Follow Slashdot blog updates by subscribing to our blog RSS feed

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Transportation

Nearly All New Diesel Cars Exceed Official Pollution Limits (theguardian.com) 216

An anonymous reader writes: The Guardian, citing a comprehensive set of data, reports that 97% of all modern diesel cars emit more toxic nitrogen oxide (NOx) pollution on the road than the official limit. A quarter of this voluminous number emits at least six times more than the limit. From the report, "Surprisingly, the tiny number of models that did not exceed the standard were mostly Volkswagens, the carmaker whose cheating of diesel emissions tests emerged last year sparked the scandal. Experts said the new results show that clean diesel cars can be made but that virtually all manufacturers have failed to do so. The new data, from testing industry leader Emissions Analytics (EA), follows the publication this week by the Department for Transport of emissions results for 37 vehicles, all of which emitted more NOx on the road than the official limit. But the new data covers more than 250 vehicles in more stringently standardised road conditions. EA found that just one of 201 Euro 5 diesels, the EU standard from 2009, did not exceed the limit, while only seven of 62 Euro 6 diesels, the stricter standard since 2014, did so. Diesel cars must meet an official EU limit for NOx but are only tested in a laboratory under fixed conditions. All vehicles sold pass this regulation but, when taken out on to real roads, almost all emit far more pollution. There is no suggestion that any of the cars tested broke the law on emissions limits or used any cheat devices. Mayoral candidates in London, the city with the worst air quality in Britain, have seized on the DfT data to call for tighter controls on polluting traffic -- including a ban on diesel cars."Caroline Pidgeon, the Lib Dem mayoral candidate, said: "The figures are exactly the reason why we need to speed up the introduction of the ultra-low emission zone so that it starts in 2018. Ultimately we will need to ban diesel vehicles from much of London and we need a mayor prepared to take these tough decisions and work with people to make these changes happen."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Nearly All New Diesel Cars Exceed Official Pollution Limits

Comments Filter:
  • by Anonymous Coward

    I have a right to pollute the air by burning whatever I please. It's freedom, the air is free, so I'm free to do whatever I want with it.

    Why must you steal my liberty?

    • by Smidge204 ( 605297 ) on Monday April 25, 2016 @12:48PM (#51983547) Journal

      I will be happy to fight for your right to "roll coal" as much as you want in the privacy of your own garage... with the doors closed, of course.

      In fact, I encourage such behavior.
      =Smidge=

  • Limits (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Mr D from 63 ( 3395377 ) on Monday April 25, 2016 @10:16AM (#51982335)
    Limits must be defined in terms of the condition of the test. If testing is done outside those defined conditions, the limits are hard to apply and enforce. Seems like the regulators need to re-define the limits and testing method.
    • Re:Limits (Score:5, Funny)

      by cayenne8 ( 626475 ) on Monday April 25, 2016 @11:16AM (#51982809) Homepage Journal
      Well, let's treat it like the US public educational system in the past few decades.

      Obviously, the standards are too HIGH as they currently stand, and if most of these cars, like most of our students can no longer past the tests, then we have no choice, but to lower the standards by enough so that everyone can pass and have positive self-esteem and profitable sales!!!

      Easy-peasy.

  • Shocking! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 25, 2016 @10:17AM (#51982347)

    I am shocked, SHOCKED, that clean diesel is just another totally meaningless advertising slogan!

    • by Viol8 ( 599362 ) on Monday April 25, 2016 @10:27AM (#51982445) Homepage

      What it actually means is slightly less dirty diesel.

      Even if new diesel cars did pass this test they'd still start blowing black soot and other crap after a number of years have passed and the car has reached owner number 3 who isn't bothering to do anything other than basic maintainance to keep it on the road until it falls apart.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        The UK and most of europe has mandatory emissions testing of diesels with defined levels of particulates etc to be taken at certain engine conditions. The newer the diesel the stricter the levels. In the UK its every year (the MOT test), mainland France, its every two. I always cross my fingers when they're revving the nuts off to conduct the diesel emissions hoping my cambelt doesn't suddenly self destruct as it just seems cruel on the engine.

        • by Viol8 ( 599362 ) on Monday April 25, 2016 @10:52AM (#51982635) Homepage

          There are always garages around who'll look the other way on emissions if someone slips them some money. There's a bloke up my road who manages to get his almost scrap transit through the MOT every year. There's no way it would pass legally.

