Academic research, NOx levels, defeat devices, CEO resignation, fined 1 billion, Increased Pollution, health repercussions
Technology & manufacturing is the prominent hands in an automobile to enhance and improve the commuting sector, but if these two combinations are used in a vicious way, the result would be fallacious and atrocious in the manner that the whole community would be affected from the environment, health and money. One of the conspiracies which hoax the world for almost decades was the “Volkswagen Scandal” which was caught by the ordinary group of college students and teachers who were just researching and experimenting to identify the emissions created by the cars in the United States. This group unknowingly unfolded the biggest scam which opened the peels of unethical wrongdoings of Behemoth Brand that made resigned the CEO and loss of billions of dollars.
Research of West Virginia University:
In spring 2014, researchers from West Virginia were evaluating the tailpipe emissions of diesel cars made for the American market by European manufacturers, which was ordinary academic research. Excited to learn, the team of two professors and two students wanted to gather as much data as possible.
The research was executed in real-time means on-road to test and verify results from lab-based. Initially, drivers put 1,500 miles on the first two cars which include Volkswagen Jetta and BMW X5, but for the third car, they wanted more mileage. So they took a Volkswagen Passat on a road trip from LA to Seattle collecting data from more than 2,000 miles.
Arvind Thiruvengadam, a research assistant professor at West Virginia University, who conducted the tests mentioned that :
“We were doubting ourselves and our procedures and making sure to double-check that we were not doing anything wrong. We did multiple testing and we couldn’t possibly make the same mistake again and again."
When the team returned to LA, they were shocked by the test results. In theory, the car which was certified at a California Air Resources Board and equipped with modern selective catalytic reduction technology, and deduces the lowest level of pollutants, Volkswagen Passat had elevated NOx levels 20 times which was more than the figures found in lab-tested.
They reported their findings to the California Air Resources Board (CARB) officials who then further investigated. West Virginia studied the diesel’ performances in partnership with the (ICCT) International Council on Clean Transportation which is an international nonprofit organization dedicated to scientific and technical analysis of environmental regulations.
The ICCT had led the research in Europe and found significant gaps in the performance of diesel between certification testing and real-world results.
Volkswagen Installed Secret "defeat devices":
The agencies found that Volkswagen had intentionally programmed TDI diesel Engine(turbocharged direct injection) to activate their emissions control only control during the laboratory testing but in reality, it emits up to 40 times more NOx in real-world driving. Volkswagen installed this software majority in 11 million cars worldwide, including 500,000 in the United States, in model years 2009 through 2015.
Due to the pretentious act of "good fuel economy", Volkswagen in 2014 was registered with an impressive Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE)!
On 18 September 2015
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in the US stated that Volkswagen had violated the Clean Air Act by unlawfully installing software into diesel cars between 2009 and 2015 that allowed the cars to cheat the lab emissions tests. As a result, they were emitting toxic gases up to 40 times above permitted levels.
Volkswagen admitted that 11 million cars worldwide were integrated with the software. It is now being investigated in the US, South Korea, France, Italy, Canada, Australia, Germany, and the UK.
Volkswagen chief executive Martin Winterkorn resignation:
“I am astonished by the events of the past few days. Top of all, I was stunned that the misconduct on such a scale was possible in the Volkswagen Group,” Winterkorn said in a statement.
The company’s stock market value has fallen dramatically since the investigation. The CEO of Volkswagen Martin Winterkorn resigned from the company after its company’s grave crisis.
Volkswagen fined 1 billion euros over emissions cheating:
Volkswagen agreed to pay $4.3 billion to contemplate the criminal and civil penalties for installing illegal software in diesel engines to cheat strict U.S. anti-pollution tests.
But that's not the end of the financial crisis. The EPA fined a company up to $37,500 for each vehicle that breaches standards which is a maximum fine of about $18bn.
Volkswagen Emissions Cheating Scandal Increased Pollution Exposure:
The Federal reserve bank of Chicago held an investigation to inspect the Volkswagen emissions cheating scandal which affected the health in the US. And truly the findings were detrimental, it increased the rates of acute asthma attacks among children by 1.9% and 8.0%, respectively.
The latest technology diesel cars emit, on average, 7 times their test emissions when used on the road, the annual health cost of around £440 for an extra diesel car and for petrol car it would be less than £35.
What air pollutants are we talking about?
The pollutants that Volkswagen failed to control were nitric oxide (NO) and nitrogen dioxide (NO2), which are collectively known as NOx. NO2 is a dangerous air pollutant that can cause respiratory damages. But collected with other atmospheric pollutants, NOx can form even more dangerous pollutants like ozone and particulate matter.
What are the health repercussions of this excess pollution?
Ozone and fine particles are known to cause serious health problems like when these small particles are inhaled deep into the lungs it can have adverse effects such as heart attacks, decreased lung function, bronchitis, and aggravated asthma.
Ozone can cause respiratory symptoms, such as coughing, shortness of breath, and inflammation, and can worsen lung diseases such as asthma or emphysema. Both of these pollutants can lead to premature deaths.
The Volkswagen scandal marks a big question mark on tech companies and their integrity, while the government was unknown about this big scam for over 8 years it’s a little phony to believe too! At last, the company accepted the mistake and fined to compensate for the loss created by it for over 8 years; but is this is a solution?