To Save Itself From Diesel Scandal, Volkswagen Must Go All In On Electric Cars


SEP 25 2015 BY MARK KANE 108

VW e-Golf

VW e-Golf

In recent days, the loudest thing in the automotive industry is Volkswagen’s scandal over diesel engine emissions.

We at InsideEVs don’t cover conventional cars, but there’s something we’d like to note. After over 100 years of developments, we simply don’t believe that internal combustion engines can be significantly improved upon in terms of fuel economy or emissions.

Proof of that is seen in such things as carmakers using more and more gears (like eight or even nine), while every next gear translates to less gain than the previous one, at some additional cost. Automakers are literally scratching at whatever they can.

In the world of tightening emission standards, evading them is worth billions of dollars and there could be plenty of people sitting tight-lipped about true emissions in various automotive groups.

According to the EPA, in the real world, Volkswagen and Audi engines emits much more NOx than under testing due to a sophisticated software algorithm:

“As described in the NOV, a sophisticated software algorithm on certain Volkswagen vehicles detects when the car is undergoing official emissions testing, and turns full emissions controls on only during the test. The effectiveness of these vehicles’ pollution emissions control devices is greatly reduced during all normal driving situations. This results in cars that meet emissions standards in the laboratory or testing station, but during normal operation, emit nitrogen oxides, or NOx, at up to 40 times the standard. The software produced by Volkswagen is a “defeat device,” as defined by the Clean Air Act.”

NOx is probably the worst part of emissions (CO2 isn’t that bad for humanoids) because it’s toxic and if it enters the body you could have health problems at some point in the future. More on the effect of NOx found here on the EPA site.

In US, there could be roughly 482,000 diesel engines in Volkswagen and Audi cars with evading software.

· Jetta (MY 2009 – 2015)
· Jetta Sportwagen (MY 2009-2014)
· Beetle (MY 2012 – 2015)
· Beetle Convertible (MY 2012-2015)
· Audi A3 (MY 2010 – 2015)
· Golf (MY 2010 – 2015)
· Golf Sportwagen (MY 2015)
· Passat (MY 2012-2015)



But the latest estimations for the world stand at some 11,000,000 EA189 engines, mainly in countries that favored diesels over gasoline for decades. If all of them exceed the NOx emission by 40 times, then we’re talking about the emissions equivalent of up to 440,000,000 vehicles.

There is also no proof that those are the only engines and only carmakers that tricked the system, as the case is just several days old and random checks will continue to take place from here on out.

The diesel scandal for Volkswagen means huge losses. But for the EV industry, it’s wind in its sails as more people will switch from “clean” diesel to EVs.

Volkswagen will be fined, and part one of the expected settlement could be spent on introduction of more EVs, investing in charging infrastructure or whatever regulators want for compensation for environmental damage.

Hopefully, Volkswagen will engage more strongly in EVs and drops diesels as a way to emerge from the crisis.

Similar expectations were also articulated by, BMW i3 blog or at Green Car Reports, so we certainly aren’t alone in this line of thinking.

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108 Comments on "To Save Itself From Diesel Scandal, Volkswagen Must Go All In On Electric Cars"

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VW does diesels because the EU loves them. Whether it continues to produce diesels is a function of EU environmental policy, which has traditionally been very pro-diesel, and not the state of the US market.

After Dieselgate, I think a lot of European countries will love diesels a LOT less.

France was already considering banning them outright, and this was before Dieselgate broke.

+2 bro1999!

I certainly hope so. Europe really blew it with diesel. They charged a much lower tax rate on diesel fuel than on gasoline. This created a market distortion favoring diesel fuel. Thus, the polluted their lands much more.

Paris had those days where they banned cars due to the smog levels.

They need to turn this around. Fire up those nuclear reactors, France and go EV big time. You already have a decent start with all those Renault models. Up the incentives for BEVs and PHEVs.

They don’t need to fire up more power plants. It’s enough to stop refining oil.

Agreed. Save 5kWh of electricity for ever gallon of oil not processed into gas.

That is one big myth provided by pro-EV fanatics. Stop refining would not even get close to covering the electricity needed for the equivalent transportation.

But with the energy efficiency measurments that are being taken in most first world countries will make the need for added electricity little to none.

Even then it would be a great thing to fire up or build a massive amount of nuclear plants considering the extreme amounts of fossil fuels used in the world.

“That is one big myth provided by pro-EV fanatics. Stop refining would not even get close to covering the electricity needed for the equivalent transportation.”


Yes, really. There are plenty of countries where both refineries and power companies needs to report their figures to actually use real numbers and not just guess.

The numbers for Preemraff Lysekil in Sweden is about 0,4 kWh per liter. Or about 10% of the electricity needed for a Tesla to go as far as a Volkswagen “dieselgate” Passat.

