back to article VW floats catalytic converter as fix for fibbing diesels

Volkswagen has bowed to the inevitable and proposed fitting catalytic converters to some US vehicles affected by its emissions-test-cheating engine management software scandal. The idea was raised over the weekend by German daily Bild am Sonntag. The fix won't cover the whole fleet, but would clean up the 430,000 cars that …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So close...

    If a catalytic converter could have obviated the need for cheating, I assume the CC's were omitted merely to keep the price down.

    What price now, VW?

    1. TeeCee Gold badge

      Re: So close...

      The CC's will have been omitted 'cos it's a diesel with a particulate filter.

      Plumbed in upstream of the filter, they clog with particulates. Downstream they get screwed by the filter's burnoff cycles.

      End result is that they suffer from short life in such applications, which is why they got left out when particulate filters[1] became mandatory. Too likely to fail within the warranty period.

      Some diesels of Euro III or earlier and prior to filters have a catalytic converter. These use a more open matrix to allow the passage of particulates. It also allows the passage of most of the exhaust gases without them getting near the internal surfaces once appreciable flow rates are achieved. Still, they do a job at idle during testing.........(!!)

      [1] A typically political fix. They turn larger particulates, which are known to be carcinogenic, into very small ones, which are only thought to be carcinogenic.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: So close...

        >End result is that they suffer from short life in such applications

        There is maybe even an upside for VW, turning a disaster into a profit. After a couple of years when the vehicle has failed some or other regulatory test because the device is now well and truly clogged with particulates, it will be "sorry mate, you need a new catalytic converter, £600".

        1. IsJustabloke

          Re: So close...

          "There is maybe even an upside for VW, turning a disaster into a profit"

          I'm not sure that VW would ever get away with selling someone a new CC at anything approaching a retail price; particularly in a society as litigious as the US of A, if indeed they are able charge for them at all.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: So close...

            In the USA, ALL equipment that is required to meet PZEV (Partial Zero Emission Vehicle) (Or most European produced cars) specifications is guaranteed for the life of the vehicle. That covers this proposed Catalytic Convertor, which would then be free of charge.

            1. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

              Re: So close...

              "In the USA, ALL equipment that is required to meet PZEV (Partial Zero Emission Vehicle) (Or most European produced cars) specifications is guaranteed for the life of the vehicle."

              Wow! If only Euro-laws could be that consumer friendly!

              1. joed

                Re: So close...

                "guaranteed for the life of the vehicle" - how's that defined? The same way unlimited data was?

                1. annodomini2

                  Re: So close...

                  Life of the Warranty.

            2. Dan Wilkie

              Re: So close...

              How do you get a partially zero emissions vehicle? Other than by switching it off?

              Not being facetious, it just doesn't make any sense to me :\

              1. Eddy Ito

                Re: So close...

                It's partial because the zero applies only to evaporative emissions. The tailpipe emissions are equal to SULEV standards. Technically it's guaranteed for 15 years or 150k miles not the life of the car but there aren't many of us driving cars with 200k+ miles on the clock.

                Edit: Here's a couple of links.

                http://www.driveclean.ca.gov/Do_Your_Research/Glossary_of_Terms.php

                https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Partial_zero-emissions_vehicle

                1. Chloe Cresswell Silver badge

                  Re: So close...

                  Xtype diesel here, 235,000 miles and still going strong (and frugality, at upto 75mpg! :)

        2. TheVogon

          Re: So close...

          "it will be "sorry mate, you need a new catalytic converter, £600"

          It will cost them miles more than that to install them - as well as the cost of the cat, you would need to install a secure mounting, modify the exhaust piping either side and modify the wiring loom to install a temp sensor - and reprogram the ECU. All for presumably reduced performance and fuel economy. For that reason imo next to no one will install it - which will probably save the bacon for VW....

    2. MyffyW Silver badge

      Re: So close...

      If I recall my Fuel and Energy lectures correctly a Cat lowers the power output by hindering the exhaust, so the engines overall CO2 output per unit of power will rise.

      So it's a bit of a crude fix really.

      1. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

        Re: So close...

        So it's a bit of a crude fix really.

        Quite, thats why they pulled the scam in the first place - too much CC lowers power too much.

        I have a car with a cat , but its old enough to not legally require it. When I removed it the difference in power AND fuel efficency was staggering!

    3. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

      Re: So close...

      "If a catalytic converter could have obviated the need for cheating, I assume the CC's were omitted merely to keep the price down."

      Anything omitted from a car is omitted primarily to keep price down. There is nothing "merely" about it.

      VW is still around (and big), perhaps partly _because_ they could keep the price down by cheating. We don't know the cost to VW yet.

    4. sathackr

      Not another CC!

      I own one of these. It already has 3 catalytic converters and a DPF in the exhaust [1]. I have to use special oil to make sure it doesn't clog any of the catalytic converters. They want to add a 4th? I already have to treat it with kid gloves, making sure I drive it with the right profile to clear out the DPF routinely.

      [1]: http://sweet-sauer.com/2012/04/20/its-not-your-grandpas-egr-system/

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    m

    Why is the bootnote a link to a lengthy mobile version that without a CTRL+F I'm not going to find the words I want?

    Why not a link to a particular point in the 'normal' comment thread which I can easily read.

    Also, why can't we have a tips and corrections link which isn't a mailto:?

    Not all of us have email clients installed you know.

    Also, HTTPS El Reg please...

    1. Sampler

      Re: m

      to be fair, it is the first response to the comment you're looking for..

    2. Martin-73 Silver badge

      Re: m

      Hmm, i'd much rather a mailto than a web form, but then I am old

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Porsche Cheyenne"???

    Presumably you mean Porsche Cayenne.

    1. Why Not?
      Joke

      This model was built by native Americans.

  4. Bernd Felsche
    Mushroom

    Ludicrous lawsuit. No tangible injury.

    Uncle Sam is demented. Insane.

    vis e.g. 85.: "found on-road NOx emissions from two 2.0L VW light duty diesel vehicles … were significantly higher than the applicable emission standards established by EPA regulations."

    That would and indeed DOES apply to all cars with internal combustion engines. WHY PICK ON VW? It is a nonsense to compare test cycle emissions with on-road emissions. Nobody operates their vehicles according to the test cycle. Test cycles at best allow for comparisons between vehicles.

    EPA has also conveniently "forgotten" that it agreed with carmakers in the late 1990's to set standards according to what is reasonably achievable with affordable technologies.

    VW's actions were as much in the interests of its customers; maintaining affordability and driving pleasure; as well as protecting their own profitability.

    Only regulations were injured.

    The "PRAYER FOR RELIEF" is for egregious, vindictive penalties for breach of holy EPA scriptures. The amounts have clearly been pulled out of their collective @rses.

    Other "remedies" include STUPID things like enjoining VW not to break the regulations again … a sure sign of insanity.

    Perhaps VW should simply bug out. http://theconsternation.net/2016/01/08/scoop-volkswagen-group-of-america-shuts-itself-down/

    1. Bernd Felsche

      Re: Ludicrous lawsuit. No tangible injury.

      If, as pundits claim, VW is entertaining the idea of adding another catalytic converter to the smaller engined, higher-volume cars, then that will not only damage VW, but will also hurt the cars' owners because the vehicles will be more complicated and expensive to run.

      I'm surprised that other carmakers are just standing around, quietly watching and the EPA and other government agencies conduct lawfare and punishment by process on the VW Group. Don't they understand that any one of them is next in line?

    2. MD Rackham

      Re: Ludicrous lawsuit. No tangible injury.

      Germans can do no wrong, eh? Or if they do wrong, they should be left off the hook because, I don't know, they're German? No, VW has been exposed as lying cheats and need to be penalized.

