Germany's auto regulator has ordered Daimler to recall 42,000 Mercedes diesels because the company installed illegal software in their engines that gimmicked the engine's thermostat, which would allow the manufacturer to selectively tune its cars' emissions.
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Oliver Schmidt, the general manager of Volkswagen's Michigan environmental and engineering office, is going to jail for his role in Dieselgate, the company's criminal conspiracy to trick regulators about the emissions from their diesel cars, allowing them to emit lethal levels of NOx on roads all over the world.
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As Volkswagen's murderous Dieselgate scandal has unfolded, the company has steadfastly maintained that even if it did kill thousands of people with its toxic cars, at least it pays its taxes.
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In Impact of excess NOx emissions from diesel cars on air quality, public health and eutrophication in Europe, published today in Environmental Research Letters, researchers from Norway, Austria, Sweden and the Netherlands estimate that 5,000 early European deaths per year attributable to diesel emissions are caused by Volkswagen's Dieselgate crime, in which cars were designed to sneak lethal levels of toxic emissions past regulatory checks. Read the rest
In my latest Locus column, "Demon-Haunted World," I propose that the Internet of Cheating Things -- gadgets that try to trick us into arranging our affairs to the benefit of corporate shareholders, to our own detriment -- is bringing us back to the Dark Ages, when alchemists believed that the universe rearranged itself to prevent them from knowing the divine secrets of its workings. Read the rest
In the 1990s, Volkswagen, Audi, BMW, Porsche, Daimler and other German auto-makers formed a secret pact to price-fix a diesel emissions control substance called AdBlue, according to Der Spiegel, who cites memos from those meetings that VW and Daimler have sent to German competition enforcers. Read the rest
The hits keep on coming for Volkswagen, whose crimes have not yet been fully detailed, it seems. The EPA discovered Dieselgate emissions-cheating software in 2015, and then a German team found more in 2016, and now, a year later, the German Transport Ministry is recalling 24,000 Audi A7 and A8s for the same reason. Read the rest
Tim Harford points out that Dieselgate -- when VW designed cars that tried to guess when they were undergoing emissions test and dial back their pollution -- wasn't the first time an industry designed its products to cheat when regulators were looking; the big banks did the same thing to beat the "stress tests" that finance regulators used to check whether they would collapse during economic downturns (the banks "made very specific, narrow bets designed to pay off gloriously in specific stress-test scenarios" so that they looked like they'd do better than they actually would). Read the rest
The five Volkswagen executives who were criminally charged in the USA for their role in the Dieselgate scandal have been advised not to travel to the USA because they are liable to arrest there: they've also been told that leaving Germany is risky because they might be arrested and extradited to the USA. Read the rest
It's not just regulatory compliance exec Oliver Schmidt -- arrested last week -- who faces personal criminal repercussions for his role in the Dieselgate scandal: five more VW execs have been indicted and face criminal charges, including the former head of VW R&D, the head of engine development, an engine development supervisor, and another regulatory compliance liason. Read the rest
The EPA and the California Air Resources Board (CARB) say that since 2014, Chrysler shipped 104,000 trucks with "defeat devices" designed to cheat emissions tests -- like VW's cheating, this software was designed to produce low NOx ratings when the trucks were undergoing emissions tests, but to ramp up NOx emissions during normal road use, trading emissions for fuel-efficiency. Read the rest
Oliver Schmidt led Volkswagen regulatory compliance office from 2014 to Mar 2015, and it was he who issued statements dismissing the initial West Virginia University reports of cheating in the emissions control systems of the company's cars, lying to US regulators and insisting that the systems were merely buggy, and not deliberately designed to get around emissions testing; after the company admitted to the fraud, he appeared before the British Parliament and insisted that the fraud didn't violate EU law. Read the rest
Drivers in London have to pay a daily "congestion charge" intended to encourage the use of public transit and bicycles, but low-emission vehicles are exempt, and so for years, drivers of VW diesels got free rides thanks to the company's fraudulent claims about their cars' pollution. Read the rest
A report in BILD am Sonntag claims that the California Air Resources Board (CARB) has uncovered the secret test that Audis were programmed to perform to determine whether to pollute like crazy or to pretend that they were low-polluting, legally compliant vehicles. Read the rest
The German newspaper Bild am Sonntag says that US investigators have discovered three more hidden cheat apps in a Volkswagen product line: these ones were discovered in 3-liter Audi diesels. Read the rest
Techpowerup caught hardware giants MSI and Asus shipping them graphics cards that were preset for a software-based overlock mode, meaning that the cards performed better out of the box for reviewers than they would for customers. Read the rest
An internal Volkswagen corporate PowerPoint presentation from 2006 outlined how to trick emissions tests -- and the result of that plan to cheat environmental protections, governments, and the people who bought and drove those cars is now known as “Dieselgate.” Read the rest