So both “EVs run on coal and will break the electrical grid and need lots of extra power” and “it will only take the electricity from refineries” statements are blatant lies.

But for both Europe and North America energy efficiency will easily cover the difference so no extra capacity will be needed, we only need to focus on cleaning up the current electricity generation.

“The numbers for Preemraff Lysekil in Sweden is about 0,4 kWh per liter.”

You don’t mention where you got that number from, but the video from the Fully Charged Show states 4,5 kWh per gallon (1,19 kWh per liter). I couldn’t find any numbers from Preemraff Lysekil (I guess my Google-Fu wasn’t good enough). Nevertheless, I agree that if we magically replaced every ICE car with an EV and shut down every oil refinery’s production of petrol and diesel (they’d still be need to produce other chemicals), we still wouldn’t get enough energy to power the EVs, but it sure would help.

“But for both Europe and North America energy efficiency will easily cover the difference so no extra capacity will be needed, we only need to focus on cleaning up the current electricity generation.”


Wind and solar is the way to go, 100% clean, cheaper and cheaper.
Nuclear plants are dangerous ans expensive.

Wind, solar, and hydro aren’t even close to sufficient.

You need nuclear if you want to drop coal and natural gas.

Wind, solar, hydro, and nuclear fission won’t be nearly enough to cover the world living a middle class lifestyle.

No easy answers. :-/

Solar alone can provide the need of the entire planet on a very small footprint.
A nuclear readtor is only another way to boil water. A very expensive and hazardous boiler indeed.

“we’d only need to cover a land area about the size of Spain to power the entire Earth renewably in 2030.”


We’d need to cover the land area equivalent of *Spain* just to generate the same amount of electricity we use *today*! That doesn’t count capacity factor, and the massive nonelectric uses. It also doesn’t count the massive growth in energy from the rising middle class.

Like I said, solar is not nearly enough. We need fusion to even have a chance. 🙁

You’re not afraid of contradictions are you?
“2030” vs “today” is the same to you?
And tell me, aside from bonds and DU weapons, what other large scale usable energy than electricity is generated by nuclear plants?

“Spain” is a tiny area when scattered among millions and millions of food tops and solar farms. Theorically, a small part of the Arizona desert can provide energy for all our needs.

Solar still needs storage or worldwide transmission. Photovoltaics don’t produce much at night. It’s going to take a mix of production systems and time.

Spain is a huge area for a solar install base. I suspect if we can do that, cover the Sahara in wind farms, build a global scale high voltage DC transmission network, and build a new generation 4 reactor every three days for the next two decades, we’d be getting with in striking distance of arresting global warming with less than two degrees rise while allowing for a global middle class. In 2030.

You are systematically distorting what I say.
Instead you should consider shorting your nuke shares, because they will soon follow the hydrocarbon industries.. Have you noticed how many coal companies are filling for bankruptcy these days? It’s only the beginning of the massive adoption of renewables.

Auto correct correction, this is bombs instead of bonds, and roof top instead of food top.

Nick said:

“We’d need to cover the land area equivalent of *Spain* just to generate the same amount of electricity we use *today*! That doesn’t count capacity factor, and the massive nonelectric uses.”

Wanna bet that the amount of land area estimated would only be sufficient for solar power on a bright summer day? Solar power advocates like to cite that figure, and ignore the reality that if you really want to depend on solar power for all energy needs, you need about 5x that area to cover what you need on cloudy/rainy days… not to mention the difference between winter and summer insolation.

Nuclear power is the only viable and affordable way to wean us off burning fossil fuels using today’s technology.

And for those who think nuclear power is “dangerous”, consider this: About 15,000 to 30,000 Americans are estimated to die every year from the effects of pollution emitted by coal-fired plants. Obviously world-wide, the death toll is much higher.

If humans were rational animals, then decades ago we would have torn down every single coal-fired power plant and replaced it with a much cleaner, and much safer in terms of public health, nuclear power station.

I wish people, like RexxSee, understood that as we all watch PPMs of CO2 rise, renewables will only slowly fill some gaps. The US EPA has laid the groundwork for natural gas to replace nuclear, yet idealists who calculate land mass, solar STC and the needed generation make this enormous assumption that because something is physically possible (never mind the cost), that it will happen in time. We are on course to grow emissions from closed nuclear plants, as fossil remains and globally grows. Nuclear plants that are paid down are far cheaper than wind / solar. Batteries, firming, lines, land…. I’m sure the bulls price all this in /Sarc.

GEOTHERMAL has massive potential and marrying solar with batteries is a winner.

Nuclear is less dangerous than wind and a lot less dangerous than solar. And solar is nowhere near enough to cover the electricity need.

Solar’s role in electricity generation is not to produce all but is and will rather be a 5-15% level to cut the peaks. Or as a mean to protest in countries/regions/areas where fossil fuels dominate and the will to change is little.