      You import cars, you agree to obey the rules, which have penalties attached to them. Don't want to obey the rules, don't import cars. Try to cheat instead? You pay the penalties.

      The rules are very carefully specified and clear to anyone who cares to read, not "holy EPA scriptures," whatever that implies.

      As for test results not matching road results: of course there is a difference. But go back and look at the phrase you chose to ignore: "significantly higher."

      If you drive the car on the road and run the same basic profile as the tests, the results should be similar. Not "significantly higher."

      And you might want to brush up on US legal forms if you want to understand why there are such odd-sounding things as a "prayer for relief" and an injunction against VW cheating and lying again.

      (Rant back at ya)

      1. Bernd Felsche
        Flame

        Re: Ludicrous lawsuit. No tangible injury.

        Goodness! A whole platoon of straw men!

        1. Steve Todd
          Stop

          Re: Ludicrous lawsuit. No tangible injury.

          Nitrogen oxides in the air increase the death rate of people with asthma, heart and lung problems. It's a distinct and measurable effect. Death is not a tangible injury?

          If you were talking about CO2 emissions then you might have a point, but in this case the EPA is doing its job and had produced a pass/fail tests for manufacturers to measure their products against. VW cheated at the test. There's no argument over this point. The only questions are how VW are going to put matters right and what punishment they will receive.

    3. Duncan Macdonald

      Re: Ludicrous lawsuit. No tangible injury.

      Other manufacturers were able to produce conforming vehicles - VW could have but instead decided to break the law to improve their profits. (From the tone of your comment, I think that either you are a VW employee or a VW shareholder.)

      Anyone who believes theconsternation.net is in serious need of a brain transplant. (Leaving the US would not shield the parent company from the lawsuits as it is apparent that the illegal test "fix" was implemented by the VW group - not the US subsidary. )

      As far as injury goes - lookup the adverse effects of nitrogen oxides and particulate smog on the human lung.

      1. a_yank_lurker

        Re: Ludicrous lawsuit. No tangible injury.

        The only assumptions everyone is making is the EPA is competent and has clearly written regulations with appropriate test protocols. Having personally dealt with the EPA and its regulations competence is not a word I would associate with them - I have a few choice adjectives I think more accurately describe them. However this probably has no bearing on this case, the regulations are mandated by law. EPA regulations at times, again having personally read and tried to understand what they were saying, are not clearly written and many times do not have appropriate test protocols. Some of the regulations read like they are written by shyster who last to take any science classes in Middle School (~11-13/14 years old). This is probably applicable hear but given the fact VW is a German company and the case is in the EPA'a home turf the courts may chose to ignore this possible issue.

        1. PriusPete

          Re: Ludicrous lawsuit. No tangible injury.

          The EPA failed to catch VW for 7 years so this is not a great success for them. However, the Clean Air Act introduced in 1970 has been successful in reducing smog in US cities. It seems to be one of the few examples of environmental laws in the world that has some real teeth. Ralph Nader and others tried to get criminal penalties added to the Clean Air Act but were not successful. The rules in this case are clear and VW admits breaking them. The only question now is the penalties. My understanding is that the EPA does not set the fines. The EPA indicates what laws were broken and what penalties those laws allow. A judge then decides what penalties will be imposed. Of course VW may have broken other laws too, such as false advertising related to their "Clean Diesel" claims. Individual states are also going after VW. I hope the Americans throw the book at VW group since the environmental laws elsewhere may not be strong enough to do very much.

      2. Bernd Felsche
        Devil

        Re: Ludicrous lawsuit. No tangible injury.

        Yeah… that's right. I must be a shill.

        All other manufacturers' vehicle also do worse, on-road.

        You claim that there are injuries. How many are attributable to the "defeat device" in VW vehicles?

        Do you have testing information of emissions from the cars after the defeat device is properly disabled? Without measurement, one cannot make any rational assessment; and then it's only based on test cycle operations; nothing to do with the real world.

        Are you aware of NOx emissions according to WLTC (conducted by the ADAC) are already being measured to be up to 15 times higher than allowed by Euro 6; with the "dirtiest" VW Group vehicle (Auidi A8 3.0 TDI) being 3 times higher. Jeep Renegades are 10 times higher. FIAT might be next for the chop. And there are man VW Group vehicles below the Euro 6 limit.

        EPA doesn't seem to think particulates are dangerous otherwise they would be contravening the Nuremberg Convention by supporting research that involved people deliberately inhaling air containing "hazardous" particulate matter; without first obtaining their informed consent.

        THere are many sources of NOx and particulates other than cars; many natural sources (ambient NOx levels are only half anthroprogenic in the open) and many other sources from human activities in cities.

        German cities which have restrictions on the vehicles allowed to enter, based on their emissions class, don't have cleaner air than similar cities without such restrictions. i.e. cars make no more difference. https://contrary2belief.wordpress.com/2012/01/27/264/

        You're not meant to take theconsternation.net literally. It's satire.

        There are, nevertheless only 4 inventions in the article. There's a comprehensive (unpublished) bibliography for the basis of the story based on facts.

    4. localzuk

      Re: Ludicrous lawsuit. No tangible injury.

      Why pick on VW? My guess would be because they were found to specifically be cheating the tests, and have admitted doing so. Other manufacturers haven't been found to be cheating. Sure, their results may differ in the lab to on the road, but they haven't specifically written their software to do so.

      The extra emissions that are being produced are the problem. They affect health - causing more deaths and increase health care needs for a population. This is why there are regulations in the first place.

      Your view seems to be seriously skewed against the idea of "regulations", almost as if you don't understand why regulations are created in the first place. Put it this way, if emissions regulations didn't exist, you'd be breathing smog right now.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Ludicrous lawsuit. No tangible injury.

        Why pick on VW? My guess would be because they were found to specifically be cheating the tests, and have admitted doing so. Other manufacturers haven't been found to be cheating.

        VW made the mistake of admitting deliberately cheating, all the other manufacturers who cheat just as much have so far insisted that it's just an incorrect optimization in their software.

        Give it a year and people outside the US will have completely forgotten about VW having problems, and will all be reading about Peugeot/Renault/Toyota/etc. diesels failing the tests.

        1. Robert Helpmann??
          Childcatcher

          Re: Ludicrous lawsuit. No tangible injury.

          I just saw an ad for a class action law suit against VW on behalf of owners of the affected vehicles, so my guess is this will drag on for quite some time.

      2. LucreLout

        Re: Ludicrous lawsuit. No tangible injury.

        @localzuk

        Other manufacturers haven't been found to be cheating. Sure, their results may differ in the lab to on the road, but they haven't specifically written their software to do so.

        Quiet agreed. However, I have been predicting since this issue first hit the headlines, that almost all manufacturers are gaming the system, if not out and out cheating, and that before the issues passes into the history books, that it will come to span all fuel types and most manufacturers.

        The means of achieving the lab gains may vary, but I'm unaware of any vehicle by any main manufacturer that does on the road what is claimed in the lab.

    5. PriusPete

      Re: Ludicrous lawsuit. No tangible injury.

      MIT attributes 59 premature deaths in the US from the illegal extra emissions from VW/Audi diesel cars. Extrapolating to 22 times more of these cheaters globally gives about 1300 deaths, plus many more cases of respiratory disease. And the 11 million pollution machines continue to spew out toxins all over the world.

      The US Clean Air Act was passed in 1970 and emissions rules have been tightened several times since then. As a result, smog is now less of a problem in US cities. In Europe, on the other hand, manufacturers lobbied to get governments to promote diesel cars and loosen emission rules for them. As a consequence, UK and European cities still have a bad smog problem and many health problems from air pollution.