        • the 'trick' to getting your diesel car through the MOT test is to take it for a ten mile drive just before test time and drive a gear or two below the correct gear...say 50 mph in third instead of fifth... this cleans out your exhaust and the diesel particulate filter... getting it to the test with a well warmed up engine helps to pass the test...
      • by houghi ( 78078 ) on Monday April 25, 2016 @11:02AM (#51982699)

        In Europe (at least in Belgium) these cars would not be allowed on the road anymore. Does not matter if you are owner 1 or 10. Every two years the car needs to be tested and if it fails, you are not allowed to drive the car anymore. You will not get insurance and if you drive and get caught with a car that is not allowed on the road and no insurance, things go bad pretty fast.

        So the maximum amount you could drive it till it falls apart is 2 years, with an average of 1.

        What most people do at that point is sell them to somebody who will not bring it on the road in Europe (otherwise, another test) and export it to Africa.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        By "dirty diesel" you probably mean soot emissions. This is a solved problem.

        NOx emissions are trickier as they come straight from high thermal efficiency. But as petrol engines are getting better this is no longer a diesel-only issue.

  • Hardly surprising (Score:5, Informative)

    by Viol8 ( 599362 ) on Monday April 25, 2016 @10:20AM (#51982367) Homepage

    The cars only have to pass a laboratory test. If that test bears no resemblance to the real world (which the EU one doesn't) then thats the fault of the people who devised it.

    The main problem with emissions is if you want good fuel economy and hence lower CO2 per km then you need a high burn temp. The trouble with that is a high burn temp gives high NOx. Take your pick.

    The only serious solution to NOx is a urea system such as adblue as used in trucks but thats more equipment, more complexity and more expense.

    • by Mr D from 63 ( 3395377 ) on Monday April 25, 2016 @10:22AM (#51982399)
      Also note that the lab test limits were set at a lower level knowing that real world conditions would be worse. So exceeding limits in the real world was actually expected, the question is how much worse is expected.
      • by DarkOx ( 621550 ) on Monday April 25, 2016 @10:54AM (#51982659) Journal

        My reaction to this though is "so what?"

        The meaningful questions are does improvement on the lap test predict improvement under real word conditions?

        It does not have to mirror real work conditions to be useful.

        If the answer to the first question is yes does meeting the lab test standards mean a vehicle will have a meaningfully improved pollution profile as compared to if we did not bother setting standards and testing?

        Again the point here is to reduce the output of harmful airborne pollutants. Are we doing that or not, is really all the matters. If the real world effect is .01% than we are wasting effort and resources if its %10 percent in the lab but %7 on the road its still probably a win. Again we need to compare with equipment in common use before standards were enacted.

        Is there a more predictive test design that could be implemented?

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          The meaningful questions are does improvement on the lap test predict improvement under real word conditions?

          It does not have to mirror real work conditions to be useful.

          /quote> I'm not sure why that is meaningful. A test method and limit should be set with knowledge of the relationship to real world conditions, and reasonable certainty you are keeping actual emissions levels within an expected range.

          • ...before too much longer, a decade or two most likely, the vast majority of the vehicles on the road will be electric anyway. Technology has a way of rendering these issues moot rather thoroughly. This is one we can see coming well in advance.

            The driving-to-pollution coupling will be at the power plants, not at the vehicle. It'll be much easier to control as a direct result. And of course, far more efficient in the first place.

      • by Solandri ( 704621 ) on Monday April 25, 2016 @11:09AM (#51982767)
        Correct. TFA is making the assumption that the test limits are never supposed to be exceeded, which is a questionable assumption. The EU test is radically unlike typical driving [youtube.com], which unless the EU states otherwise suggests the correct interpretation is that normal operating emissions are supposed to be x times more than test emissions. TFA presents nothing new. It's been widely known within the industry for years that EU testing conditions generated less emissions than normal operation.

        This ambiguity was also present in the U.S. tests. After the truck diesel scandal around 1998-2000, the EPA firmly established that the test limits are not supposed to be exceeded during normal operation, and the test was merely sampling certain operating conditions to make sure the vehicles were in compliance. The EPA test however is more representative of typical driving.
      • by GuB-42 ( 2483988 )

        So they created an unrealistic test with unrealistic expectations. It is like they designed the test to promote cheating, and oh surprise, manufacturers cheat.