“Nuclear is less dangerous than wind and a lot less dangerous than solar. And solar is nowhere near enough to cover the electricity need.”

Is this just simple conjecture or your opinion? I’d love to see some reputable facts to back up these statements…particularly the first statement as you know it’s not hard to quickly find plenty of facts on how Nuclear can …and HAS…gone horribly wrong.

Nuclear Power is 100% safe in Japan, simply for the reason that the Abe gov’t has made it illegal and ‘treasonous’ to say anything against it. Since everyone eventually dies anyway, there is no problem. If you look at it that way, not a single extra person has died or will die. Hospitals are also prohibited from releasing any actuarial tables. The head or Japan’s NRC has publicly stated “Smile, and radiation can’t hurt you”. OF course, in the states, they say a potato chip or banana is just as dangerous. What is not mentioned is the human body regulates those natural radiation levels by excreting any excess, and therefore bananas and potato chips are effectively harmless. Whereas in the current situation, few of those isotopes are naturally occurring in the amounts currently seen being discharged Speaking of which, ABE seems somewhat unhealthy lately, having to use the washroom every 5 minutes. It seems he has made his own bed, and now he must lie on it. He has always said “Fukushima Rice keeps me healthy!”. Now I don’t know how much of that stuff he is really eating. But I don’t personally care for his kind of ‘health’.

One source here, and plenty more for you to find with simple googling since it’s basically a consensus around the matter.

It’s the difference between irrational fear and facts.

Looks like your link is out of date. Try this:

That article does talk a bit about why the death toll for the nuclear power industry is so low, but it doesn’t say a word about why the figure it gives for solar power is so much higher. Are there toxic chemicals associated with manufacturing solar panels?

At any rate, altho I’d a strong advocate of nuclear power, I’d like to see the reasoning behind such claims before I’d ever assert that nuclear power is safer, from a public health perspective, than solar power.

The numbers covers every aspect of the energy source. From building it to dismantle it and everything in between.
Solars numbers come from things like manufacturing and the chemicals involved but the main factor is work accidents when mounting roof top solar.

Anyway, there is little need to pin solar or wind against nuclear since all of them are supersafe.
The real goal is to get rid of the extremely dangerous (in so many ways) fossil fuels.

This article, written in 2012, doesn’t take into account the damage done beyond a simple mortality rate. Am I to believe only 90 people have been affected by a Nuclear disaster. While I agree, Nuclear is FAR preferred to Coal, I wouldn’t jump on your bandwagon claiming it’s safer than Wind and Solar. “Irrational fear versus fact”… indeed.

Strange comment.
France is the most nuclearized nation in the world.
How do they need to fire more.
Beside, nuclear is also troublesome.
There’s a big environmental risk and financial outcome that is hidden by magic with nuclear.
And as this article point out, there’s no magic even thought people love to think it is.

NO country could just ban diesel cars.
It would be illegal and cause riots and instant suicide for whatever government was in power at the time!

It would not be hard to ban the sales of new diesel cars, tax current diesel cars higher and give good incentives to scrap your old diesel car.

Well even before this the state of the US market had little influence since so few were sold here, and that’s a good thing.
I think the EU loves diesel less now than they did say a week ago.

You’ve got the causality backwards. Europe loves diesels because automakers there have been pushing them hard for decades, especially the Germans, and within the Germans especially VW, though also Daimler.

I think it is important to remember that eu rules to use diesel were all about reducing CO2 emmisions, which they have been very effective at doing. Now we need to move to the next level, taking out both pollution and CO2. That next step involves a plug.

The next step is already on its way. That’s the reason why most european manufacturers are on the way to electrify all models.
In a couple of years you can get almost every european model in a plug version.

clueless much ?

I believe that statement, and at the same time find it crazy. Diesel is good on CO2 only because of efficiency. It doesn’t catalyze away from the basic “1 gallon burned = 20lbs” reality. So, it never scores much below, well, 40 mpg or ~225gr / mile.

I’m on 65% fossil (natural gas only), and that still lands below 100gr / mile (@3mp kwh). The German government needs to stop listening to VW.

VW’s ‘Big Stink’ is not going away anytime soon. It really is, as the article suggests, a shot in the arm for evs in general, and probably the death knell for diesel.

VW going all evs? I don’t think that is in the cards. VW will probably defend the diesel engine to the last ditch, and eventually fail in that defense, since it is an inferior technology.

I’d agree with that 100%. In fact, the more I think about this, them more I come to the conclusion that NONE of the big automakers are going to drive the rEVolution… They simply stand to loose WAY too much. Think of the entire aftermarket parts&service industry supporting the entire dealer network… Dead-end street. Best they can do is “compliance”.