      A 2010 Prius emits .0015 g/km of NOx. The US maximum for cars and small trucks (SUVs) is .042 g/km and almost all (except VW/Audi) achieve that. The Euro 6 maximum for diesel cars is .08 g/km. A cheating VW/Audi emits .56 g/km or more. The EPA rules are very achievable. The Prius beats them by a factor of 28 and also emits less CO2 than a TDI.

      The Prius shows that the strict rules for both NOx and CO2 can be met with an affordable, practical car. VW chose to back the wrong technology with diesel and now has a product line that can barely be legally sold. It needs to keep adding expensive, problematic pollution control devices to its cars just to be able to scrape by the legal limits. Toyota hybrids, on the other hand, have been able to easily beat the limits for the last 15 years and are cheaper to own and far more reliable than VW diesels.

      The current leaders at VW group continue to believe that diesel is a good vehicle propulsion technology despite the fact that it is clearly the dirtiest one and has no place in new cars. They need to apologize properly for the deaths they have caused, renounce diesel and start building clean, reliable cars. They have done none of that. Throw the book at them with huge fines and jail time.

      1. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

        Re: Ludicrous lawsuit. No tangible injury.

        I don't understand.. Why are you comparing a hybrid petrol/electric with a simple diesel car?

        Surely the don't play in the same ballpark when it comes to affordability?

        1. PriusPete

          Re: Ludicrous lawsuit. No tangible injury.

          The fuel efficient technology from VW's biggest competitor is the gas-electric hybrid so I think the comparison is appropriate. Here in Canada, a Prius costs about $1000 more than an auto-shift Jetta TDI, but I calculate that over 11 years and 220,000 km a Prius would save about $7000 in fuel (@$1.20/l), $3500 in repairs (according to data on truedelta) and $900 in maintenance (since brakes last longer). The Prius has more passenger volume and a lot more cargo volume than a Jetta.

          You may think a hybrid is more complex but it actually has fewer moving parts due to its simple eCVT transmission and lack of a turbocharger. A Toyota hybrid is just like a regular gasoline car with a large starter motor, large generator and large battery. A diesel needs a complex emission control system with sensors and valves that can fail. With the Prius, Toyota uses reliable electric motors controlled by reliable electronics and computers. The batteries rarely fail during the expected life of the car.

          Volkswagens have been particularly unreliable. Site tradeinqualityindex has stats on power train issues in almost 1M US trade-ins. VW scores very poorly as do other German makes Mini, Smart, Audi, BMW. Even Mercedes scores worse than Chevrolet. Toyota, Lexus and Honda rule here. I analyzed its data on 34 compact/midsize cars from 14 manufacturing groups for model years from 2004 to 2010. For each model year, the Prius was among the 5 best, while VW models usually were among the worst.

          If you don't drive much, fuel efficiency is not too important and you can just get a cheap gas car. If you do expect to put over 150K km on the car before getting rid of it, you should consider a hybrid. No only will it save you money but it has much lower smog-causing emissions.

      2. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

        Re: Ludicrous lawsuit. No tangible injury.

        "MIT attributes 59 premature deaths in the US from the illegal extra emissions from VW/Audi diesel cars. Extrapolating to 22 times more of these cheaters globally gives about 1300 deaths"

        Wan't it "premature deaths"? (In your extrapolation, you seem to subtly change this.)

        What does that mean? Months were shaved off of old peoples lives?

        This is all silly. MILLIONS die decades prematurely due to the carb-lobby in the US. And before dying, they look like the Michelin man, which surely massively impacts on quality of life.

        So some perspective would be a good idea.

        1. PriusPete

          Re: Ludicrous lawsuit. No tangible injury.

          We all die eventually. The people most vulnerable to illness due to air pollution are the elderly and young children, as well as others with weakened respiratory systems. So, sure, some of those deaths were old people who would have died fairly soon, like maybe your grandma. There have been many studies on the health effect of vehicle emissions and they seem to use the term "premature death". I agree that obesity is also a health problem but I don't think that excuses VW for its serious environmental crime. I have some control over what I eat, but I can't help breathing city air with its diesel fumes.

      3. Bernd Felsche

        Re: Ludicrous lawsuit. No tangible injury.

        "MIT attributes 59 premature deaths in the US from the illegal extra emissions from VW/Audi diesel cars."

        But then; there could be as few as 10 people (out of a population of hundreds of millions) whose lives may be 10 years shorter; allegedly due to the (actually unknown) increment in VW emissions.

        And they worked it out using a sacred computer model. No measurements. No autopsies. No messing about doing anything in the real world; they plugged in a set of EXTREME VALUES obtained from a poorly documented other source (ICCT), added their own and EPA estimates. to produce the "results"; with a 95% confidence interval.

        "The team had developed GEOS-Chem as a way to provide “rapid response” to evolving policy conversations." i.e. a way of shutting down the conversation. As does "peer reviewed study"; often used to prop up bad science. 80% of peer-reviewed medical "science" is retracted because it's found to be wrong.

        Retrieving the MIT paper, it seems that VW's fix of the emissions controls would be creating new and wonderful live because, whereas the defeat device has a median estimate of 59 earlier deaths; the fix will avert a median of 130 early deaths. http://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.1088/1748-9326/10/11/114005/pdf It's in the abstract.

        The report concludes: 'Finally, we note that while the 18 September 2015 EPA letter to VW cites ozone exposure resulting from the excess NOx emissions as a concern, we find that 87% of deaths are due to fine particulate matter exposure, with 13% due to ozone."

        If you need to be told again about the hokey estimates of deaths from particulates("PM2.5 mortality impacts consistent with EPA practice."): http://junkscience.com/2016/01/how-stupid-is-air-pollution-science/

        It may surprise/distress some people to know that emissions limits aren't set even by gazing into a digital crystal ball. Nobody tries to WORK OUT how much may be emitted by a vehicle. Limits are set arbitrarily and poltically by the regulators with little if any consultation with engineers and people who understand the technology; nor with medical professionals actually skilled in the statistics of epidemiology to set specific air quality targets.

        They can't tell if tighter limits will have a social benefit. It doesn't seem to be case in the German cities that've banned "filthy cars".

        1. Aoyagi Aichou

          Re: Ludicrous lawsuit. No tangible injury.

          "They can't tell if tighter limits will have a social benefit. It doesn't seem to be case in the German cities that've banned "filthy cars"."

          You really don't know what you're talking about and you should stop embarrassing yourself. Ask people who live in Berlin what they think about the subject.

        2. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

          Re: Ludicrous lawsuit. No tangible injury.

          And meanwhile, while this farce is playing out, any grown up can buy and consume any amount of alcohol, and smoke any amount of tobacco. In the land of the free most can also buy semi-automatic firearms.

          Now, if we were to compare the number of people killed by drink drivers, or even cell phone distracted drivers, with those supposedly killed by VW NOX, I suggest that the former group would be several orders of magnitude larger than the latter.

      4. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

        Re: Ludicrous lawsuit. No tangible injury.

        "The current leaders at VW group continue to believe that diesel is a good vehicle propulsion technology despite the fact that it is clearly the dirtiest one and has no place in new cars. They need to apologize properly for the deaths they have caused, renounce diesel and start building clean, reliable cars."

        Just a wild guess here, but are you in the US?

        Here in Europe diesels are extremely common, and there is no question of wiping them out within the foreseeable future.

        Furthermore, I don't think the general person is very bothered about Volkswagen's current problems. Diesels in general are abundant, and so are Volkswagens.

        There are loads of older cars around with diesel engines, generating very large clouds of particles when they pull away. Not to mention heavy goods vehicles.