        Is is that hard to devise a test that includes actual driving?

        • So they created an unrealistic test with unrealistic expectations. It is like they designed the test to promote cheating, and oh surprise, manufacturers cheat.

          Is is that hard to devise a test that includes actual driving?

          They devised a test that was standardized and repeatable and relatively easy to perform. They assigned limits that they thought were reasonable and had a certain margin of error from real world driving. As to motivations, I'm not going to assign any.

        • by Ogive17 ( 691899 )

          So they created an unrealistic test with unrealistic expectations. It is like they designed the test to promote cheating, and oh surprise, manufacturers cheat.

          Or the manufacturers decided they were not going to invest in newer technologies because they would rather spend their money lobbying to get the limits changed.

          If 1 automaker can meet regulations, all of them can. The ones that failed just didn't try hard enough.

    • Re:Hardly surprising (Score:5, Informative)

      by mjwx ( 966435 ) on Monday April 25, 2016 @10:40AM (#51982535)

      The cars only have to pass a laboratory test. If that test bears no resemblance to the real world (which the EU one doesn't) then thats the fault of the people who devised it.

      That would be the auto industry itself.

      The problem they have in Europe is due to historic dicounts/tax concessions on diesel, they became popular with tight-fisted motorists. Even though most of these concessions have been removed, the mindset of "diesel == cheap" remains.

      There is a backlash in Europe against diesels because they've been directly linked to worsening air quality in major cities.

      The main problem with emissions is if you want good fuel economy and hence lower CO2 per km then you need a high burn temp. The trouble with that is a high burn temp gives high NOx. Take your pick.

      The only serious solution to NOx is a urea system such as adblue as used in trucks but that's more equipment, more complexity and more expense.

      You cant make diesel cleaner. It's impossible. Everyone I know who worked with diesel engines from the fitter and mechanic level to the design and engineering level predicted this kind of revelation happening years ago. Being engineers, you can imagine the level of smug they generated after Dieselgate.

      To make diesel as clean as petrol, you have to refine it into petrol in the first place.

      Small diesel passenger cars are really an abbreviation, which is why they aren't common in the US or Australia where we never subsidised diesel fuels for passenger cars. Diesel engines are heavier and more complex than petrols, they require turbochargers regardless (if you want to know what a truly gutless car feels like, drive a naturally aspirated diesel). The returns are less than non-turbo petrol engines of the same size, if you turbo a petrol engine, you could easily knock 25% of the capacity off and still have a faster car with the same fuel efficiency and is kinder to the baby foxes.

      The only time a diesel engine is better than a petrol is when you need pulling power. This is why almost all big rigs and tractors are turbo diesels. Even decent 4x4's like a Hilux or Triton tend to use diesels, not for fuel efficiency but to pull 3 tons of bricks about using a 2.4L 4 banger.

      • by Viol8 ( 599362 )

        >You cant make diesel cleaner. It's impossible.

        Not impossible - just very expensive and it would hit fuel economy. Which then defeats the point of using diesel in a car.

        "This is why almost all big rigs and tractors are turbo diesels. Even decent 4x4's like a Hilux or Triton tend to use diesels, not for fuel efficiency but to pull 3 tons of bricks about using a 2.4L 4 banger."

        That used to be the case - but modern turbo petrols can produce high torque at low rpm now. Not sure how that would scale to a truc

      • by james_shoemaker ( 12459 ) on Monday April 25, 2016 @10:50AM (#51982617)

        The NOX issue (the one in the article) has nothing to do with the fuel and everything to do with the temperature of combustion. Diesel engines are efficient because of the combustion temperature and that causes NOx to form. If Gasoline engines were raised to similar efficiencies they would start to develop similar NOx issues.
              Diesel engines aren't more complex than petrol engines (especially with the advent of modern common rail injector systems). They don't have a throttle or ignition system of any sort. They have to be built heavier because of higher compression ratios.
              Diesel is used in tractors and big rigs because of efficiency. The gallons per mile per ton are lower with diesel.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by ThatBeDank ( 4493649 )

        Where in the world are you getting that diesel engines are more complex? All you need for the ignition cycle is fuel and compressed air. Bam that is it. A turbo in a diesel engine Diesel engines only became complicated because of BS emissions requirements levied by do nothing eurocrats.