This game is going to be for the taking to the newcomers: Tesla, Apple, whichever Chinese companies join the fold, etc. It wasn’t buggy manufacturers that pushed cars at the turn of last century. It was GM and Dupont who not only made the vehicles, but more importantly, innovated the financing (car loans).

Yes, it is sort of like signing a contract with the devil making gas/diesel powered vehicles. Its a contract that is not all that easy to get out of. You have already sold your soul on the altar of combustion, and to suddenly turn around and say: ‘I have seen the light of the ev, shining brightly in the heavens,’just does not pass muster.

There will always be a need for diesels. Personally, the thought of going wading in my Land Rovers with a petrol engine, which are a pig to keep the spark dry makes my legs go weak! Then the usual condition following would be wet legs and crotch, as that is what happens when the engine dies in four foot of water.
In an electric car this would be a non starter! Wouldn’t it?

Rob said:

“…that is what happens when the engine dies in four foot of water.

“In an electric car this would be a non starter! Wouldn’t it?”

I don’t see why it would be any harder for an EV maker to make a plug-in EV that will run in, say, a 2.5 feet of water than for Land Rover to make a diesel-powered ICEV that runs in 2.5 feet of water. In fact, the engineering challenge should be rather easier, since an electric motor doesn’t need to “breathe” air.

Anyone who has seen photos of a Tesla Model S battery pack being disassembled will have no difficulty at all believing that could be made waterproof, if it’s not already. I rather suspect it is, so likely all they would need to do is wrap a waterproof case around the motor and the power electronics, including inverter and charger.

But if a Land Rover can really run in four feet of water, that’s quite impressive. How do they prevent any water from getting to the 12v accessory circuit, including such things as headlights, tail lights, and radio/stereo?

VWs challenges also mean that there will be fewer resources (money) available for anything not essential. So some hoped for halo projects might be cancelled or pushed back. Be careful “cheering” for others mistakes.

This was my concern as well. If they are broke, they won’t be able to develop any new EV powertrains.

It’s my understanding that the fine goes to the EPA, if that’s the case what would the EPA do with 18 billion dollars? Maybe this would be a better place for the money any way.

I believe the fine is equal to around 30% of last year’s gross profit, so they won’t be broke. BUT, the fine plus loss of current and future earnings will hit them hard for sure!
Switzerland has banned all new sales of the 1.6 and 2.0l engines fitted with cheatware.

Well, internal combustion engines keep getting better, as for instance the new VOlt engine, but that is not taking away from the desireability of evs. EV’s even make sense if the central station is driven by an ICE, where the efficiency can be made higher than a car vehicle since the waste heat in certain cases can be beneficially utilized. But people in general know electric cars are a clean technology in general, and, more to the point the bloom is coming off the Diesel Rose; so much for VW’s ‘German Engineering’. The EU may love Diesels but the Love Affair is rapidly fading. Paris and London children are getting sick precisely because of Diesel particulate pollution, and that’s not even counting oxides of nitrogen. On the scandal, here’s my reply to it … ‘ ‘Silence in the showrooms’. This is a very big deal. This is the SECOND time (first was 1973) VW was caught installing defeat mechanisms. The engineering dept of VW will have many casualties since dozens of people had to know of the fraudulent nature of this coding. The violations from 50 years ago could be dismissed (along with GM and others) of misinterpretation or loopholes,… Read more »

Well stated.

I am completely disgusted by some comments I’ve read on general blogs about how VW had to do this because the EPA rules were so strict.

Yep, demagoguery is the rule of the day. After all, everybody, including businesses, have the right to pollute, right, as long as it is profitable to do so? How dare that big, bad, greedy EPA force individuals and businesses to clean up their products! It’s not like they are enforcing laws enacted by the US Congress and signed into law by a US President or anything like that…


THanks for the kind words.

, The EPA, Canada, and CARB are now going to have fast driving, slow driving, hot and cold weather driving to see if they can ferret out any other sneaky ‘defeat algorithms’ that may shut down controls only under relatively rare circumstances. We’ll see how many *OTHER* VW branded vehicles they come up with.

THey are getting the vehicles either from owners or rental car companies and are not informing either VW or other companies when and where they are doing the testing. Since VW has pulled this twice, they’re not fooling around this time.

Traditional car makers and their associated franchise dealer networks will go “all-in” on EVs not a single moment before they have exhausted all methods to keep ICE in the game.

And that makes perfect business sense…

Because mass adaption of EV’s big-time disrupts the #1 source of high margin revenue for franchise dealers: The Service Department.

The first step traditional car makers need to take towards going “All-In” on EVs is to start allowing the franchise dealers to make some margin for selling new cars (like in the old days)…most franchise dealers today are happy to just break even on new cars.


