supervisory board, tried to get rid of Mr. Winterkorn, the CEO. Ferdinand Piëch, a grandson of Dr. Ferdinand Porsche, and a man not to be trifled with, and voting more than 25% of the VW shares [the Porsche side of the family controls another 25%], lost the first round of the battle and withdrew from the supervisory board, as did his wife. In hindsight it would seem that this was about the current emissions issue, back then not known by the public but it had to be know by then to VW. Piëch tried to put new management in in order to do some house cleaning and be proactive before this issue reared its ugly head. It certainly would have given them a head-start with the EPA and other players. One can see why he didn’t mention the reason for his displeasure with Mr. Winterkorn back then. Now it is damage repair, but Mr. Piëch looks vindicated at the cost of several billion Dollars of his own fortune . After all, VW shares are trading at about 40% of their 52 week high. But it did give him the opportunity to expand the family’s shareholdings at a better price.

    Currently Bosch as a supplier of Diesel fuel injection pumps and software for the ECU (Engine Control Unit) is under pressure by the EPA. Bosch originally supplied the software to VW with the proviso that it must only be used for test purposes and must not be used in an actual engine sold commercially. VW apparently disregarded that.

    Getting back to Dr. Tim Ball’s proposition, I don’t think the corporations have much choice when governments tell them they must comply with rules and regulations. Had VW not done so, or pretended to do so, it would not have been able to sell their cars in most markets in the world. The IPCC, wrong or right, plays no role. I am not aware of German government subsidies for VW to weather this storm – VW sits on a large pile of cash and continues to generate profit, but there will be political support. This will have an impact on the fines being assessed by the EPA and others. At THAT point this will be decided between the heads of state/government in a typical horse trading session.

    Sorry for the long post! :-)

    • There are pollutants reduction mandates and CO2 reduction mandates. Minimising CO2 production minimises fuel consumption, but I wonder what it does to energy consumption overall.

      All this added complexity and fragility must have an energy cost. At some point the increase of energy use of the industry must dominate any fuel energy decrease.

      • Agreed! A very good point. In addition it drives costs and lengthens the replacement cycle. The result is a higher average fleet age as many people push out replacing the old car with a new one.

        Many environmentalists consider that a good thing though as making a car also has an environmental impact. I guess you can only make them happy if you kill yourself, insist on a burial in a recyclable cellulose bag, and leave all your money to them, as any other action will have an impact on someone somewhere.

      • I believe that the powder of firearms is very polluting. After the great war, many soldiers were intoxicated by heavy weapons smoke.

        What is the clean way of killing yourself?

      • I was in tanks. When on maneuvers I found the deep rumble of the engine and the combined smell of gasoline (an old M48 tank with a 24 liter 12 cylinder, 840 hp engine, a veritable Ronson lighter in case of war), steel, oil, spent machine gun and tank ammo, quite intoxicating. Wouldn’t want to be in one in case of war though.

    • Manfred Schropp:

      Thankyou for your very fine post.

      My main reason for commenting on your post is to commend people to read it because some skip over long posts and yours deserves attention.

      I also write to reply to your saying

      VW installed an illegal defeat device by installing the software that would switch to test stand mode under certain driving parameters. It has been mentioned above that VW made a “small legal error”. Not so! This was a deliberate attempt to deceive. Why they did so and who initiated it and who knew about it and when did they know about it is the question here.

      I think it is my post(s) that you are disputing. I said

      VW made a commercial decision on how best to comply with EU Directives and national legislations concerning CO2 emissions, but VW’s decision included a small legal mistake with large repercussions for VW.

      and

      The automation of this switching is deemed to be “cheating”, and VW is being penalised for having automated it.

      Many other vehicles obtain the same objective in the same basic way but are deemed to not “cheat” because they do not automate the switching between modes. For example, on the dashboard of my Peugot 308 cc there is a button adjacent to the ignition switch and pressing the button changes the car from its low emission mode to its good performance mode. This is not deemed to be “cheating” because a driver has to consciously alter mode for good performance by pressing the button, but every driver presses the button when turning on the ignition.

      What VW did is agreed as being illegal and the illegality is costing VW much so could be considered to be very serious: indeed, every lawyer would consider it to be serious. However, I consider what VW did to be “a small legal mistake with large repercussions for VW” because the vehicle’s actual performance in use is not illegal: it is the automated switching which is illegal because it is assumed to have the intention of “deceiving”.

      Richard

      • Thank you for the compliments and commendation, Richard! I have often noticed your posts and they are always materially contributing to the topic and I pay close attention to them.

