VW and Shell have united to try to block Europe’s push for electric cars and more efficient cars – saying biofuels should be at heart of efforts to green the industry instead.
The EU is planning two new fuel efficiency targets for 2025 and 2030 to help meet promises made at the Paris climate summit last December.
But executives from the two industrial giants launched a study on Wednesday night proposing greater use of biofuels – CO2 car labelling – and the EU’s emissions trading system (ETS) instead.
In reality such a package would involve the end of meaningful new regulatory action on car emissions for more than a decade EU sources say.
Volkswagen’s development of software to cheat diesel-emissions tests was an open secret in its engine development department – according to a report in Germany’s Sueddeutsche Zeitung newspaper – which cited results from VW’s internal investigation.
Many managers and staff dealing with emissions problems in the department knew of or were involved in developing the ‘defeat devices said the newspaper – which researched the matter with regional broadcasters NDR and WDR.
A culture of collective secrecy prevailed within the department – where the installation of the defeat software that would cause the carmaker’s biggest ever corporate crisis was openly discussed as long ago as 2006, Sueddeutsche said.
But it said there were exceptions: a whistleblower who was himself involved in the deception and has been giving evidence to investigators hired by Volkswagen alerted a senior manager outside the department in 2011.
This manager however did not react – the newspaper said.
It’s now confirmed that the Volkswagen Group emissions scandal has hit 7700 New Zealand-new models: 4639 VWs – about 1600 Audis and 1328 Skodas.
All are fitted with cheat software that was installed at the factory to beat overseas emissions testing.
The global cheat includes an estimated 11 million vehicles.
VW NZ general manager Tom Ruddenklau said it had been hard having to wait to give customers a definitive ruling on their vehicles – but he wasn’t surprised that it had taken the factory so long:
‘It’s a complex process – with many countries using slightly different engine specifications.
Volkswagen’s ruse to circumvent U.S. auto emissions standards has left many wondering about the precise environmental impact of its cars – which emitted more pollutants than regulations allow.
Although the extra pollution is impossible to quantify so soon – experts agree that although the amount is globally insignificant it might add to Europe’s regional health concerns.On September 18 the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency discovered that four Volkswagen vehicles from model years 2009 to 2015 had been rigged with illegal software.They used a sophisticated algorithm that would make the cars run cleanly during emissions tests but then stop so the cars would get better fuel economy and driving ability.As such the unrestricted vehicles released higher-than-acceptable emissions in everyday driving situations.The German automaker quickly recalled 482,000 VW and Audi brand cars in the U.S. alone and later admitted that the software might have been fitted to 11 million vehicles worldwide.
EPA now suspects that these cars emitted 10 to 40 times more nitrogen oxide—a pollutant that can harm human health—than standards allow.
Everyone does it. These are the words that have often sparked history’s great corporate scandals. Companies or industries become detached from reality and illegal or improper practices become seen as normal. It eventually ends in disaster.
This was the case for traders and Libor and now it could be the case for the automotive industry.
At present only Volkswagen has admitted using a ‘defeat device’ to rig emissions tests on diesel engines. Other leading carmakers such as BMW and Daimler the owner of Mercedes-Benz have fiercely denied manipulating data.
However the slide in the shares of all carmakers last week suggests that many people aren’t so sure.
Whether other carmakers are dragged into the scandal or not – the events of the last week will have a profound impact on the automotive world.