        Diesel cars/trucks are light years better than gasoline on the sheer basis the engines last longer. NOx means nothing when you're gas car dies at 125k and you need to buy a new one. The level of emissions that go into makin

        • by Viol8 ( 599362 )

          >Where in the world are you getting that diesel engines are more complex?

          They are now thanks to high pressure common rail injectors and emissions control equipment.

          >The level of emissions that go into making a car outweigh the small amount of NOx outputted anyday.

          Thats so true. If only the greens and politicians would realise.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by fnj ( 64210 )

          Where in the world are you getting that diesel engines are more complex?

          It's called "knowledge" and informing oneself. I can help you a little, because I have been driving diesels (and keeping them maintained) for 33 years, and I know how they work, and I know how the technology has changed during this time.

          As the technology has advanced since around 1990 or so, the complexity has exploded. 95% of it is emissions-related, and the other 5% is efficiency-related. Injection pressures have climbed from under 10

      • Re:Hardly surprising (Score:4, Informative)

        by prefect42 ( 141309 ) on Monday April 25, 2016 @11:30AM (#51982939)

        Small diesel passenger cars are really an abbreviation, which is why they aren't common in the US or Australia where we never subsidised diesel fuels for passenger cars. Diesel engines are heavier and more complex than petrols, they require turbochargers regardless (if you want to know what a truly gutless car feels like, drive a naturally aspirated diesel). The returns are less than non-turbo petrol engines of the same size, if you turbo a petrol engine, you could easily knock 25% of the capacity off and still have a faster car with the same fuel efficiency and is kinder to the baby foxes.

        I'm not clear that's the case. Find me a good turbo petrol match for a BMW 320d, and on the whole I think you'll be slower or less efficient, even with turbos and direct injection.

        BMW 320d 72.4mpg 163bhp/400Nm 7.8s 0-62mph
        BMW 320i 51.4mpg 184bhp/270Nm 7.3s 0-62mph

        The gap's definitely closed between the two since diesel tech has come over to petrol.

      • Re:Hardly surprising (Score:5, Informative)

        by Thelasko ( 1196535 ) on Monday April 25, 2016 @11:52AM (#51983095) Journal

        You cant make diesel cleaner. It's impossible. Everyone I know who worked with diesel engines from the fitter and mechanic level to the design and engineering level predicted this kind of revelation happening years ago. Being engineers, you can imagine the level of smug they generated after Dieselgate.

        As a diesel emissions engineer I resent that statement. The trouble with diesel is exactly as the GP mentioned. Hotter burn is more fuel efficient, but makes more NOx. SCR is the option that can provide good fuel economy and lower emissions. However, SCR is expensive and has it's own consumable.

        Diesel engines are heavier and more complex than petrols, they require turbochargers regardless (if you want to know what a truly gutless car feels like, drive a naturally aspirated diesel). The returns are less than non-turbo petrol engines of the same size, if you turbo a petrol engine, you could easily knock 25% of the capacity off and still have a faster car with the same fuel efficiency and is kinder to the baby foxes.

        Diesels are not very volumetrically efficient. True.

        The only time a diesel engine is better than a petrol is when you need pulling power. This is why almost all big rigs and tractors are turbo diesels. Even decent 4x4's like a Hilux or Triton tend to use diesels, not for fuel efficiency but to pull 3 tons of bricks about using a 2.4L 4 banger.

        Not true. Diesels are fuel efficient because they run at higher compression ratios and don't use intake throttling to control power output. Gasoline engines can be built [wikipedia.org] that rival diesels in torque. However, most consumers of such products demand the fuel efficiency of diesel.

        There's a lot of FUD being spread around about diesel. Yes, it has issues. But those of us in the industry had been wondering how VW was making that system work without SCR. Now we know.

        If the system is to improve, emissions regulatory agencies need to audit more engines themselves rather than trust the self reported results. They also need to implement Not to Exceed [dieselnet.com] limits on all engines.

      • by Ungrounded Lightning ( 62228 ) on Monday April 25, 2016 @12:01PM (#51983159) Journal

        The cars only have to pass a laboratory test. If that test bears no resemblance to the real world (which the EU one doesn't) then thats the fault of the people who devised it.

