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Transportation Earth

Volkswagen Emissions Issues Spread To Gasoline Cars (bloomberg.com) 208

schwit1 writes: Just a day after news broke that Volkswagen's emissions scandal had expanded to its Porsche unit and Audi SUVs, the company has disclosed yet another problem, this time affecting carbon dioxide levels emitted by their cars. "Volkswagen said an internal probe showed 800,000 cars had "unexplained inconsistencies" concerning their carbon-dioxide output. Previously, the automaker estimated it would need to recall 11 million vehicles worldwide — more than Volkswagen sold last year." This batch of cars includes a small number of gasoline engines. Until now, only diesel engines were part of the problem.
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Volkswagen Emissions Issues Spread To Gasoline Cars

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  • by Viol8 ( 599362 ) on Wednesday November 04, 2015 @09:35AM (#50862425) Homepage

    Or its mpg for that matter, simply because the lab tests whether EU, US or elsewhere don't match real world conditions. Whether VW is refering to its lab results - in which case well duh - or real world driving - TFA doesn't say - it really shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone. Personally I'd be looking VERY closely at the figures for hybrids because the real world driving test mpg & CO2 is frequently so far removed from the lab results that it might as well be for an entirely different vehicle.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Kartu ( 1490911 )

      No, it hasn't been even lab results, they've just made up some numbers.

      PS
      CO2 can be calculated from known mpg or l/100km.

      • by Viol8 ( 599362 )

        "CO2 can be calculated from known mpg or l/100km."

        Not with diesels it can't since a lot of the carbon from the fuel ends up as soot depending on how hard the engine is working.

        • The soot ends up in the soot filter, which is automatically cleaned every now and then by burning it into CO2. Hence, carbon emission = fuel consumption x conversion factor.

          The reason they are talking about CO2 emissions is because in Europe, cars are typically taxed based on CO2 emissions, not on mpg or l/100 km. Fuel consumption values are too much apples and oranges between diesel, LPG, gasoline/petrol, and electric.

          Note that CO2 values are a bit higher than you'd expect from chemistry; some of the energ

    • by Tx ( 96709 )

      Or its mpg for that matter

      My VW diesel has a claimed 55mpg, and I get 50mpg on a short (15 minute, half town, half highway) commute, as long as I obey the speed limit. It can drop to 40 if I'm in a hurry. I don't really know exactly what driving conditions the "combined cycle" mpg figure is meant to represent, but to me 50mpg seemed pretty close to the claimed figure, to be honest. If their other infringements were that marginal, I don't think they'd be in so much trouble.

      • by peragrin ( 659227 ) on Wednesday November 04, 2015 @10:15AM (#50862717)

        Under idealized driving conditions. Slow,gentle acceleration no sharp corners, level terrain keeping the engine at less than 2,000 rpm at all the time I can get up to 70 mph and beat the manufacturer mpg estimates by quite a bit. Of course that means a zero to 60 time of about 45 Seconds

        The big difference is real world people don't drive like granny's who can't see.

        • You make a very excellent case for diesel hybrid. An engine that is tuned to produce slightly more power (overall) than is needed for average driving, would be the most efficient one made.

        • Slow, gentle acceleration at low RPMs is about the least fuel-efficient way you could possibly do it. You're wasting gas, and annoying.

    • by TWX ( 665546 )

      Or its mpg for that matter, simply because the lab tests whether EU, US or elsewhere don't match real world conditions. Whether VW is refering to its lab results - in which case well duh - or real world driving - TFA doesn't say - it really shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone. Personally I'd be looking VERY closely at the figures for hybrids because the real world driving test mpg & CO2 is frequently so far removed from the lab results that it might as well be for an entirely different vehicle.

      Funny you say that... My wife gets 30 mpg with her '01 Integra, which is better than the 21 city, 23 combined, 28 highway EPA rating, on a mostly-highway commute. I average between 17 and 18 mpg with my '95 Impala on a commute that's half city, half highway, and I drive it like I stole it. EPA says it should get 15 city, 18 mixed, 23 highway.

      We are both getting expected or better than expected results. I don't think that the EPA numbers are out of line.

      • by ai4px ( 1244212 )
        Agreed. The EPA rating of my Honda says I should get 38 and a consistently get 40MPG, often 42MPG on my 25 mile commute to work. My commute is mostly mid speed highway with no stop and go. I think the EPA numbers are spot on.
    • Some car companies (most probably) remove the seats, spare tires, carpeting, parts of the dash, etc so that the car becomes much much lighter for the testing.
    • by Yunzil ( 181064 )

      My car gets exactly what it said on the window sticker.

