And y’all thought “Deflategate” was bad.
11 million VWs and Audis equipped with the 2.0L 4 cylinder TDI engine, were equipped with software to beat emissions tests. How bad is that you say? Well, VWs “sophisticated software algorithm” allowed for those engines to emit up to 40 times more pollutants in our air supply, in real life applications. And again, y’all thought “deflategate” was bad. This coins a new name for cheating and “spy” and “deflate” were already used, what is this scandal going to be named. “Dieselgate”.
Before we get started, I am a Patriots fan. I know most people will probably stop reading this blog, but I was born and raised one, seeing as I was born in Boston, MA. The use of “Spygate” and “Deflategate” are only for the sake of using the term, “Dieselgate”, and probably in violation of use without the NFL’s consent. Anyway, onwards, my friends.
As we all know, federal tax incentives were paid out for these “more efficient” vehicles, that cannot be sold at this point in time per VW. The software, itself, was revealed by independent testing which, ironically, sought to prove the 2.0L TDI engines were clean. Since then, VW has been punished in any way possible. The loss of sales of all of these vehicles equipped with the topic engine, plummeting stock prices, an estimated $37,500 per vehicle buy back cost and overall distrust among the company’s fan base, dealers and buyers. Although VW has apologized, they are still facing major scrutiny. In my opinion, there a lot of factors to add into the “Why?” portion of this scandal.
First of all, VW is the biggest automaker in the world, when you consider the whole scope of the company. Why would VW cheat the EPA? One reason could be cost. Let’s face it, diesel anything pulls a premium when compared to the gas counterparts. In an attempt to make their diesel cars, more attractive to buyers, an boosted up EPA fuel economy figure, with incentives included, would definitely make the 2.0L TDI equipped models, much more attractive. This would offset the costs of the added technology to make the diesel engine, clean.
Another reason, could be, and keep in mind that this is just my opinion, somewhere along the line, VW thought that they could fool the system. It wouldn’t be going out on a limb to say so, because there have been a half million, vehicles with this engine in owners hands and a potential 11 million vehicles affected. Why would VW need to beat the EPA? Well, when you add the fact that VW is the largest automotive company in the world and the intellect and excellence of German engineering, doing something like this, had the testing not been done, would have been beneficial. Imagine if, this worked for years, especially with the CAFE standards of 2020 looming, VW would have had a definate leg up on the competition.
There is one thing, that no one is probably considering however. Do EPA estimates every completely match real world driving. I’d say barely. When is the last time, a car that was rated at 40mpg actually able to consistently maintain a 40mpg average. When real world driving is considered, not too many cars are able to match their estimates. The testing doesn’t measure reality like, stop and go traffic, realistic interstate speeds, driver habits, loads, road and environmental conditions, and vehicle condition. With that said, can a 3500 Chevy Dually achieve the same gas mileage as a Cruze? Just depends on how late you are for work.
Another thing to think about is, how many other automakers have their own “sophisticated software algorithm” to cheat the EPA? It could be fair to say that, all automakers, large and small, can potentially beat the system. That works so long as the results are logical to the tested vehicle.
But what about the emissions MJ? Well again, can’t a Tesla Model S produce the same amount of toxic damage to the earth, as a 1 ton dually truck? If course, what would happen in the event, that could be highly improbably, the Tesla’s battery leaks? It would pollute the environment the same way “rolling coal” does. Not even just that, but the amount of extra pollutants these cars produce cannot be any worse, than your neighbors 87 Cutlass Supreme.
I think VW is going to have to make something major happen, in order to regain traction with the world. The only downside is the fact of the permanent scars the company will face due to the fact that, it is synonymous with cheating the EPA. I’ll go out on a limb and say this much in VWs defense. They may have got caught, but with these looming CAFE standards, I’d expect more “sophisticated software algorithms” to be made. VW might just be the first of many of CAFE’s victims.