Volkswagen has dug itself a huge hole. It’s quite clear that the European car maker used specially-designed software to fool the EPA into thinking that its diesel engines were USA-compliant. The scandal will no doubt cost VW billions, and may be wider than first perceived. Besides the EA 189 engine, a new report suggests that the EA 288 engine may also have been fitted with the manipulative software. VW previously admitted 11 million vehicles may be affected, but the number may be larger than that.
What’s heinous about this is that VW was promoting its diesels as an environmentally-friendly option. The software, in a sense, knows when the car was being tested, and scales back its performance during the procedure. When the customer gets back in the car, the perky little diesel opens up, (and exudes up to 30 times more of the bad stuff: particulates, NOx and soot).
It’s amazing they were able to keep this under wraps the whole time. But I recently found a story in Car and Driver that claims German parts supplier Bosch suspected VW was planning on cheating back in 2007..
Diesel is the dirtiest of the carbon fuels and the urge to cheat is a powerful one. Evidently it remains so in the truck tuning business. Way back in April of 2013 Truck News ran a couple of articles describing the “DPF Delete” syndrome and found the practice was widespread across Canada.
Looking around the Net these days it would appear the practice is probably even more prevalent. Big Rig Power in Edmonton will ship you DPF and DEF delete kits for Paccars, Cummins, Detroits, Mercedes, Macks and Volvos. Another big player in the “tuning” business, Diesel Spec of Montreal, boasts that it has 300 resellers across North America. I suspect this company is doing really well with this activity.
Back in 2013 I made the point that the practice was unethical, but I didn’t begrudge the hard-working driver with a lemon of a 2008 motor finding some relief. I suppose the poles shift when fleets are engaged in bypassing pollution controls, or a huge manufacturer like Volkswagen is party to such a massive conspiracy of obfuscation, so they can sell their cars in the US.
A few months after the story appeared in TN, I got a call from someone at Ontario’s ministry of the environment who wanted to know about my research. After that I didn’t hear anything and I don’t think that charges have been laid by any regulatory body in Canada for emissions tampering. It’s like the pot dispensaries in Vancouver: technically it’s illegal but nobody really cares.
Harry Rudolfs has worked as a dishwasher, apprentice mechanic, editor, trucker, foreign correspondent and taxi driver. He's written hundreds of articles for North American and European journals and newspapers, including features for the Ottawa Citizen, Toronto Life and CBC radio.
With over 30 years experience in the trucking industry he's hauled cars, steel, lumber, chemicals, auto parts and general freight as well as B-trains. He holds an honours BA in creative writing and humanities, summa cum laude. All posts by Harry Rudolfs