Will the not-so-clean diesel scandal help the EV revolution? I think it will a bit, yes; because we’re going to see a lot fewer claims about “clean diesel” in the future, and auto makers will look elsewhere for solutions to mandated emission reductions. Some of them might well *gasp* start devoting significant resources into developing compelling PEVs (Plug-in Electric Vehicles)!

But I think it’s too much to hope that Volkswagen or any other legacy auto maker is going to take all the resources they had going into building diesel cars, and divert that to making PEVs. Much as I’d like to think EV tech is at the point that it can start making significant inroads into sales of gasmobiles, I don’t think it’s quite at that stage yet. I think it will be a few more years until we see sales of PEVs really grow exponentially year-on-year, in the way that Ford Model T sales grew in a previous generation.

I would, of course, be delighted — nay, ecstatic — to be proven wrong on this!

Ford, GM, BMW and Mercedes have all come out specifically stating they did not do what VW did (according to Bank of Amer analysts). I think the EV sites are expecting this will broaden, but if you know that most diesels use urea and this problem is contained to VW’s whizbang DPF/DEF system, you realize it probably won’t. I will speculate that the only reason a urea equiped late model VW got caught is because VW knew they were going to have to ‘amp’ the 2.0 liter motor’s controls, and they were hedging the cars that came after tests started to become revealing. Urea=SCR and it is sounding like $1000-1500 SCR retro-fits are a solution VW may have to execute. I have the car, and follow all sorts of stuff as folks can probably tell. An interesting sidebar, if confronted by “Well EVs emit more NOx, because of coal”, is to use the facts. You’ll find US coal=~2lbs MWh, and the Tier 2 Bin 5 regs VW is held to amount to .09 grams / mile max. Do the math at your chosen miles per kwh and the local coal mix, and it doesn’t look like EPA is targeting diesel… Read more »

I agree. The most likely course of action is for VW to follow Mercedes and BMW by adding urea systems.Expensive retrofit, and owners won’t be expecting to pay immediately. One more maintenance expense for diesel.

pjwood1 said: “Ford, GM, BMW and Mercedes have all come out specifically stating they did not do what VW did (according to Bank of Amer analysts). I think the EV sites are expecting this will broaden, but if you know that most diesels use urea and this problem is contained to VW’s whizbang DPF/DEF system, you realize it probably won’t.” While Volkswagen might be the Lance Armstrong of the automotive industry, just as in bike racing (and in just about all other sports) most of Volkswagen’s competitors are probably also cheating but haven’t been caught yet. Germany’s Auto Bild believes the cheating scandal will broaden to other Bavarian automakers. Cough cough BMW cough cough. . . Excuse me, I had to clear my throat. 😉 Here is a summary of the German-language Auto Bild report: “Germany’s hard-hitting AUTO BILD meanwhile reports that in a real-world road test, BMW’s X3 x drive produced NOx eleven times higher than the Euro 6 norm. This is much worse than the scandal-ridden Passat in the US. A BMW spokesman denied the existence of any defeat devices. ‘BMW’s have no function to identify emissions testing,’ the spokesman said. BMW was previously assumed to be unaffected… Read more »

For one, If BMW gets clawed in for being ineffective, it doesnt mean they “defeated” something. WVU researchers cleared the BMW they tested on road. We’ll see.

Yes, innocent until proven guilty. But I do note this whole scandal arose when the BMW X5 and the VW vehicles all failed European on-road emissions tests conducted by European researchers. European researchers assumed that BMW and VW had excess NOx emissions in Europe and much lower NOx emission in the U.S., and reached out to WVU researchers to replicate the European tests to show European governments that lower European NOx emission could be achieved. Since the BMW X5 failed the European test, but not the American test, BMW has some explaining to do do European regulators, and U.S. regulators will want to double check and make sure that the X5’s NOx emissions are kosher in real life driving. From Bloomberg: “Discrepancies in the European tests on the diesel models of the VW Passat, the VW Jetta and the BMW X5 last year gave Peter Mock an idea.” “Mock, European managing director of a little-known clean-air group, suggested replicating the tests in the U.S. The U.S. has higher emissions standards than the rest of the world and a history of enforcing them, so Mock and his American counterpart, John German, were sure the U.S. versions of the vehicles would pass… Read more »

Here is an update on the AUTO BILD news story:

“BMW got yanked into the riptide of the Volkswagen diesel scandal thanks to a report in Auto Bild, which Auto Bild has now clarified. On Thursday the German magazine said that when the International Council on Clean Transportation tested the X3 xDrive 2.0d, the ICCT discovered the diesel X3’s tailpipe emissions exceeded the European limit by more than 1,100 percent. The key detail, though, is that apparently at no time did the ICCT find that BMW cheated on any emissions tests.”

