Volkswagen, a German car manufacturer, headquartered in Wolfsburg, Lower Saxony, Germany, and established in 1937, has left the world dumbfounded. On Friday last, the US Environmental Agency (EPA) stated that Volkswagen had very flagrantly violated the Clean Air Act. Since 2009, Volkswagen had been installing elaborate software algorithm, dubbed as “defeat device”, to cheat emission tests. Accordingly,
The Clean Air Act-1963 designed to control air pollution on a national level is a United States federal law. It is administered by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), in coordination with state, local, and tribal governments. The law encourages prevention of regional air pollution and control programs. It also provides technical and financial assistance for air pollution prevention at both state and local governments.
Under this act, every automobile vehicle has to undergo an emission test to ensure low pollution level. After clearing the test, can only be vehicles launched.
Since 2009, Volkswagen has sold more than 482,000 clean diesel cars containing a four-cylinder turbocharged direct injection engine. This included versions of the Passat, Jetta, Golf, Beetle, and Audi’s A3. But these cars were not performing as per standards although they passed the emission tests.
An independent group, the International Council on Clean Transportation, wanted to investigate why there was such a discrepancy between laboratory tests and real-road performance for several of VW’s diesel cars in Europe. So they worked with researchers at West Virginia University, who stuck a probe up the exhaust pipe of VW’s clean diesel cars and drove them from San Diego to Seattle.
What the researchers found was outrageous. These cars were emitting much more pollution than they had in the labs.In May 2014, both California’s air-pollution regulator and the EPA ordered Volkswagen to investigate and fix the problem, and the company claimed that it had done so. Once again, the cars performed well in testing, but real-world performance still didn’t match up. At that point, EPA regulators really started grilling Volkswagen about the discrepancy. Thereafter, they threatened the company not to approve the company’s 2016 line of clean diesel cars. As a result, VW unleashed the secret.
Though initially in the defensive mode, Volkswagen has “admitted” that about 11 million cars worldwide are fitted with the so-called “defeat device” but Volkswagen hasn’t explained exactly why it cheated. The NOx emission controls likely degraded the cars’ performance when they were switched on — the engines ran hotter, wore out more quickly, and got poorer mileage. Some experts have suggested that the emission controls may have affected the cars’ torque and acceleration, making them less fun to drive. In other words, Volkswagen wasn’t able to produce diesel cars that had the ideal mix of performance, fuel economy, and low pollution. So they “solved” this trade-off by sacrificing cleanliness and loosening the pollution controls. And they accomplished this via software designed to deceive regulators.
EPA ordered the German firm to fix the affected vehicles — which include diesel TDI versions of the Golf, Jetta, Beetle, and Passat and asked the company to pledged for not selling 2015 and 2016 Volkswagen and Audi models equipped with TDI clean diesel engines in the United States Since Volkswagen stands accused of breaching the Clean Air Act, the EPA can impose a maximum fine of $ 37,500 per vehicle. EPA could end up levying fines as high as $18 billion.