        That would be the auto industry itself.

        Not sure how it is in the EU. But here in the US it was NOT the auto industry. The testing regime was completely defined by a government agency.

        At the time I was working on engineering emissions testing programs as a consultant, one of the auto company engineers claimed it had been designed like this:
          - The EPA put recording instruments on a car (notably the bike-wheel odometer/tachometer).
          - Then they parked behind cars in a "typical" city (Denver Colorado, if I recall correctly) and waited for the owner to come out and drive somewhere.
          - The timed how long (if at all) the target warmed the engine before pulling out.
          - Then they followed the target to its destination, doing their best to drive their instrumented car the same way as the target.
          - From among the recorded trips they picked one that looked representative and contained about an average mix of city and highway driving. That became the test cycle the manufacturers must use.

        Emissions test measurements (the fancy ones the engineers have to run at the companies, not the surveillance ones applied to car owners) measure enough about engine exhaust gasses and vehicle forces and motions that the mileage can be computed from the carbon balance, without extra gadgetry. So the government mandated it be computed and printed on the price stickers. It thus became glaringly obvious that (of course):
          - (Of course) The chosen test cycle was not what all people drove all the time.
          - (Not of course) The chosen test cycle happened to be somewhat more fuel efficient that the typical driver's average use of his vehicle.
        Thus was born "Your Mileage May Vary (and will probably be lower)"

      • Re:Hardly surprising (Score:4, Informative)

        by GuB-42 ( 2483988 ) on Monday April 25, 2016 @12:10PM (#51983227)

        The problem they have in Europe is due to historic dicounts/tax concessions on diesel, they became popular with tight-fisted motorists. Even though most of these concessions have been removed, the mindset of "diesel == cheap" remains.

        No they haven't been removed. At least not in France.
        The TICPE, which is the main tax is 0.64€/L on gasoline and 0.50€/L on diesel. There is also a 20% VAT on the final price, which include said tax. As a result, gasoline is typically 20% more expensive per liter than diesel only because of taxes. When we consider that diesel cars are typically more fuel efficient, "diesel==cheap" is not a myth, at least for those who travel long distances.

      • The problem they have in Europe is due to historic dicounts/tax concessions on diesel, they became popular with tight-fisted motorists. Even though most of these concessions have been removed, the mindset of "diesel == cheap" remains.

        There is no such tax advantage in the UK, in fact typically diesel is more expensive (slightly) than petrol, and has been for many years. It is however still a win for the "tight fisted" driver due to diesel's typical higher fuel economy.

        The real "problem" in Europe is that they legislated for much stricter standards on fleet average fuel economy and CO2 emissions (see e.g. https://www.washingtonpost.com... [washingtonpost.com] ). The only way to meet those standards has been small diesels, it is only in the last couple of ye

    • The main problem with emissions is if you want good fuel economy and hence lower CO2 per km then you need a high burn temp. The trouble with that is a high burn temp gives high NOx. Take your pick.

      But that's the NOx coming out of the exhaust port. What matters is the NOx coming out of the exhaust PIPE. That's what catalytic converters are about.

      A triple-acting catalytic converter pulls the oxygen off NOx, leaving N2, and uses it to burn CO into CO2 and UHC into CO2 and H2O.

      Keep the air/fuel ratio carefull

      • This is about diesel. Call us back when they have a throttle. Your post is about how it's done in gasoline spark-ignition engines where you can keep the mixture as you please. Diesel's won't fire unless there is enough pressure to compression-ignite the fuel so there is no throttle to close up, and the mixture is therefore "all over the place".
        • This is about diesel. Call us back when they have a throttle.

          Diesels have catalytic converters, too, and other ways to adjust the mixture as viewed by the cat - notably exhaust gas recirculation.

    • After reading this article - I wondered how petrol / gasoline vehicles measure up when tested in the real world.

      Obviously the laboratory test is broken and requires some updates to better simulate the real world. This is a common problem that I deal with everyday (in a different industry) - it can be very complicated to build a test env. The question always is "what is the real world?" - and making sure test results are meaningful plus data that can be trended.

    • The cars only have to pass a laboratory test. If that test bears no resemblance to the real world (which the EU one doesn't) then thats the fault of the people who devised it.

      No, no, the people who actually devised the test are not at fault; the people who legislated what the testers are to test are at fault.