“No one has explained why the X3 diesel had such high emissions and the ICCT wouldn’t comment on the Auto Bild report. But the mag has issued a clarification asserting that in spite of the excessive emissions, there is no evidence BMW engaged in regulatory subterfuge.”

pjwood1 said:

“I think the EV sites are expecting this will broaden, but if you know that most diesels use urea and this problem is contained to VW’s whizbang DPF/DEF system, you realize it probably won’t.”

My guess is you’re right. However, given various comments I’ve seen, I am now hoping that this scandal will prompt Europe to develop new testing standards which will produce efficiency and emission ratings a lot closer to reality, for both gasmobiles and EVs.

Volkswagen may have gone further in “gaming the system” to produce ratings they wanted, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. It has been an ongoing and growing scandal for some years now that Europe’s NEDC ratings are, on average, growing less and less representative of the actual performance of cars in real world driving.

Now, reforming the NECD rating system probably won’t immediately and directly help that much in pushing forward the EV revolution. But if we start getting more realistic data by which to compare gasmobiles to BEVs and PHEVs, hopefully that will help promote consumer demand for PEVs, when more of them are available for consumers to buy.

“Ford, GM, BMW and Mercedes have all come out specifically stating they did not do what VW did”

Um, dude, if you seriously believe that, you have problems I can’t solve.

The VW group *said* that they weren’t doing what VW *did*, ever since they came out with their “solution” to emissions regulations. They were touting their “clean diesel” engines as a great miracle cure for the world’s pollution problems, or rather, its regulatory problems.

The fact of the matter is that the whole thing was a great big lie. It had no basis in reality whatsoever. The other automakers are saying that they never did what VW did? That’s just words. The proof will be in the actual real-world measurements we start making, starting today. Never trust what the PR department says, ever.

“Hopefully, Volkswagen will engage more strongly in EVs and drops diesels as a way to emerge from the crisis.”

Like, just maybe, making the EVs they have available in all 50 states instead of a few.

I hope they discover that some other manufacturers cheated as well. Otherwise what will happen is that while VW will suffer big losses, all the others will distance themselves and proclaim that VW is an isolated case, and everything will be business as usual one year from now.

“Diesel BMW, Mercedes, Opel, PSA Cars Suspected Of Cheating On Emissions Tests As Well”

Just to be clear, the above article refers to cheating on CO2 emissions, while Volkswagen admitted to cheating on NOx emissions. Of course, we can’t rule out that Volkswagen also cheated on CO2 emissions.

If the other manufacturers used “defeat devices”, it’s just as as the VW fraud, regardless if it’s about NOx or CO2. This is beyond the usual trickery to “optimize” test results.

I meant to write “just as bad as the VW fraud”.

Yep, I agree.

I think it is a wonderful idea: that all the fines, that will be collected of VW, would go into a bag from which investments in clean transport are done of R&D is paid.

I even would accept if VW would not have to pay fines at all, but was forced to invest the same amount of money in EVs, of course with independent control.

Because as ‘shane’ wrote, a huge fine would just hamper investments by VW, especially in EVs which for them are no core business. Don’t punish them but teach them and force them to do ‘good’ after they did ‘bad’, with the billions that they would otherwise lose.

“…a huge fine would just hamper investments by VW, especially in EVs which for them are no core business.”

Far better to hit VW with a stiff fine, and give the money from that fine to automakers which are developing plug-in EVs, with the stipulation they use it to increase their R&D budget for development of PEVs.

I’m not a fan of the philosophy “Yeah, we should punish them, but only in a way that doesn’t actually hurt them.” If it doesn’t hurt, it’s not a punishment.

Test driving the Audi A3 e-tron tomorrow – Will be asking a few questions….

The ICE aspect of the auto industry is similar to the whole petroleum industry – they’re shaking the loose change from inside the sofa to find a little more efficiency/lower emissions and a little more oil.

Perhaps this year will looked back in history as the year of both “Peak ICE” and “Peak Oil” as renewables, EV’s, PHEV’s and strong hybrids storm ahead in 2016 and later.

Gotta wonder if Hybrid Cars is going to continue to run a diesel section in the Monthly Market Dashboard.

Of the six feature articles that Hybrid Cars is currently running, no less than 4 of them are about the diesel scandal.

Someone, please tell me what was EVER “green” about diesels.

“(CO2 isn’t that bad for humanoids)”

Only if you are a climate science denier. Otherwise, it is the worst thing we are doing to ourselves (by emitting it). Not worthy of insideevs.

Per unit of volume, he was correct.

CO2 is by far worse than NOx for humanoids (and the rest of the planet).
So that sentence in the article made me cringe.

But on a super local level it’s correct, I would definitely choose a room with elevated levels of CO2 than a room with elevated levels of NOx.