        I am not a lawyer, but at least in the US, including the People’s Republic of California, where I have the honor of living 100 miles south of our host Anthony, such a defeat device is illegal, automated or not. And that seems to be the main issue here. Now, VW made indeed a small legal mistake in their applications for the 2016 6-cyl. Diesel engines which are all SCR de-NOx’ed. As a result they will likely not be able to sell them soon although they may actually be in compliance with the NOx emissions limits in the US and CA. These cars include all 3 liter Diesel engines of Audi, Porsche, & Volkswagen.

        The main problem in terms of numbers of cars produced or sold are the VWs sold with their 2.0 liter Diesel engine in the US. These are almost all LNT de-NOx’ed. Some use SCR, such as the Passat (current generation). What they did there was clearly illegal.

        The interesting thing is that with SCR VW didn’t have to cheat, but they may be out of compliance anyway as the ECU may contain code not even applicable or active in the 3 liter engines. The question is did even the engineers know what was in the code that a prior generation of engineers had left them. I assume that the software switch for switching into test mode was not documented at all and that the code was never thoroughly reviewed by internal or external audits. This goes back to about 2007. The current guys may not have known.

        In Europe VW also cheated wrt CO2 emissions, even in gasoline engines to meet the gram CO2/km limitations. They did this by inflating tires beyond recommendations (less rolling resistance) and adding Diesel fuel into he motor oil to reduce friction. NOT RECOMMENDED FOR THE PUBLIC! This reduced fuel consumption as tested and gave VW a leg up in meeting the European CO2 rules.

        The issue is, how good or bad is the internal revision at VW and how could a potentially very small number of people circumvent all these safeguards. BMW seems to have much tougher safeguards in place. A few rogue engineers could not bring the company down like that. Ultimately this comes down to the management culture in the company and if you are in danger of being fired for bringing bad news to your boss. Scuttlebutt has it that at least one manager who dared to speak up to Mr. Winterkorn was fired on the spot. That sends a clear message to all employees via the water cooler messaging system.

      • Richard and Manfred

        I have made a comment a bit below. I do not know enough about what VW did, or what the test regulations are, to form a view on whether VW did something illegal, or not.

        It may be that people are jumping to conclusions.

        For starters, how does the engine know it is being tested? Does it get feedback from GPS thereby knowing that the car is in a test centre/ Does it have sensors attached to the exhaust, thereby realising that a device is being fitted to the exhaust to measure exhaust gases?

        I suspect that the engine does not know that it is being tested, but rather it has a mode of performance that applies when the engine is running in a mode that it would be running in, if it were to be tested.

        I suspect that the engine has a different mode of performance if the engine is being operated in conditions that it would encounter when being driven on the roads.

        To me, that is something rather different, and not necessarily illegal, but simply good engineering design.

      • The engine knows exactly when it is being tested (see below for an explanation).

        Volkswagen has admitted culpability because they are clearly culpable. This has nothing to do with the ECU adjusting to different load or driving conditions, and it is quite well understood and even allowed that the vehicle will emit more NOx under certain driving conditions. The government agencies, whatever you think of them, do have some connection to reality.

        What VW did applies to three different scenarios:

        – they admitted to cheating on a small number of cars (they are not entirely sure how many yet, but believe it to be below 100,000) on CO2 emissions to get a better, meaning lower, rating in emitted grams of CO2 per km to meet Brussel’s fleet requirements. This applies essentially only to Europe.

        – there are now questions, let’s call them speculations, if the larger Diesel engines equipped with the SCR system (urea solution injection into the exhaust stream) were programmed as advertised. They could theoretically, and we are not sure of it yet, have programmed the ECU so that less urea solution is injected. You can do that also via a test only mode. That way more NOx would have been emitted in real life but the benefit to the customer would have been a money saving through fewer refills of urea solution. This applies to the US, but possibly also to Europe.

        – but what VW did was program the ECU specifically so that it had a “defeat device” in cars equipped with LNT de-NOx systems. This is clearly spelled out in EPA guidelines as illegal. This software can recognize when it is being tested because all these tests are performed under certain parameters, just like a SMOG test is at your local station. Except that OEMs self-certify and the EPA tests only a small sample of models.

        The ECU will know that it is being tested because some or all of the following conditions are being met:

        – the wheels on the axle providing motive force are moving
        – the wheels on the non-driven axle are standing still (2WD only)
        – the steering wheel is pointing straight but is not being moved
        – the diagnostic port is connected to a device
        – the engine RPM follow a certain prescribed protocol
        – others I am not aware of

        What VW did with this “defeat device” is switch to a test only mode. This is specifically significant in Models with a Diesel engine with Lean NOx Trap (LNT) technology. The tests, both US and Europe, are well defined and it is easy to program the ECU to recognize it.

        In test mode the engine switches between about 30 seconds or so of lean mode (high NOx emissions) during which the exhaust is adsorbed in a sponge like trap = ergo Lean NOx Trap. Then it switches for about 90 seconds into rich mode, consuming more fuel, but providing via the excess fuel a reduction agent to reduce the NOx being released from the adsorption material.