        We are used to the issue of diesel pollutants.

        Having said that, it is still a very minor issue in the grand scheme of things.

        CO2 is an issue of long term survival for us, on this planet, so lower fuel consumption must be foremost. Even if it means some hypothetical months lost at the end of our lives.

        Things like the allergy explosion is unlikely to have much to do with vehicle pollutants, given that emissions used to be much worse decades back. I would start by looking into what we eat instead. I know my issues went away when I stopped eating gluten (today's gluten is NOTHING like the 1960s gluten).

        1. 9Rune5

          Re: Ludicrous lawsuit. No tangible injury.

          "Here in Europe diesels are extremely common, and there is no question of wiping them out within the foreseeable future."

          In Oslo the politicians have for years now tried to figure out a way to ban ALL diesels from the city's roads during the winter season.

          I realize that being banned from driving in Norway's capital is not the same thing as "wiping them out", but I do not believe that other cities around Europe are not contemplating similar solutions. (Was it not Frankfurt that implemented a partial ban? Would they not look over their list twice now given the new information at hand?)

          What happened in Norway, roughly ten years ago, was that the CO2-scare caused the politians to favor low CO2-emission cars. FYI: Cars in Norway can easily cost twice as much as a comparable car in Sweden. In any case, the CO2 component in the import duties was increased and suddenly diesels looked much more attractive. They were already cheaper fuel wise, but were more expensive to purchase. Suddenly the picture changed and the less expensive diesels soon gained quite a following.

          ...which brings us to present day Oslo, with alarming levels of NO2 in the air during the winter time.

          Diesel is a completely meaningless fuel for most parts of Scandinavia. It takes a long time to heat the engine up to proper working temperature (we still have a cold climate...) and the roads in our larger cities are congested so they spend a lot of time spewing out their pollution. Their filters clog frequently (due to the low operating temperature) as well.

          I would also like to point out that one could view Saab Automobile's bankruptcy in the light of a company not willing to cheat such tests. Saab did not introduce the 9-4x with a diesel engine, because Saab's diesel engines were difficult to get certified for the NA market. And they did not bother equipping 9-3x diesels with AWD because of similar concerns (limited market because USA was off-limits diesel-wise). If only Saab had known that it was OK to cheat, they would have found it easier to survive in the marketplace. Heck, they could have saved a lot on collision testing and simply focused on passing the NCAP tests rather than improving all aspects of safety (higher speed impacts, strengthened A-pillars designed to withstand moose collisions, etc...). I.e.: Just build a prettier car than VW.

          Caveat emptor.

          1. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

            Re: Ludicrous lawsuit. No tangible injury.

            "Diesel is a completely meaningless fuel for most parts of Scandinavia. It takes a long time to heat the engine up to proper working temperature (we still have a cold climate...) and the roads in our larger cities are congested so they spend a lot of time spewing out their pollution. Their filters clog frequently (due to the low operating temperature) as well."

            I have to disagree, first, that the CO2 issue is a "scare".

            I agree that diesels make little sense on shortish commutes, and when likely stuck in traffic. Or when in a cold climate. Personally I never liked diesels' unrefined feel, apart from large Merc taxis. But now when petrol cars have come such a long way I doubt I'll ever get a diesel.

            On the plus-side diesels really announce their pollutants, so hitting the cabin air recirculate button is instant when behind one. Petrol pollutants may be sneakier?

            P.s: have an up vote, on account of defending SAAB, even though you probably down voted me ;-)

      5. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Dirty Diesel

        "The current leaders at VW group continue to believe that diesel is a good vehicle propulsion technology despite the fact that it is clearly the dirtiest one and has no place in new cars"

        This is only true if you consider that "Diesel" == "Refined Fossil Oil", which is false.

        Biodiesel is significantly cleaner than Petrol. Straight vegetable oil is just as good but presents additional engineering challenges to use as a fuel in its ordinary form. You don't necessarily need to use vege oil direct from the producer either - it makes a lot of sense to turn already used oil into fuel, because it works just as well and has the added benefit of stopping waste vege oil going to landfill, which it currently does in vast amounts.

        Fossil oil diesel by comparison is dirty crap, and should I agree, be phased out of modern transport. My suggestion for doing this is to simply increase taxation on the fossil oil based diesel, allowing Biodiesel to become a preferred alternative naturally.

        1. PriusPete

          Re: Dirty Diesel

          The high temperatures and pressures at which combustion occurs in a diesel engine cause a lot of nitrogen oxides to form, even if you burn vegetable oil or biodiesel. I think that biodiesel is considered preferable to fossil fuel from the climate change point of view since the carbon has been captured recently on a farmer's field rather than in a dinosaur's backyard. From the NOx and PM point of view, I don't think there is much difference, but correct me if I'm wrong Most people just use fossil diesel fuel anyway.

        2. JLV

          >Biodiesel is significantly cleaner than Petrol. Straight vegetable oil is just as good

          Recycling cooking oil is fine as a way to power some vehicles, but please do the math.

          I refill my (petrol/gas) car about every 4 weeks, with a 40 liter top up on average. Do you really really think that the average persons eats anywhere near the amount of chips per month to generate 40 liters of gas-equivalent recycled biodiesel? Even the Spanish, who advocate a rather heroic use of olive oil, would find it hard to have that much cooking oil around. Your idea just doesn't scale up to most vehicles.

          As far as taking vegetable oil straight from production (once you ran out of cooking oil to recycle), you still have to grow the stuff. Which takes ample land, fertilizers and energy. If the process is anything like our glorious ethanol endeavors the main thing that would achieve is more $ to the lucky farmers and higher food prices, rather than any CO2 reduction.

          Global warming may be an issue, but, by themselves, good intentions and wishful thinking around romantic ideas aren't a solution. You need to get something that makes sense economically (even assuming increased carbon taxes) and that can be scaled up.

          1. Bernd Felsche

            Re: >Biodiesel is significantly cleaner than Petrol. Straight vegetable oil is just as good

            Biodiesel cannot be used in modern diesel engines because if lacks the lubricity required for the high pressure injection systems. Why does nobody RTFM?

            As to scalability, here's something that I wrote earlier: https://contrary2belief.wordpress.com/2012/04/02/deep-fried-qantas/

    6. Graham Bartlett

      Re: Ludicrous lawsuit. No tangible injury.

      You clearly don't understand the situation. Of course emissions are different on an actual road. The situation for VW is that the testers could run *THE SAME SCENARIO* on a rolling road with slightly different entry conditions, and get radically different results. In other words, the ECU was specifically looking for conditions which matched the start of a test cycle and modifying its behaviour *only* during the test cycle. And that's called a defeat device.

      VW didn't object to the standards. It simply didn't try to meet them, instead relying on faking its tests.

      I don't believe people directly suffered from this, either. The regs those engines *did* meet are still pretty damn clean. However then you're in the situation of arguing that laws aren't valid unless you can show the crime directly hurt someone, and that's a very slippery slope. (You certainly can prove indirect hurt to the employees of other manufacturers who weren't competing on an equal basis.)

      As far as penalties go, this is an enormous multinational corporation. The only penalty possible is financial, and the only way to make corporations follow the law is to make the penalty hurt. The Ford Pinto situation of a manufacturer coldly deciding that it was cheaper to pay compensation for deaths/injuries than to fix the problem was the classic case which no-one wants repeating.

      1. Bronek Kozicki

        Re: Ludicrous lawsuit. No tangible injury.