    • According to the linked article [volkswagen...rvices.com] there was something funky going on with the CO2/mileage certification process.

      Granted the certification figures for all vehicles are optimistic, but that doesn't make them useless. I've spent many years working with environmental and scientific data, and it's often the case that you can't know certain things precisely. Nonetheless it is still important to measure these things in a consistent manner so you can compare figures to each other.

      So suppose car A's test say it emit

    • I don't know about the CO2; I don't have the equipment to test that. But on the times I have had the opportunity to drive a hybrid I have done BETTER than the EPA scores.
  • by 140Mandak262Jamuna ( 970587 ) on Wednesday November 04, 2015 @09:36AM (#50862439) Journal
    Carbon dioxide is simply the product of combustion. It is not the result of incomplete combustion or anything. Nitrous/Nitric oxides are due to unintended combustion of nitrogen, carbon monoxide and hydrocarbons are due to incomplete combustion, but carbon dioxide ??? What is going on there?
    • The increased attention has drawn increased scrutiny and attention to a normal deviation. VW says they've noticed a small subset of cars with inconsistencies--if you're 3 standards away from mean, you're going to find 99.7% fall within your bounds and the other 0.3% stand out, of which 0.15% are on the top end. For all appearances, it looks like VW has noticed that quality control isn't 100% perfect--surprise--and some of their gasoline cars are deviating.

      Different problem, and not a problem.

    • Yeah, about to say the same. C02 is proportional to the amount of fuel you burn. Got a lead foot and like to drive fast, your MPG will go down proportionally with increase in C02. That is a huge "duh" factor. Anyone that doesn't understand that with a hydrocarbon, released carbon will bind with oxygen when burned, needs to be shamed into performing seppuku for their ignorance.

      • needs to be shamed into performing seppuku for their ignorance

        Hyperbolic much? Think outside your bubble, friend. I would wager that if asked, an overwhelming majority of the population wouldn't know what you're talking about when you say, "released carbon emitted from hydrocarbon combustion", except in the most general sense.

    • Oxides of nitrogen are created anytime oxygen and nitrogen are at high temperatures. It is not incomplete combustion but high compression (hence high temperature) that creates NOx. Lighting creates a significant amount just by hearing the air.

  • CO2 == MPG (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Xenna ( 37238 ) on Wednesday November 04, 2015 @09:41AM (#50862469)

    AFAIK the amount of CO2 produced is directly related to the amount of gasoline used. Car manufacturers - all car manufacturers - lie about mileage the same way all laptop and phone manufacturers lie about battery usage.

    We all know this, we've all known this for a long time. How is this suddenly news?

    • Re:CO2 == MPG (Score:5, Insightful)

      by gstoddart ( 321705 ) on Wednesday November 04, 2015 @09:49AM (#50862527) Homepage

      The difference here is the way car manufacturers in North America lie about mileage is the fault of the EPA.

      See, they don't drive the car, and measure the mileage you get. As I understand it, they hook it up to a test rig, do some tests, and then calculate the mileage.

      Car companies can only use the output of that formula, using anything else would be illegal -- and, unfortunately, people have known that the method calculating mileage is pretty flawed. Which is why all those people who had hybrids found out they weren't getting anywhere near the mileage they were promised.

      So, no the car makers don't lie about mileage, they can only report it one way. Any other way would be illegal, even if the test is known to be wrong.

      Apparently they do lie about emissions, however.

      • Re:CO2 == MPG (Score:5, Insightful)

        by cdrudge ( 68377 ) on Wednesday November 04, 2015 @10:29AM (#50862829) Homepage

        See, they don't drive the car, and measure the mileage you get. As I understand it, they hook it up to a test rig, do some tests, and then calculate the mileage.

        The problem is that just jumping in the car and driving it has too many variables. Was the real terrain uphill? downhill? Was their a headwind or a tailwind? If it was a city test were the lights timed exactly the same? What was the temperature? humidity? road conditions?

        Testing in a lab on a machine is suppose to control all those variables as much as possible so that different vehicles at different times all have the same base test conditions for comparison. It's no different than anything else that is performance/energy tested or benchmarked like appliances, HVAC, computers...