I live in Germany. Every second sold car here in Germany is a diesel. There is no way of dropping them. Even the diesel gate will not change their minds. Germans love diesels because diesel gas here in Germany is heavily subsidized. The difference is 21 euro-cents per liter (0.24 gallons). For people who drive a lot makes that a huge difference.

The diesel subsidy must go. It is counter-productive.

Why would the German government subsidize diesel and thus more air pollution?

This has historical reasons. Before the Diesel boom started in the 1980s, Diesel was almost exclusively used for commercial and agricultural vehicles. Back then the government lowered taxes on Diesel to promote the economy. Obviously this soon led to increased adoption of Diesel for cars as well. The German car industry became a leader in Diesel technology, and due to their strong lobbying the politicians kept the Diesel subsidy although it doesn’t really make sense (in fact Diesel should be taxed higher on a per-gallon basis, since it has a higher volumetric energy density and accordingly higher CO2 emission).

Yes, okay, but if every other car is a Diesel (frankly, I thought it was alot more than that), and it goes to every third car, then somewhere in there many, many additional EV’s will be sold.

Especially since Germany is finally lowering their electric rates, since solar is becoming a mature technology and can compete against other plants on price alone without heavy subsidy.

I don’t see pure EVs taking off in the next few years (too expensive and too limited with the current technology). But if Diesel popularity indeed declines as a result of this scandal, they will invest even more in hybrids and PHEVs. Diesels are currently a big part of their plan to reach the CO2 goals by 2020, so they may have to come up with a plan B now.


Given the persistence of claims from EV bashers and those parroting Big Oil propaganda, falsely claiming that so-called “clean diesel” cars are on average less polluting (in a well-to-wheel analysis) than BEVs are, I think it is very much on topic to publish articles discussing this topic at InsideEVs.

I hope to see more articles and opinion pieces on the subject at InsideEVs.

Sign above a Model S parked by the ocean reads:

“The entire car is an emission test defeating device.”
– Tesla Motors

1. In the last years (esp. before EVs came really up), especially in Germany Diesel were the cars which have least CO2 emissions which was declared as the most important goal concerning saving the environment. NOx came later…

2. I’d nearly bet that if there would be an “eco” button, everything would be ok because “Customer wanted more power, got more power – and due this more emissions, not our fault.”.
It’s absolutely a good thing that the engine acts according to the situation to have least emissions as possible. The correspondig software code is obviously used in that cars so they don’t really safe money if that code is disabled during normal use.
That’s why I think in that emission test mode the car simply has in effect less power etc. but they wanted a normal customer experience with als little bit more power because their customers probably wanted it.
BTW: I once used the eco button in a Renault (no Diesel, no EV) while a test drive…


PS: No word about hydrogen in this article?! Search for “VW HyMotion”!

Can anybody explain to me why the defeat device exists? What does any automaker gain by it? They already designed and installed the emissions controls. Why not leave them on? The costs have already been paid!!!

The fools then went through the extra effort and expense to develop and install the defeat device. I don’t understand. Can anybody explain the economic advantage to defeat devices? What is the ROI? It seems even dumber than lobbying.

Volkswagen found that controlling NOX emissions to conform to mandated standards caused their not-at-all-clean diesel cars to perform poorly… to have sluggish acceleration, etc. So they installed software to detect when the car was being tested for emissions, and to reduce emissions only while being tested… with the default condition allowing better performance.

Obviously a better performing car would do better in auto reviews, and make for happier customers.

P.S.– ROI is an economic/financial term meaning Return On Investment.

Its more about fuel economy than performance.

The car gets worse fuel economy and lower performance with the emissions system on (presumably). So both of those make the vehicle worth less.

Somebody said it above:
It’s like hitting the “ECO”-button in any petrol car in the US – it instantly becomes a “Flintstone”-car.

It wasn’t just power loss. Soot, ash and filters, that cost over $1000, start failing even faster than has been a problem for the 2.0 TDI owners. Warranty costs were something you can bet VW had in mind, when defeating.

I have yet to see anyone question the validity of gasoline ICE emissions. If it was done for diesel, why not gas?

Diesels make more NOx. NOx makes smog, which causes respiratory problems. Smog can kill people who have asthma and other susceptibility.

Diesels also make more fine particulates called PM 2.5 that go from your lungs into your bloodstream and cause cancer, stokes and other serious health problems.