        @Bernd Felsche

        If you still do not understand, here is something to help you out : move, with the family, preferably also including young children, from wherever it is you live now to London. Where air quality is permanently in breach of standards, mostly due to diesel air pollution. After you have lived there some 10 years, try to asses the impact that air pollution has made on your health. It is unlikely that you or anyone in your family will have died because of that experience, but it has been proven that their health will very likely suffer nevertheless. For example, you may find yourself developing asthma. Or more frequently (than previously) falling to infections of upper respiratory tract. It is understood that the major contributor to these are molecules of nitrogen oxide and solid particles : both are by-products of diesel engines.

        I have no doubt that, once you have experienced what many of us (readers living in London) experience every day, your stance would have changed.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Unhappy

          Re: Ludicrous lawsuit. No tangible injury.

          > I have no doubt that, once you have experienced what many of us (readers living in London) experience every day, your stance would have changed.

          Indeed, having lived in London for a few years past, I am familiar with the phenomenon of having black snot when blowing my nose. It aint great.

        2. Bernd Felsche

          Re: Ludicrous lawsuit. No tangible injury.

          @ Bronek Kozicki

          I understood. Years ago. The fact that you don't agree with me doesn't mean that I don't understand.

          The few times that I've visited London, the air was pretty clean. That was when traffic flowed freely and there was no congestion charge. (1997 and 1999). Then, to create a need for a congestion charge, Red Ken and others dedicated the roads to the dirty diesel buses and dirty diesel taxis; then de-synchronised the traffic lights, just to make sure that traffic would be stopped.

          Poor air quality, engineered by nincompoop do-gooders is one of the least of reasons why I would never move to London. As an Australian, I'd be unwelcome and immediately suspected of stealing British jobs. I've had "the lecture" at Eefrow a couple of times where they didn't even have the courtesy to respond to my "Good Morning" in kind. Add to that that I'd be paying virtually a million bucks in rent for a dog-box above a "restaurant" that's probably cooking stray cats and dogs at 3 in the morning …

          1. x 7

            Re: Ludicrous lawsuit. No tangible injury.

            "As an Australian, I'd be unwelcome and immediately suspected of stealing British jobs. I've had "the lecture" at Eefrow a couple of times where they didn't even have the courtesy to respond to my "Good Morning" in kind. Add to that that I'd be paying virtually a million bucks in rent for a dog-box above a "restaurant" that's probably cooking stray cats and dogs at 3 in the morning …"

            the above only applies if you act like a half-wit and only live in Earls Court

            Get out on London and see the rest of the country. Views differ markedly. There are two types of Ozzies in the UK - those who come here to enjoy the place, and those who spend the entire visit getting pissed every night in the Prince of Tek. Which are you?

            1. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

              Re: Ludicrous lawsuit. No tangible injury.

              "There are two types of Ozzies in the UK - those who come here to enjoy the place, and those who spend the entire visit getting pissed every night in the Prince of Tek."

              Are you quite sure there aren't any more types?

      2. werdsmith Silver badge

        Re: Ford Pinto

        Ford Pinto was eventually shown to be no more dangerous than other contemporary car designs, and in may cases it was safer - whilst having similar engineering choices it had statistically less incidents per car sold than other cars.

        1. This post has been deleted by its author

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Ford Pinto

          Sorry Dude, Ford employee here...

          We were mega fined not for the safety failing, but for the fact we decided to let the risk through based on the financial impact of paying off the incinerated customer's relatives being cheaper than fixing the issue. Our internal email system clearly showed the corporate attitude that was then prevalent.

          We did VERY wrong, have paid, and learned. We now test fuel tanks at 150% legal speed requirements... Believe it or not, we also now have serious ethical controls within the company for reporting anything deemed "Dodgy"

          Once burnt, no pun intended, twice shy.

        3. Captain Queeg

          Re: Ford Pinto

          Maybe so, but the events were pretty catastrophic for those impacted.

          I think we forget at times that back in the 60s occupants of cars stood a strong statistical chance of serious injury or death as a result of impacts of sub 20 mph.

          The Pinto case, painful as it was for the victims and later for Ford, was a catalyst to reform of the business model around building/selling cars.

          The VW cheat shows some striking parallels with the Pinto - and the lessons probably need to be learned in the same way. The only difference is that the effects of the VW issue are much more subtle and have a far longer, slower effect that those of the Pinto fires.

          Of course that depends on society considering a number of cancers 20 years hence to be as worthy of action as a number of 3rd degree burns suffered today.

      3. Bernd Felsche
        Childcatcher

        Re: Ludicrous lawsuit. No tangible injury.

        "However then you're in the situation of arguing that laws aren't valid unless you can show the crime directly hurt someone, and that's a very slippery slope."

        I did not and do not seek to excuse the violation of regulation.

        There are already penalty provisions per vehicle without the necessity of a law suit. The statutory fine is up to $3750 per vehicle; in addition to making every vehicle actually comply with the rules.

        When King Ælfred of Wessex laid down the Domboc, he defined a consistent penalty for each type of offence. This meant the end of arbitrary, sometimes vindictive penalties of what was to become Great Britain. It's the Rule of Law.

        "Slippery slope" is btw a logical fallacy.

        If there is no physical evidence required for prosecution; simply an allegation of a possibility of harm in the indefinite future, then you've built yourself a happy tyranny.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Ludicrous lawsuit. No tangible injury.

          If there is no physical evidence required for prosecution; simply an allegation of a possibility of harm in the indefinite future, then you've built yourself a happy tyranny.

          Welcome to the EU, sunshine.

          Hold on, wasn't the whole EU superstate your lot's big clever idea?

          1. Bernd Felsche

            Re: Ludicrous lawsuit. No tangible injury.

            @Ledswinger

            "Hold on, wasn't the whole EU superstate your lot's big clever idea?"

            My lot? You can't blame that on Australians!

            You have only yourselves to blame for permitting the tyrannies to blossom around you. Ask the government to do more for you and it will take more, including freedom.

        2. Captain Queeg

          Re: Ludicrous lawsuit. No tangible injury. @Bernd

          You know Bernd, it's good you're arguing the case here.

          Reading your posts I'm moving towards the opinion that every hour you spend arguing here is an hour you don't get to spend screwing Polo's together. ;-)

          1. Bernd Felsche
            Facepalm

            Re: Ludicrous lawsuit. No tangible injury. @Bernd

            If you'd done any research, you'd have discovered that the following are the only times that I've been "intimate" with a VW Polo.

            http://members.iinet.net.au/~felsche/Bernd/travels/1997/EuroPolo/EuroPolo.html

            http://members.iinet.net.au/~felsche/Bernd/tests/AussiePolo/AussiePolo.html

            http://members.iinet.net.au/~felsche/Bernd/tests/AutoPolo/AutoPolo.html

            http://members.iinet.net.au/~felsche/Bernd/tests/Polo6R3.html

            But then it seems easier for you to enjoy your prejudice and have an opinion without any rational basis.

  5. Turtle

    @Richard Chirgwin

    "Bootnote: Take a bow, anonymous El Reg commentard from September 2015, who predicted that catalytic converters will be needed."

    Richard Chirgwin should also take a bow for going back and reading the comments and so finding the catalytic converter prediction.

    1. Nifty

      Re: @Richard Chirgwin

      The Reg comment threads on the VW Dieselgate topic are epic and many different guesses made at the eventual solution.

      Is not something like the "weak anthropic principle" to retrospectively single out correct past predictions as 'spookily accurate'?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: @Richard Chirgwin

        You are right, of course.

        But it doesn't cost much to praise the poster, and create just a little positivity in this hard world.

        Even if it is shockingly undeserved positivity. ;-)

  6. Crafty volt 7

    Tits on a bull

    Neither the EPA or VAG have the credibility or the required competence to adjudicate or decide if this fix is sane or reasonable .

    The one cheats and the other behaves like a retarded bush pig high from sniffing too much bostick glue.