        In non-test mode, i.e. in regular driving mode, these engines emit high NOx levels as the LNT technology is essentially switched off, it would seem, in order to obtain high mileage. It is as if these cars had no de-NOx system at all. These violations apply to the US and also to cars sold in Europe.

      • richard verney:

        It seems that you and I have similar opinions on this matter.

        You say

        I suspect that the engine does not know that it is being tested, but rather it has a mode of performance that applies when the engine is running in a mode that it would be running in, if it were to be tested.

        I suspect that the engine has a different mode of performance if the engine is being operated in conditions that it would encounter when being driven on the roads.

        To me, that is something rather different, and not necessarily illegal, but simply good engineering design.

        Your suggestion is precisely what I have been trying to say about the engine modes and their operation. Hence, my comment concerning the manual switching of the engine modes of my diesel engined Peugot 308 cc.

        But it seems clear that VW has accepted that the automated switching between engine modes is illegal in the US.

        As I said

        What VW did is agreed as being illegal and the illegality is costing VW much so could be considered to be very serious: indeed, every lawyer would consider it to be serious. However, I consider what VW did to be “a small legal mistake with large repercussions for VW” because the vehicle’s actual performance in use is not illegal: it is the automated switching which is illegal because it is assumed to have the intention of “deceiving”.

        And that fits with your suggestion.

        What I call “a small legal mistake with large repercussions for VW” you call “good engineering design” that is “not necessarily illegal”. I think we are both right because it is accepted as being illegal only in the US while no other country has yet claimed it is illegal according to its laws. And that is why I think the explanations provided by Manfred Schropp are so very helpful to understanding.

        Richard

      • Apparently they are not just illegal in the US, but in Europe as well. While NOx levels allowed under European rules are higher than in the US, VW and possibly others (we will find out) are probably also in violation of European rules. Prepare for lower mileage after they have fixed this.

        In the US they can fix the 2 liter engines by just changing the programming of the ECU. In Europe they will need to put in new higher pressure fuel pumps into the 1.2 liter and 1.6 liter Diesel engines. The supplier needs to make a few million extra of those first.

  38. Manfred

    “Ultimately this comes down to the management culture in the company and if you are in danger of being fired for bringing bad news to your boss.”

    An ethics challenge that never goes away.
    Guess its been around since the first time somebody first pushed the rock up the hill for the boss.

    It is a little different these days as centralized decision making becomes the latest rage in management.
    There is the hubris that real time data decision making can save money and improve quality while minimizing that unreliable human element. I guess it will work till it doesn’t.

    I think we are witnessing the beginning of that wave.

      • Not sure anytime soon.

        As an example, today I sat in on an engineering firm describing why they have to overbuilt a project item.
        It was already designed to spec, but the insurance company threatened to raise the rates unless the design was overbuilt annnnd of course the bank won’t lend the money unless the insurance is in line. Felt like extortion to me. The lawyers call it the price of doing business in a litigious society. Doesn’t seem very sustainable, but someone up there is making bank and everyone else pays.

        Keep your chin up and money in the bank.

  39. Some people (such as Richard Courtney) suggest that VW have acted illegally, but I do not consider that any of us know sufficient background facts to make such claims.

    I have not seen the rules and regulations, but I am not sure why what VW did is illegal. I suspect that it was not illegal, but to challenge matters would be bad PR, and to challenge matters would also produce enemies in high places. It may well be that VW have taken a commercial decision not to refute the allegation that they acted illegally, and that is something rather different.

    As I understand matters, they designed an engine system that was specifically capable of assessing when the engine was running in a mode that it would be running in, if the engine were to undergo testing, and they specifically designed the engine when running in that mode to comply with test specifications laid down, which test specifications were not said to be applicable in other conditions, but merely assumed by Government Legislation that they would be applicable in other conditions.

    And it is not clear to me whether the engine knows that it is undergoing a test, and therefore switches to a different mode/different engine mapping on the ECU. I do not know how the VW system works, but it may simply work on whether the engine is under load, or not.

    For example, at tick over, an engine is not under load and may be running at about 800rpm. So it may that the ECU has one profile dealing with circa 800ppm no load characteristic. It may also be that CO2, and other gasses are tested at say 2000 and 3500 rpm, but again when there is no load on the engine. This is the case in the UK when a car undergoes its yearly MOT, it is tested in no load on the engine mode. So again, the ECU may have a different mapping covering a number of different rpms which it applies when there is no load on the engine (and it apples a different map when the engine is under load) .

