In my last post about the “scandal” I gave my view that Governments across the world were also negligent in the issue. I used scandal in quotes simply because I don’t see it as being as bad as several other recent automotive issues that have resulted in many deaths and injuries.
I said that Governments were negligent simply because the industry has been demanding that the tests used are changed because they do not relate to the real world usage of the vehicles tested. Had they made changes when encouraged to do so, then the software that is in the control units on VW Group cars (other members products are now under scrutiny) would not have worked because it was designed for specific conditions only found in EPA (Environment Protection Agency) and other similar Government tests.
Now, according to a report in the Australian Financial Review, researchers at Kings College in London had repeatedly requested the British Government to change their tests because they found many diesel cars producing more emissions in the real world compared to the test results. By “many cars”, it is clear that this is more than just VW models because tens of thousands of cars were tested simply by putting sensors near roads in Britain and this study has been ongoing since 2011. The research was funded by a Government department yet the results were ignored by them! In the meantime, the Government was offering tax concessions to encourage more diesel car sales!
Diesel cars produce less carbon monoxide than petrol cars yet produce significantly more nitrogen oxide pollution. It is this test that the VW engineers have figured out how to manipulate whilst the tax regime is interested in the levels of carbon monoxide pollution.
A former British Transport Minister has also claimed that the British Prime Minister has delayed new stricter rules on car pollution because of an agreement with the German Chancellor to protect the car industry in Germany – i.e. VW Group, BMW and Daimler Benz! How true this is, is up for discussion, however I’m sure this topic will become a bigger part of the whole pollution testing issue because this shows that various Governments knew that the tests were faulty but colluded to ensure higher sales of German vehicles.
Had the British Government changed their tests when recommended by the researchers, this would have exposed the tests in other European countries and the US as being faulty and the whole issue would have been found many years earlier – in fact as I said earlier, the changes would have negated the software from changing the vehicle dynamics and this would have ensured that the vehicle pollution levels would be real. This in turn would have forced all manufacturers to adjust their cars to meet the regulations.
What Government departments need to understand is that once a test is created it needs to be audited against changing technology, fuels and other items. Any test must evolve and change as the world changes around it. It seems that the tests in this issue have not changed in probably 10 years (possibly more). The world has changed around them, so it is clear that someone would try to manipulate the results. Changing the tests regularly would slow down the ability to do that. This happens in other industries, so why not with Governments?