    Why don't we leave the engineering verdict to the University folks at Bern in Switzerland?

    Based on the unbelievable industry "self governing" expectation from the EPA, we have been left in no doubt whatsoever that they are graced with the collective IQ of a couple of dead ferrets.

  7. graeme leggett Silver badge

    some EPA hate -what gives

    Is it generally reviled in the US?

    1. Mark 85

      Re: some EPA hate -what gives

      Uh... yeah. They've some totally stupid rulings over the years and then there's that matter of the mine tailings in Colorado, I believe. The sense is that the EPA is staffed, managed, and controlled by extremist greens. I should add that they have contributed massively to shutting down quite a few industries that might still be viable if weren't for their setting standards beyond the achievable.

      I'll get downvoted but that's the perception of a lot of folks.

      1. Bernd Felsche

        Re: some EPA hate -what gives

        Their duplicity was underscored by the fact that nobody was punished for the spill.

        Where actual injury took place to the environment.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: some EPA hate -what gives

          I presume this is the incident in question https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2015_Gold_King_Mine_waste_water_spill

          From my distant viewpoint, looks like an accident in the course of trying to clean up after abandoned industry. Of course it probably looked very different close up.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: some EPA hate -what gives

            Sure, it was an accident. But looks like it was an accident caused by massive incompetence and lack of forethought:

            http://www.denverpost.com/news/ci_29008075/gold-king-review-epa-did-not-understand-disaster

            so it seems right to hate EPA for it.

            1. Nunyabiznes

              Re: some EPA hate -what gives

              And if an industry-contracted entity had done the same there would have been massive fines and quite possibly jail time for the offender.

              Since it was a government contractor/employee - no harm no foul.

              The Environmental Protection ACT was a noble idea that was subverted by bureaucracy. The Environmental Protection Agency is a bunch of hacks and idealists with no oversight and very little expertise/experience outside of an /indoctrination/ educational ivory tower.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: some EPA hate -what gives

                Presumably the industry responsible or the mine owner weren't going to clear it up?

  8. Peter Gordon

    There was a fascinating talk about dieselgate

    at 32c3:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xZSU1FPDiao

    1. Bernd Felsche
      Boffin

      Re: There was a fascinating talk about dieselgate

      This analysis referred to one vehicle only; one which had been "chipped" for performance by an after-market performance tuning company. Nevertheless, the researcher considered that that would have no effect on emissions. (It's on one of the presentation slides.)

      Further, it analyses a VW Sharan; not marketed under any brand in the USA and already equipped with a selective reduction catalyst.

      The cost of such a sub-system is not insignificant. There's not just a catalyst, but also a reservoir, pump and heater for the reduction agent, and an exhaust gas sensor to minimise ammonia slip from injecting too much reduction agent. The heater is essential because the reduction agent; urea solution in water, freezes at about -15°C and the engine isn't "allowed" to be operated until the reduction agent can flow. Sensors, etc are hooked back to the engine management system and to the instrument panel. The cost of this sub-system is of the order of a third of the cost of the "entry level" diesel VWs and is therefore deployed on up-market models; which also have bigger and more powerful engines.

      The test-cycle detection results in the selective reduction agent being used to its full potential. On the road, the engine management system conserves reduction agent. It's expensive stuff if you buy it at a VW Pharmacy. (Very much cheaper from heavy vehicle maintenance depots; but you need to get a nozzle to fit.)

      VW's advertised fix for the diesel engines in Germany is reprogramming of the 2-litre units and a small change to the intake ahead of the air flow meter in addition to re-programming on the 1.6-litre engines.

      The fix for Australia, where the cars don't have to meet Euro 6 (yet) and only the 2.0-litre engines are imported, is a reprogramming to remove the defeat device.

      1. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

        Re: There was a fascinating talk about dieselgate

        "The heater is essential because the reduction agent; urea solution in water, freezes at about -15°C and the engine isn't "allowed" to be operated until the reduction agent can flow. "

        These sort of bureaucratic pettiness holds back development. A simpler system that allows poor emissions performance at idle for, say, 60 seconds, or higher revs for a shorter time, would be better as it would allow it to be implemented at lower cost on more vehicles.

        Well, that's my guess anyway.

        "On the road, the engine management system conserves reduction agent. It's expensive stuff if you buy it at a VW Pharmacy."

        Who would have thought that what is essentially piss would be expensive?

      2. MJI Silver badge

        Re: There was a fascinating talk about dieselgate

        It is NOT a device it is an alternate operating mode.

        This urea injection rules though have the potential to cause massive harm by immobilising cars when they may be needed.

        I would not buy one without getting the firmware modified to allow operation if it ran out of urea, what happens if you ran out miles from anywhere say touring the world and non was available, or the sensor malfunctioned?

        Looks like I will be staying with my 2003 4x4 for many years as even that companies cars are not trustable on expeditions now.

        To be honest now driving is no longer a pleasure in the modern world

        1. Nifty

          Re: There was a fascinating talk about dieselgate

          Nah, could never happen in real life.

          Oh wait a mo, a few days ago...

          http://www.thelocal.de/20160104/cold-weather-hobbles-13-of-berlin-police-cars

  9. The Quiet One

    Serves them right for buying a diesel, filthy disease spewing heaps.

    Ban them entirely for passenger cars and make it a commercial vehicle fuel only for use in lorries, buses. etc. All Diesel owners should be given a limited time offer of scrappage on existing diesel cars only if they exchange to a hybrid, petrol or electric car. After 10 years, anyone still driving a diesel should have to pay tax per mile and have real time monitoring of emissions fitted with prison sentences for breaching strict limits.The sooner we are rid of that filthy stuff, the better off we'll be.

    As for VW, hang them out to dry for all I care. They make boring cars for boring people who care about fuel economy and resale value more than the joy of motoring. Before you all flame me with the "some people have to buy diesel as it's cheaper" argument. Let's face facts, if they were worried about money they wouldn't buy a brand new VW diesel, they are hardly the cheapest brand on sale (well, for now).

    Diesel owners are either idiots who think diesel is "well fast innit, TDI Pooooower bruv - roooooooooooneeeeeey" because it has a turbo or middle management types who want a grey car for they grey little lives the kind of person who has no knowledge of cars whatsoever and just got what the man in the shop said was best (and better commission for him thanks to the premium price, plus more expensive services for the company).

    1. Voland's right hand Silver badge

      Which cave did they dig you out from?

      1. In order to comply with most recent raft of fuel efficiency regs 50%+ petrol cars in Eu are getting a Turbo on their 2017 models. There are probably 25%+ already in 2016 as the transition has already started. So "TDI Pooooooooower bruv" is coming to a Petrol near you. It is already there for Ford, Hyundai and a few others, the laggards (ones waving French banners and trying to negotiate at CEO level with the Eu commission) will join do they like it or not.

      2. It is the car job to be "grey" and "boring" for most of us. It is a vehicle. It gets you from point A to point B and it should do it within a reasonable cost envelope. If you need it for flash purposes, erectile dysfunction compensation meds are cheaper.

      3. As far as flithy disease spewing heap - there is no practical difference in exhaust between a modern Euro 5 or higher diesel and petrol in particulates. The difference in NO2 is also dropping, but for another reason. The more efficient a Petrol engine, the higher NO2 output. In fact the leanest possible burn in an ignition unit - Petrol converted to LPG + Turbo will spew as much NO2 as a diesel. Sure pre-Euro-4 diesels with non-functional particulate filters should be taken off the road. However so should be all the oil burning prehistoric Petrols (especially the "non-boring" erectile dysfunction compensator variety).

