You should have known better, VW
Sometimes truth is indeed stranger than fiction. I would never have expected a German company, especially one which is built on trust, to be involved in such a shameful scam.
The U.S. has very strict regulations about diesel vehicles. The required emissions are far lower than what is expected in the EU. The U.S. declared in 2010 that NOx emissions should be no more than 0.27, whereas in EU it can range between 0.2 and 1.0.
In 2010 it was seen as a political move by the U.S. to stop foreign-made diesel cars from dominating the domestic market. However, as diesel manufacturers seemed to comply with the 0.27 standard this harsh move did not have the desired effect. Now we understand that VW has cheated in the tests.
VW Diesel vehicles are fitted with hardware containing software that understands when the vehicle is in an emissions test. It can do so by checking the wheel position, the speed, the information coming from brakes and suspensions. Normally these tests are done over a treadmill. So even though the car speeds, the breaks, the suspensions and the position of the wheel are put in place. When the software understands this, it lowers the capacity of the engine so that the emissions become lower. When the car is driven outside, it switches off the test mode and the engine capacity is increased, producing emissions at least 40 times the limit set by the regulations.
According to the BBC: “The case against VW appears cast-iron.” It quoted VW America boss Michael Horn as saying, “We’ve totally screwed up,” while group chief executive Martin Winterkorn said his company had “broken the trust of our customers and the public.” An internal VW inquiry has been launched.
With VW recalling almost 500,000 cars in the U.S. alone, it has set aside 6.5 billion euros to cover costs. But that’s unlikely to be the end of the financial impact. The EPA has the power to fine a company up to $37,500 for each vehicle that breaches standards - a maximum fine of about $18 billion.
Legal action from consumers and shareholders may follow, and there is speculation that the U.S. Justice Department will launch a criminal probe.
I don’t know what will happen to VW but I am very angry at them. I am angry because these types of lies and deceits damage public opinion about technology and technology manufacturers. People are already discussing whether a German stronghold of trust is capable of such an atrocity, so what would a local server company not do? Maybe all our files are being stored for someone else’s pleasure. Maybe the products that we use are all cancerous and no one is telling us. Maybe the cars we drive all have a hidden tracking device. Maybe they have found the cure for many diseases and they don’t tell us. Maybe it is the drug companies that spread the diseases? Who knows?
I believe that VW should have known better. It broke our trust and put a dent in our minds for the future. As users we must pressure every company to be extremely open and transparent. We must force them to move from controlled R&D to open innovation systems.