  • Programmers write code that's bug free in test conditions, not in real world applications.

    Every field tends to work to succeed at what they're explicitly judged for, ignoring what they're not.

  • Europeans (Score:5, Funny)

    by 110010001000 ( 697113 ) on Monday April 25, 2016 @10:28AM (#51982453) Homepage Journal
    The Internet is full of enlightening Europeans heaping scorn upon lowly Americans for not using their awesome "clean diesel" technology. Silly Americans still driving non-diesels!
    • Re:Europeans (Score:5, Interesting)

      by houghi ( 78078 ) on Monday April 25, 2016 @11:37AM (#51982993)

      As a European, it was never about clean. It was always about cheaper.

  • Why aren't there independent labs doing the validation of their claims? Expecting these companies to not fudge their numbers is wishful thinking.
    • by gweihir ( 88907 ) on Monday April 25, 2016 @10:46AM (#51982589)

      Expecting "independent" labs to actually be independent is not much better. Remember that it was a Swiss academic lab that found the original problem, because no German lab could be found that was willing to make these measurements on a German car. They all had a lot of business to lose and probably had reason to expect that the measurements would show massive problems. As soon as enough money is involved, the whole complex becomes corrupt. And, just as with the financial crisis of 2008, I predict that nobody will go behind bars for this, or at best some lowly scapegoats.

  • 1. What formally defines "Clean Diesel". "Euro 6" is spectacularly uninformative.

    2. How badly the standard was blown: a few percentage point, or orders of magnitude ?

    3. Some historical data. For instance, what did emissions look like before ANY emission controls were put in place.

    Furthermore, the Guardian article offers zero actual numbers. As an engineer, I'm always skeptical of any claim when no specific numbers are mentioned. Gee, real-world conditions aren't well-replicated in testing environments

  • Diesel cars must meet an official EU limit for NOx but are only tested in a laboratory under fixed conditions. All vehicles sold pass this regulation but, when taken out on to real roads, almost all emit far more pollution...Mayoral candidates in London...call for tighter controls on polluting traffic -- including a ban on diesel cars."

    Here's another idea: how about we do not limit emission tests to only laboratory settings? That would send the message to all manufacturers that they can no longer cheat, b

  • It was clear from the very beginning that all must be doing this, and that all knew about the others doing this. Otherwise they would not have dared to run such a scam and those that could not make clean diesel engines would either have licensed the technology from the competition or exited that market. But instead of exposing the first ones that did it, like a true anti-market cabal they all decided to keep silent and defraud the customer and cause significant harm to the population in general.

    Wat would ne

  • Electrics (Score:3, Insightful)

    by sshir ( 623215 ) on Monday April 25, 2016 @10:45AM (#51982587)
    The way things are going, electric cars will get huge boost and eventual dominance when cities will start banning all non-zero emission vehicles from driving within city limits.
    And all the emissions will be shifted to countryside where power plants can pollute to their heart desire because population density (and associated health problems) over there are close to nil.
  • Ultimately we will need to ban diesel vehicles from much of London and we need a mayor prepared to take these tough decisions and work with people to make these changes happen.

    It's been a while since I was last in a London Black Cab, but I'm pretty sure it was a diesel. Are they suggesting getting rid of them all? Good luck with that.

  • by gurps_npc ( 621217 ) on Monday April 25, 2016 @11:14AM (#51982799) Homepage

    If we avoid lab conditions, you bring in random factors. So some heavy polluting car could just get lucky and have no sharp stops and quick speed ups, which is where it happens to heavily pollute, so it passes.

    We need lab conditions to ensure a fair comparison between different cars.

    It is assumed that all cars vary from real life to lab conditions in roughly the same manner. That is, that a car that does best in the lab conditions will also do best in real world conditions, even if the real use pollutes far more heavily.

    In addition, we assume that the lab is similar enough to real world so that we know how much we are polluting.

    If either of those assumptions are false, it indicates a bad lab condition set up which needs to be fixed. But that is not the fault of the car companies, but instead the fault of the politicians and scientists that designed the lab. (Yes, it is often designed by politics, not scientists.)

    • by ljw1004 ( 764174 )

      In addition, we assume that the lab is similar enough to real world so that we know how much we are polluting.