In gasoline engines that use direct injection the amount 2.5 or smaller particulate matter coming out of the exhaust skyrockets. Gasoline ICE vehicles, at least those with direct injection, will soon be required to have particulate filters like diesels do now to meet the more stringent 2017 EPA “Tier 3” emissions standards. The recently updated Chrysler Pentastar V6 engine didn’t get direct injection even though it was widely expected to get DI to improve fuel economy. The apparent reason was so that the engine could meet ever tightening EPA emissions regulations with out an expensive particulate filter. From GreenCarReports: “The undesirable byproduct of DI, which is also more expensive, can be soot produced by incomplete mixing of gasoline and air in the combustion chamber, especially when the engine is cold.” “Some turbocharged cars with direct-injected gasoline engines can be seen with sooty deposits around their tailpipe, especially those in cold climates.” “While EPA regulations on diesel engines have largely solved the soot issue–the current ‘Tier 2, Bin 5’ standards in effect since 2008 essentially mandate diesel particulate filters that trap soot emissions–gasoline engines haven’t been subject to the same rules. But that’s about to change.” “Starting in 2017, the EPA… Read more »
I’m a huge EV proponent, but what Mark is calling for in this piece is for Volkswagen to take their longest range, most energy dense fueled vehicles and replace them with the shortest range, least energy dense vehicles. It’s not going to happen- not because there’s no will at VW for such drastic action- but because EV demand and EV profitability are insignificant. The market will not even accept that move because there aren’t enough of us EV buyers to fill that gap in the market. I think we often overestimate our voice and overestimate the profit potential of our EVs and not realize how silly we sometimes sound in the process. Yes, the future is electric, but the future isn’t tomorrow or even next year for large volume, mass market manufacturers like VW. However, if there is to be a fine levied (which I am against), I think it would be fair to allow them to spend a portion of that fine themselves on making real improvements that would clean the air (or encourage movement in that direction)- be that solar, wind, charging stations- whatever- and allow them to keep those investments. So for example, a single CCS/CHAdeMO station… Read more »

++ Kubel’s thoughts

1. The EV Revolution is going to take a while.

2. Give the fine money to the people not the scum-bag lawyers and government bureaucrats.

3. Let VW work off it’s jail time by installing chargers for EVs

Amen, brother…..

Enterely agree with all waht you wrote.

But then, if they go the way you wish, it’s actually a shift toward electrification.
Add the simple fact that if you have such a commitment to a charging network by a manufacturer, it make no sense that this manufacturer wouldn’t produce a car to profit from that network.
One way or another, it’s a commitment for it!

“To Save Itself From Diesel Scandal, Volkswagen Must Go All In On Electric Cars”

Save itself from whom? The 1% of the EV buying public, or shareholders seeking high returns and high share prices?

Shudder the thought, what if Volkswagen follows Toyota’s and to some extent Germany’s lead and goes all in on hydrogen fuel cell vehicles instead?

Well, when it comes down to it, I disagree with the extent of EV penetration also.

Its hard to go from 0.1% to 99.9% or some astronomic change. But if it went over a reasonable period of time to 1 or 2% that would be an ORDER OF MAGNITUDE growth of EV’s without really changing the number of ICE cars that much.

I go for the middle view here. Even so, I see A HUGE NEED for 10x more motors, 10x more batteries, and many more cars now charging at home overnight.

There’s an interesting article by Jose Pontes over at EV Sales Blog Called “Das Diesel” Gate. In the article he claims that diesel technology has been stagnant for some time. Now, that’s something I didn’t know.

Link to article>

In 2010 the modern plug in car era began with sales of Nissan Leaf and Chevy Volt.

Here’s the last 5 years of auto sales world wide according to Wiki.

2010 77,857,705 26.0% [28]
2011 79,989,155 3.1% [29]
2012 84,141,209 5.3% [30]
2013 87,300,115 3.7% [31]
2014 89,747,430 2.6% [32]

From 2010 to 2014 nearly 420 million cars were manufactured. In the same period just 1 million plug-in vehicles were built. That’s about 419 million ICE to just 1 million BEV/PHEV.

To have any real impact, EVs in the next few years must not only sell in the millions but in the tens of millions. Because, five years from now there will be yet another 500 million ICE on the road with a global vehicle total of about 3 Billion vehicles by 2050.

It was always suspicious that VW was able to pass Euro % on Diesel when they could NOT make petrol engines that didn’t eat oil.
In Australia – many distraught petrol owners were told by VW that it was acceptable to use up to 1L per 1000km !

Meanwhile in Japan they were scratching their head with better engineers and manufacturing equipment why they cannot make a good Euro spec 5 engine work as easily as the Germans.

Now we know the Germans cheated.

This is a BIG win for EV and a big ha ha to all those that told me the Volt was less environmentally sound than a VW Diesel Golf.

Karma can be such a bitch.

I like the idea that VW will counter all of the actual CO2 and other pollutants possible by cars they’ve already sold by providing bev rebates, installing dual CCS and CHAdeMO dcqc-ers throughout the US…and produce a larger number of BEV’s …or they can simply be fined out of existence and taken to court by individuals and groups. I would like to see though the CEO’s and such lose their HUGE financial perks, retirement and compensation for bringing the company to such a place. That is sad they thought this was good.