Volkswagen Emission Scandal: Revealed

Volkswagen Emission Scandal

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Volkswagen – The Emission Scandal


September 2015 proved to be a scandalous month for the automotive industry. The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) alleged that world’s largest automaker, Volkswagen, has been using software to bypass U.S. emissions test for its diesel engine cars since 2009.

The EPA served a Notice of Violation (NOV) to the German automaker alleging that VW cars sold between 2009 and 2015 had used rigged software to alter results during emissions test.

Following the emission scandal, CEO Martin Winterkorn resigned from the company. He admitted, “We’ve totally screwed up. Our company was dishonest with the EPA, and the California Air Resources Board and with all of you.”

The German automaker has apologized for its action and is facing severe consequences such as regulatory investigations and law suits in several countries. It has admitted that it installed the software in 11 million cars worldwide.

What does the “Cheating” Software do?

The software, which was developed by Robert Bosch GmBH, helped VW to cheat in emission tests. The software enabled the company’s diesel models such as Golf, Beetle, Passat and Jetta to detect when they were being tested. It helped the models to emit less pollutant during the test. It has come to notice that the VW models released up to 40 times of the permissible limits in real-world driving conditions.


How was Software used to manipulate the Emissions Test?


Volkswagen will refit Cars that contained the Software

The New VW CEO, Matthias Mueller, has informed that the automaker will refit all the cars that contained the software.The company did not respond as to how the refitting process will be undertaken. Also, it did not comment on the effect that refitting will have on the vehicle’s efficiency.

What can U.S.A. do to bring Justice to its People?

The U.S. Department of Justice has started investigating the matter. If it is proved that the company intentionally used the software, Volkswagen will face criminal charges under the Clean Air Act.

Under the Clean Air Act, the government can fine the automaker up to $37,500 for each of 482,000 Volkswagen cars sold in USA. It means the penalty can be as high as $18 billion. The number is expected to rise as more VW car models are speculated to have been fitted with the software. Volkswagen has declared that it has set aside $7.3 billion to cover the cost of the scandal.

Investigators are searching for statements by VW to the EPA that manifest any wrongdoing on the part of the German automaker. The investigators will look into documents such as e-mail records, meetings, etc. that would prove the intention of the company in using the software.

However, bringing all the top-notch executives and officials of Volkswagen to the American court can be difficult. It is because Volkswagen is a German automaker. European regulators are investigating the issue and they will demand first claim on the prosecuting officials.

It is important to note that investigation against other auto companies in the past: Toyota and General Motors have resulted in penalties and not prosecution of the company officials. So, it is a wait and watch situation for the American public.

Will the criminals be punished or let off with a penalty? Only time will tell.

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