      The only thing I agree with you is on hanging VW dry for all that we care. However it is not for making "cars for boring people" (drive a Seat Leon or one of the high spec Ibizas on a mountain road on one of the outer Canaries or in the Alps to see why). It is for giving their Brand Development marketing filth chief head honcho a position equivalent or higher to director of engineering on their board of directors and for replacing engineering with fraud (aka marketing).

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Re: Which cave did they dig you out from?

        Surely the point about petrol vs diesel is that petrol engines naturally produce much less in the way of particulates. This makes it much easier to use a cat to remove the NOx. Euro VI Diesels need a particle filter with a burnoff régime, and even so may clog up. Carbon particles getting into the standard cat will eventually stop it working.

        A car running on LNG will produce a lot more NOx but the exhaust is otherwise quite clean and so the cat only needs to split the NOx. There isn't any sulfur to worry about, and in a lean burn engine CO is also low.

        I agree that old engines should be taken off the road.

        But I also believe that the amount of the fines being talked about by the US is grossly excessive and is intended to break up VW and remove a major competitor to the US car companies. It's pure protectionism. Look at how the enormous natural gas leak on the West Coast is being studiously ignored because it's a US company that is responsible, and the long Apple vs Samsung saga.

        1. PriusPete

          Re: Which cave did they dig you out from?

          VW group is a huge rich corporation that has been buying other companies in the last few years. It might have to sell Bentley or Skoda but it will survive. The punishment must be large to provide a deterrent. Ideally executives should go to jail. VW market share in the US was pretty negligible anyway so US makers won't benefit that much. As breathing people, we should hope for strong air pollution laws with teeth that are enforced. Throw the book at VW.

        2. techulture

          Re: Which cave did they dig you out from?

          Unfortunately lean petrol engines (GDI, gasoline direct injection, also FSI) need particulate filters as well.

          http://www.theicct.org/controlling-gdi-particulate-emissions

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Which cave did they dig you out from?

            "Unfortunately lean petrol engines (GDI, gasoline direct injection, also FSI) need particulate filters as well."

            Perhaps you could have actually read that paper you cited?

            "What is needed is simply a particulate emission standard for gasoline engines. Which EPA is aware of and has incorporated into the Tier 3 emission standards that will take effect starting in 2017. This will cause engineers to optimize the fuel injection spray pattern and combustion chamber, which should lead to large reductions in particulate emissions from GDI engines.

            And if this isn't enough, then manufacturers can add a small particulate trap. Particulate traps work a lot better on gasoline engines than on diesel engines because gasoline exhaust temperatures are a lot higher, eliminating the need for a regeneration system to remove stored particulates. In addition, even GDI creates a lot less particulate matter than a diesel does"

            The paper is saying that GDI engines produce particulates because when they were designed nobody was worried about them because the levels were small; but it is likely that they can be reduced below Tier 3 by minor engine redesigns, and if not a simple trap can be added that does not need regen, and will therefore cost only between £30 and £60. Which is rather different from your inaccurate gloss.

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Which cave did they dig you out from?

          But I also believe that the amount of the fines being talked about by the US is grossly excessive and is intended to break up VW and remove a major competitor to the US car companies.

          Close but no cigar. It is to remove diesel as an option on USA market regardless of source.

          Diesel is by its nature more economical. In addition to that diesel can run on fuels of biological origin which have nothing to do with corn.

          As a result both the petrol lobby and the corn farmer lobby have been spending a vast amount of money to revert its inroads (mostly driven by foreign companies) into the USA market. If you trace the campaign financing of the people who have been instrumental in pushing the various local derivatives of the clean air act you will always come across the same combination of petrol and corn and corn and petrol even instates which have very little of these industries like for example California and New York.

          The amount of fines is about forcing petrol + hybrid + bioethanol as the only options for fuel efficiency and environmental impact reduction and thus protecting the interest of the two biggest and most politically active industrial lobbies in the USA. It is not about reducing competition to the moribund USA car industry.

          1. Bronek Kozicki

            Re: Which cave did they dig you out from?

            I was buying car last year and wanted turbo-petrol engine. Unfortunately, these were not available and the wait times was in weeks. This is because government meddling with tax based on CO2 emission skewed market significantly in favour of diesel.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Which cave did they dig you out from?

              "Unfortunately, these were not available and the wait times was in weeks."

              Oh, my!

              Who could possibly wait several weeks when buying a car? ;-)

              1. Wommit

                Re: Which cave did they dig you out from?

                "Who could possibly wait several weeks when buying a car? ;-)"

                Depends on whether you need a car or not.

        4. Yugguy

          "As for VW, hang them out to dry for all I care"

          You're definitely in the running for the most moronic comment of 2016.

          How many people does VW employ directly? How many people are employed in side industries? How many people are employed in VW dealerships? How many people are employed in independent VAG specialist garages? Etc.

          ALL these people and their families would be screwed if the VAG group folded, or even it withdrew from the US market.

          Pillock.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: "As for VW, hang them out to dry for all I care"

            Unfortunately millions have already been negatively impacted by the insane actions of the U.S. EPA and their threats of up to $21 Billion in fines for what amounts to a trivial exhaust emissions violation. This insanity by the EPA has motivated over 400 class action lawsuits in the U.S.A. for a trivial exhaust violation. I'm all for punishing the perps but the EPA's actions have actually damaged jobs for millions.

            VW eliminated their third shift at their engine plant in Salzgitter, Germany two weeks after the EPA went postal. VW employs ~650K people. Of those people ~50 people are believed to have conspired to install improper software in the EA189 series Diesel engines. Why would the EPA chose to punish millions of innocent employees, car owners, stock holders, new vehicle dealerships, vendor suppliers to VW, etc.? The fact is the EPA has already done monumental damage to all of these entities with their malicious attack on VW. Stock holders have lost ~25% through no fault of their own or even of VW management. Why is it that no other country in the world has threated VW with billion dollar fines over a trivial exhaust emissions violation? Why not punish the perps instead of punishing innocent victims? A software upgrade and a $11 part will fix all VW EA189 series Diesel engines so that they comply with all emissions regulations.

            For those who don't know the EPA is viewed by many in the U.S. as an out of control, over zealous, highly political regime who wants the world to become 100% green overnight and destroying companies and industries to achieve this goal is their agenda. President Obama has been a conspirator with the EPA to promote what they believe is "green tech" in electric vehicles. As such Obama requested that the EPA draft new lower Diesel exhaust emissions requirements (the most stringent in the world), to force car makers to increase the price of clean Diesel passenger vehicles so Obama and friends could promote excessively expensive EV's and give EV buyer's $7,500 tax credits. Anyone who does their homework will find that the EPA is crucifying VW because they want to stop the sale of all clean Diesel's in the U.S.

        5. KarateMonkey

          Re: Which cave did they dig you out from?

          "Surely the point about petrol vs diesel is that petrol engines naturally produce much less in the way of particulates."

          ...Conveniently ignoring that petrol engines emit toxic crap such as Benzine, which is one of the compounds which replaced lead in petrol whose purpose is to prevent damage to the valves.

          Lets get this straight, petrol is NOT a 'clean' fuel either. Just slightly less filthy than fossil diesel.

          "I agree that old engines should be taken off the road."

          NO. In actual fact, its the OLDER engines which run better on biodiesel. See my previous comment about taxing the subtypes of fuel appropriately to bring about reduction in fossil diesel consumption.

          1. MJI Silver badge

            Re: Which cave did they dig you out from?

            LPG cars are cleanest.

            By a long long way.

            But I could not find a decent V8 to conevrt

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Which cave did they dig you out from?

            @KarateMonkey

            "...Conveniently ignoring that petrol engines emit toxic crap such as Benzine, which is one of the compounds which replaced lead in petrol whose purpose is to prevent damage to the valves."