        No the tests may not exactly match what you'll get with your usage, but hopefully it's a accurate baseline for comparison. And THAT's where Volkswagon screwed up.

      • See, they don't drive the car, and measure the mileage you get. As I understand it, they hook it up to a test rig, do some tests, and then calculate the mileage.

        The EPA MPG ratings are not intended to predict how many MPG you will get driving the car. There's just too much variability in driving styles, road conditions, and regional climate for any single number to be an accurate prediction.

        The MPG rantings are intended to allow you to compare different cars to each other when shopping. If one car is

    • I don't think it's fair to say they are lying. The darn stickers say "EPA estimated MPG." Not sure how much more honest about the number you can be. And the fine print even goes into more detail. Also most cars now have instantaneous MPG readouts and they calculate an average. My experience is that their calculated number is *very* close to what I get if I fill the tank, reset the trip meter, drive a while, fill the tank again and use the advanced math called division. Others have pointed out the limi
    • Car manufacturers - all car manufacturers - lie about mileage

      I call bullshit.

      I've owned three '91 200 Quattros (20v turbo 5cyl's, the last of the Type44's) and two of them were running factory-stock Bosch Motronic M. The EPA rated these cars at 16/22 city/hwy, however, I'd consistently get 30+ mpg going ~70mph (and those those supposed EPA figures were "calculated" for a mere 55mph).

      My 2015 Suburban is rated at 16/23 yet I average ~27mpg @60mph and ~25mpg @70mpg; I only see ~23mpg @80mph.

  • In other news, if your retirement portfolio still contains Volkswagen stock, you might be a slow learner.
    • Owning stock gives you MORE of a right to criticize a company, not less.

  • by U2xhc2hkb3QgU3Vja3M ( 4212163 ) on Wednesday November 04, 2015 @09:53AM (#50862559)

    I was under the impression that MP4 took over a decade ago.

    Fight for your bitcoins! [coinbrawl.com]

    • We don't. The world has moved on, we now use the international system of units, except of course for those living in Myanmar, Liberia or the USA.

      • We should use a different system of units for things being exported to the USA, just to show them how annoying it is to have to convert to another system when we're dealing with their products. For example, instead of measuring in centimetres and inches, sell them products measured in centimetres and fingerbreadths.

        Fight for your bitcoins! [coinbrawl.com]

        • We should use a different system of units for things being exported to the USA, just to show them how annoying it is to have to convert to another system when we're dealing with their products. For example, instead of measuring in centimetres and inches, sell them products measured in centimetres and fingerbreadths.

          Surely the TPP will allow companies to export products to the USA that are marked using metric units? Allowing that would remove a real barrier to trade and the TPP is a trade deal, right? righ

  • automotive herpes. (Score:5, Informative)

    by nimbius ( 983462 ) on Wednesday November 04, 2015 @10:02AM (#50862633) Homepage
    As an engineer working for a company that rhymes with bored, this is a disaster of biblical proportions for VW. Ive already heard people calling them smokeswagons and having a hard time reselling, but its important to remeber that this could have happened to any automotive manufacturer with a lapse in conscience.

    JIT, Kanban, and other modern manufacturing processes for cars start with a platform, and from that platform grows a number of different vehicles. Jaguar is mostly Cadillac and ford parts, Range Rover is also borne from many shared components of chevrolet and to a lesser extent GM. What the consumer is buying isnt quality anymore but the marketing auspices of a proud brand.

    the same ECM can control hundreds of cars, and is programmed at the factory by line and tooling departments to meet the predetermined build demand. core components like emissions, if you wanted to skirt them, would be too hard to retool every time and would arouse suspicion. So making nefarious code a core of the software is a no-brainer. its also a killing stroke for a number of brands.

    taking a step back, porsche owners dont care. BMW owners barely care. the majority of these owners dont maintain regular service, dont care about automotive emissions, and either sell the car or end their lease once the vehicle no longer suits them. the car is a status symbol and until emissions become a scarlet letter outside of the state of california its tricky to see how either brand is legitimately affected. what is affected is the continued ability of VW to sell their brands in the US and other, much stricter countries. You can expect delays in delivery, testing, and increased cost as the brand now has to prove to regulators and governments that its on the straight and narrow. This chicanery will haunt VW for no less than 25 years, or at worst it will follow the company like the quality issues of american manufacturers in the 80s until the restructuring of the company..
    • by swb ( 14022 )

      Jaguar is mostly Cadillac and ford parts, Range Rover is also borne from many shared components of chevrolet and to a lesser extent GM.