    Indeed one would expect there to be different engine maps which come into play depending on the load on the engine. For example, if the car is doing 30mph downhill and the driver accelerates then a different response is called from the engine than if the car is doing 30mph uphill and the driver accelerates. The optimum air fuel mixture in these two scenarios is different. Likewise the advance of the ignition and if one has variable valve timing, the setting of valve timing and overlap between inlet and exhaust valve timing (the latter only possible with a twin cam engine where each camshaft can be advanced or retarded differently and thereby one can change the inter-relationship between inlet and exhaust valve timing).

    With old cars, the carburettor had a number of different jets that came into play, idle jets, slow running jets, fast running jets, accelerator pump jets etc (see; http://www.dellorto.co.uk/product-category/dellorto-car-carburettors-parts/parts/dhla-parts/) and this was designed to cover a range of situations in which the engine may be operated. But is was very much a compromise. modern engines are much more sophisticated and can have tailored responses covering a much wider range of circumstances in which the engine may operate.

    Some modern cars, especially performance ones, have different settings that the drive can switch in, touring, fast road, race, full race etc. These alter engine characteristics, suspension, and possibly clutch response and bite etc. Of course, the amount of ‘pollutants’ that the engine puts out, and its consumption, will vary in all these different modes.

    But it may be the case that VW have done no more than having a different mapping characteristic which is applicable to no load on the engine demands. This just makes the engine more efficient and better suited to the no load environment in which it is being used. It may be that VW have a different mapping profile that is applicable to different load conditions under which the engine operates. It may well be the case that the Government tests are carried out in no load conditions such that one set of mapping is produced whereas in real world operating conditions, ie., when the car is driven on the road, the engine is not being operated in no load mode and hence a different set of mapping is being used by the engine when actually being driven on the road, but on the road performance is not the scenario being tested.

    That all sounds rather sensible to me and may indicate that VW have not done anything illegal, merely that they have designed the engine to operate as efficiently as possible in the appropriate loading conditions that the engine encounters.

    • richard verney:

      I have answered your point in response to your earlier post above, and my response is here.

      VW accepts that its action is illegal in the US and the conclusion of my response to you says

      What I call “a small legal mistake with large repercussions for VW” you call “good engineering design” that is “not necessarily illegal”. I think we are both right because it is accepted as being illegal only in the US while no other country has yet claimed it is illegal according to its laws. And that is why I think the explanations provided by Manfred Schropp are so very helpful to understanding.

      Richard

      • “VW accepts that its action is illegal in the US and the conclusion of my response to you says …”

        Locked into one and ONLY one possible scenario again are we?

      • _Jim:

        You quote me and ask me

        “VW accepts that its action is illegal in the US and the conclusion of my response to you says …”

        Locked into one and ONLY one possible scenario again are we?

        No. I stated a fact and not any “scenario”.

        And to what do you refer when you say “again”? Or are you merely providing untrue smearing inference?

        Richard

      • Richard

        I noticed that Jim has a pattern

        1. He promotes distracting and convoluted logic in an effort to minf__k the listener.
        2. When annoyed, he succumbs to an air of intellectual arrogance.
        3. When confronted with an inconvenient fact, he claims ignorance and plays a hide and seek making you lay it out. He does this to bring you back to item number one.

        The pattern is very common among the CAGW shapeshifters.

    • And it is not clear to me whether the engine knows that it is undergoing a test, and therefore switches to a different mode/different engine mapping on the ECU. I do not know how the VW system works, but it may simply work on whether the engine is under load, or not.

      My understanding is that the on-board computer determines that it is under test when the drive wheels are turning and the other wheels are not, and there is no input to the steering wheel.

  40. Volkswagen’s deception was a self-deception because with some of the best engineers and scientists, they chose to accept the claims of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

    I’m not sure that it is a case of VW ‘accepting’ anything.

    Regardless of ‘acceptance’ or otherwise within VW, they have no choice. ‘Standards’ become progressively tighter at the behest of the bureaucrats and VW have no choice but to comply if they wish to continue making vehicles.

    I really don’t think that VW will be found to have been alone in ‘fudging’ results. As the demands become increasingly impossible to meet, more manufacturers will ‘fudge’ results. They have no choice. If you are already pushing the limits of what is possible, and no doubt VW are, then two choices face you … Fudge the results or get out of the business.

    • 3×2, I mostly agree with you.

      There are all kinds of things that are possible technologically if cost is no issue. But are they feasible within certain defined cost parameters? Less likely.

      The continuing tightening of NOx standards will make it impossible for small, typically low margin, cars to be equipped with a Diesel engine. Besides the cost it is also a question of space for all that equipment. The Diesel engine will be replaced with small gasoline engines that are turbocharged, possibly in a hybrid or mild hybrid configuration. Be prepared to see a lot of 3-cylinder engines, and even some all electric cars.

      In the bigger vehicles, especially those with Premium appeal, you may see Diesel engines with both LNT and SCR technology. You pay a higher price as a consumer, but if you want range and torque you pay for it.

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