      If either of those assumptions are false, it indicates a bad lab condition set up which needs to be fixed. But that is not the fault of the car companies, but instead the fault of the politicians and scientists that designed the lab.

      Whenever you test for something that's a proxy for the truth you want, rather than as good a measure as you can get for the actual truth, then you're introducing a disconnect. It's like how teachers are incentivized to "teach to the test" rather than teach their subjects.

      Once you've done this, it's inevitable that folks will discover the cracks and exploit them. You're specifically rewarding this behavior.

      • You have mistaken limitation as a reward.

        Walls are not perfect. People can climb over them. That does not negate their value.

        Similarly, tests are not perfect, people can target the tests rather than the subject. That does not mean they are worthless. A well designed test makes this very hard to do, becoming not worth the effort.

        The mere existence of badly designed tests does not mean that all tests are badly designed.

  • by Joe Branya ( 777172 ) on Monday April 25, 2016 @11:56AM (#51983123)

    Gambling at Ricks? I had no idea.

    So what was an open secret to every diesel mechanic in the U.S. and Europe, that the diesels didn't ever pass the emissions tests in the real world, didn't get noticed by anyone in a position of power in Europe or anyone in the the U.S. Department of Transportation, any state DOT, anyone in the general press or anyone in the specialized automotive press. Do we really believe that? Or are we witnessing a breakdown in both government and press accountability?

    Part of the problem is bad regs (under certain heavy load conditions diesels really can never meet the requirements). But that is no excuse for allowing VW and the others to get a total "pass" on all pollution control regs in Europe. This is a totally open secret, just like the computer tweaking all manufacturers use so they can claim the magic "40 MPG!". The shift point programmed in make the car burp and barely accelerate so AFTER the certification runs the manufactures issue "software updates" that drop the mileage a bit but make the cars run properly. Now this is an open secret. It is probably illegal (fair trade laws, EPA regs, etc).

    I'd like to propose an experiment. There is clearly an important story here. I'll bet that many of the readers here are members of the press or government employees; they are honorable people who know a lot. They tried to report this stuff and were rebuffed. They are rightfully afraid to send the info to Slashdot. In modern America you will be punished or fired for publishing documents that show what is going on so, regretfully, you must learn to think and act like a Soviet or Chinese dissident. This is the only way to publish the often embarrassing truth and still stay under the radar.. ,

    The key is a Gmail/hotmail account that is not traceable One way is get a throw-away computer and use wifi at coffee shops. NEVER use the computer for any other purpose except browsing and spreading the word and NEVER leave the battery in while not using the computer. All email is traceable. A second way is use the throwaway computer and a "borrowed" untraceable email address- and that means if you have ever cell-phoned or emailed the person with the account you are traceable. I'd suggest that you use your brother-in-law's or grandma's name to open a gmail account using their computer (with their permission) and report what you know to Slashdot.

    And remember on the "how to get the documents" side, if you open, download or copy documents using your work credentials they will trace the leak back.

    So folks, if you are an insider, give it some thought. Find a way to get a copy of the documents that matter. Photograph them with a throwaway camera (pay cash at Walmart). Load them on a "safe" computer at the coffeeshop and drop them as a comment here under 'anon coward"- you need to stay "anon" but it is about time you stopped acting like cowards.

    • "Or are we witnessing a breakdown in both government and press accountability?"

      Please don't take this the wrong way, but...

      Were you born yesterday?
  • "All new diesel cars meet or exceed the official pollution limits". What they fail to meet is unofficial pollution limits.

  • Seriously, if CA was to join the Netherlands in banning new gas/diesel cars by 2025, then all car makers would quickly stop producing these and switch to EVs, or SOMETHING else. Those that did not, can just fail. With this approach, it will cause car makers and buyers to clean up their act very quickly and drop emissions fast.
  • Banning diesel cars is a farcical thing to do in a two year timescale. 5-10 years at best.

    If my local city council ban diesel cars then I'll have to buy a different car to commute to work. I'll make sure it's a 20 year old petrol burner with horrific fuel economy and no catalytic converter. Maybe make one cylinder misfire too.

    It's the cheapest way for me to acquire a second car. Far less wasteful and polluting to let me use the one I've already bought, but that wouldn't meet the demands of the fucking nazi

Never ask two questions in a business letter. The reply will discuss the one you are least interested, and say nothing about the other.

Working...