      How did Jaguar end up with Cadillac parts when it was part of Ford's Premier Auto Group for nearly a decade? At the 2010 auto show, the Jaguar XJ I sat it felt a hell of lot like my 2007 Volvo S80 in the cockpit and things like the outside mirrors were identical to my Volvo. I had always assumed at the time that the model shown in 2010 was still based off of shared parts from the Premier Group parts bin, although scanning Wikipedia just now shows they used differing platforms.

      I'd ask the same questions ab

      • Unions make spinning up and slowing down production a hell. You have to keep paying for benched workers; it makes sense to consolidate factory needs across the industry to smooth out the ups and downs and avoid those costs, rather than spin up independent factories.
      • I used to work for an automotive component supplier. A component of the ECU was used for both Mercedes and BMW cars, but with a different firmware. Many parts are sourced from third parties in first place.

    • by sokoban ( 142301 )

      As an engineer working for a company that rhymes with bored, this is a disaster of biblical proportions for VW. Ive already heard people calling them smokeswagons and having a hard time reselling, but its important to remeber that this could have happened to any automotive manufacturer with a lapse in conscience.

      And nobody seems to be saying anything about the Bored Bocus that does the exact same thing.

      http://www.bbc.com/news/busine... [bbc.com]

    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

      I bet Porsche and BMW owners do care now. If they bought then their cars are now worth a lot less, and if they leased then their next car will probably cost them more unless they switch to another brand.

      • I bet Porsche and BMW owners do care now. If they bought then their cars are now worth a lot less, and if they leased then their next car will probably cost them more unless they switch to another brand.

        Porsche, maybe... if the owner bought one of the sportscars and not the SUV/sedan. BMW? Doubt it. Cars depreciate so much from new; luxury car buyers know well in advance that their car is worth comparatively nothing when they trade up. When you are prepared to lose $100k in depreciation just to be able to drive a luxury car, I seriously doubt that you will even care about another few hundred dollars.

        We'll soon find out if this has affected VW sales or not.

        • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

          I know someone who wants to buy a Tesla, but can't sell his Audi because it's waiting to be fixed.

          • I know someone who wants to buy a Tesla, but can't sell his Audi because it's waiting to be fixed.

            Why is it waiting?

            • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

              They are not even going to start fixing the emissions issues until next year in the UK. Since there are so many vehicles to fix it is likely to take some time to do them all. As they fix them people who have been waiting to sell will put them on the market, flooding it and pushing prices down.

              Let's see in a year how much of an impact this will have on people. The UK government is already talking about compensation from VW for owners.

              • They are not even going to start fixing the emissions issues until next year in the UK. Since there are so many vehicles to fix it is likely to take some time to do them all. As they fix them people who have been waiting to sell will put them on the market, flooding it and pushing prices down.

                Let's see in a year how much of an impact this will have on people. The UK government is already talking about compensation from VW for owners.

                I do not understand - why can the car not be sold? Obviously the fix, when it comes, will be free to all the cars irrespective of owner?

                • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

                  He could sell it now but would get much less for it. There is still too much uncertainty. Will the fix decrease performance or MPG? If he sells it now will he miss out on any compensation due because he is not the current owner whose vehicle was devalued?

  • by KatchooNJ ( 173554 ) <Katchoo716NO@SPAMgmail.com> on Wednesday November 04, 2015 @10:45AM (#50862949) Homepage

    Does Fahrvergnügen mean "Fuck the Earth!" or something?

  • I'm sorry to say, I figured things would go this way with Volkswagen and it's other brands.

    Now what I'm waiting for, is for someone else to start thinking, '..hey, what about all the other auto manufacturers out there?', and start testing all of them for signs of emissions-test-evasion.
  • With this level of recalls and penalties can VW survive? Will they have any funds left for research and product improvement? How many investors and former employees will take an economic blood bath over this?
  • Those guys [latimes.com] get around.

  • ... that the company that first popularized the use of the word "lemon" to specifically describe a problematic car (popularized in the 60's) is now having its very own name being used to describe an undesirable level of vehicular emissions?
  • So what's it gonna take? VW has big expensive dealerships, fully staffed with commission-based personnel. It'd be easy to walk in, waste their time, and walk out.

  • Since when does the potentially guilty party get to investigate itself?

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