            I guess you mean benzene. You're writing bollocks.

            See paper

            "Lets get this straight, petrol is NOT a 'clean' fuel either. Just slightly less filthy than fossil diesel."

            I don't agree with the "slightly", I'm afraid, but in any case I was writing about the ease of cleaning up the tailpipe, not the fuel, and I specifically mentioned LNG as being a fuel which is easy to clean up at the tailpipe.

            "NO. In actual fact, its the OLDER engines which run better on biodiesel. See my previous comment about taxing the subtypes of fuel appropriately to bring about reduction in fossil diesel consumption."

            There are technical reason for that, but I was writing about particulate emissions and biodiesel produces lots of them. Biodiesel is going to be just as hard to clean up at the tailpipe as the fossil stuff; you are still burning medium chain hydrocarbons with high flashpoints in a pot with relatively cold metal walls and then releasing them with a sudden temperature drop caused by the expansion, reducing the rate of subsequent burning.

            The inability to spell benzene and your lack of understanding of the CI versus the SI combustion processes suggests that you are posting because you have a biofuel agenda, not because you actually understand the chemistry and thermodynamics of heat engines. I've almost given up arguing with Green Party members because not one of them seems actually to understand the science; the only real achievement of the Greens recently seems to have been to return a Conservative Government, thus ensuring they won't be listened to till 2020 when they can rinse and repeat.

            1. Vic

              Re: Which cave did they dig you out from?

              The inability to spell benzene

              "Benzine" is a perfectly acceptable spelling this side of the Atlantic...

              Vic.

        6. Tridac

          Re: Which cave did they dig you out from?

          Well what do you expect from the US these days ?. Just look at the sort of dictatorial eco fascists running the EPA to get an idea what the agenda is. While i'm all in favour of reducing pollution, regs should be realistic to avoid increasing costs for everyone. Modern vehicles are a very good compromise between cost, efficiency, drivability and emissions, but it's still an engineering devil's bargain. Sounds to me like the US is trying to sink VW. The usual underhand protectionism tactics because VW are and have been very successful in the US for decades. I smell scapegoat, but at least it's given all the other manufacturers time to take similar hacks out of their own ecu code ^-).

          A friend of mine who used to help me with engine rebuilds on my old cars, worked for a auto consultancy in the uk, before moving to China to run an engine test lab. He tells me that all manufacturers have been gaming the standards system for decades. It's seen as something of a challenge, with the industry seeing how far they can push the envelope without falling foul of the regs. They are all at it, since it's not possible to satisfy unrealistic requirements without adding cost or affecting stuff like drivability. The ecu sfotware may be designed to meet standards requirement testing, but it''s not the same as on the road conditions and driving styles, which can range from cold starts, crawling through city traffic, to open road. where you need power for overtaking. If you really could to test for all that, I doubt if any vehicles would pass muster unless the engine were strangled completely. In the EU, the regs are negotiated with the manufacturers, who have quite a bit of input to the process on the basis of how much benefit is achievable vs cost and vehicle performance. In essence, it's done on a best effort, what's possible with current or emerging technology.basis. The standards become more onerous on a rolling basis, but there are no scientific absolutes in benefit terms, just ongoing efforts to improve efficiency and reduce polution. However, all this will be irerelevant in a couple of decades, as the world will be electric by that time.

          Anyway, Storm in a teacup. VW were dumb enough to admit to the "feature", but unless the EPA had access to the ecu source code and design docs, how could they prove anything ?...

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Which cave did they dig you out from?

        SAAB got this right almost 40 years ago.

        Shame the were royally screwdrivered by their inept owners.

      3. swampdog
        Joke

        Re: Which cave did they dig you out from?

        I'll defend your right to say anything you want..

        "If you need it for flash purposes, erectile dysfunction compensation meds are cheaper."

        ..right up until the moment you slag off my motorbike. It's a darned sight cheaper to get to 200mph on that than it is any one else's missis. Only costs a couple of gallons of fuel. I challenge you to bed any woman for £15.

        "However so should be all the oil burning prehistoric Petrols (especially the "non-boring" erectile dysfunction compensator variety)."

        Now you're on about my two-stroke. What's wrong with a YM350LC? Think about it. Those bikes (actually the 250cc version) were responsible for you getting a shag. Less males.

        All hail to to the Yamaha 250 Liquid Cool'd :-)

        1. x 7

          Re: Which cave did they dig you out from?

          "I challenge you to bed any woman for £15"

          but I really don't fancy shagging an exhaust pipe..........hate to think what all those tars and particulates would do under the foreskin

      4. Aoyagi Aichou

        Re: Which cave did they dig you out from?

        "there is no practical difference in exhaust between a modern Euro 5 or higher diesel and petrol in particulates."

        Firstly, particulates are only one aspect. Secondly, there is "no practical difference" only according to the same tests that were fooled by VAG's software, right? Right.

    2. robin maddison
      WTF?

      why did I buy a diesel?

      Well, lets see, . No electric ignition system to go wrong. good mileage

      bust proof engine(maybe) less likely to die in a fireball in a crash, lots of them about around the world so must be good? Oh, and I was guided there by the Government......!

      1. MJI Silver badge

        Re: why did I buy a diesel?

        Because 95% of the car I was after (in the UK) have them fitted.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: why did I buy a diesel?

        why did I buy a diesel? Well, lets see, . No electric ignition system to go wrong.

        IS that so? I take it you're driving a 1967 Landy 110?

        Most modern-ish diesels are infested with dubiously reliable electrics: A complex ECU and multiple sensors (usually linked in to an immobiliser), plus a turbocharger & intercoooler, a high pressure common rail injection system, high tolerance injectors and injector control systems, and on more recent cars a particulate filter (needing yet another sensor and ECU circuit).

        I've currently got a Nissan X Trail diesel on its last legs not because the engine or drivetrain are worn out at 150k miles, but simply because of electrical gremlins that prevent it starting reliably. Even if my garage could diagnose the failure (which they can't), we'd probably be looking at a four figure sum for the requisite parts. And given they can't diagnose it, I'm unwilling to start the serial replacement of parts in the hope that we eventually find the culprit.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: why did I buy a diesel?

          Shoulda bought a Hilux mate.

          My 93 Hilux surf is going strong - and runs happily on clean-ish Biodiesel. The only time I've ever had a problem with the electrics is the one time a bunch of water made it into the cab and shorted one of the subsystems on the ECU board ... but that's not from normal on road driving mind.

        2. Vic

          Re: why did I buy a diesel?

          And given they can't diagnose it, I'm unwilling to start the serial replacement of parts in the hope that we eventually find the culprit.

          It'll be interconnect. It's always interconnect.

          Vic.

        3. MJI Silver badge

          Re: why did I buy a diesel?

          1967 would be a 109 and yes they could be compressed air started and ran without eletrics

          110 well the TDI200 can be ran without electrics if you pull the stop valve.

          Later engines are more dependant on electrics. The latest Trannie engine too much, so that some buyers will look for late 300s or late TD5s.

          That 5 cylinder lump though - what an engine.

          Now my Discovery has ECUs but the engine only needs 1 and the only essential input is the crank position sensor. Now safe to expedition if you take a spare CPS and injector loom.

        4. Tridac

          Re: why did I buy a diesel?

          You would never want to own one of the old 60's diesel Landy's, unless you want to be shaken to bits, not to mention the complete lack of forward progress. Old petrol ones are great though and have owned two in the past. Currently on a 3.0 td Isuzu, after 7 years with one of the old 3.1 models, which had mechanical injection and 340k on it when sold. The 3.0 is common rail, ecu and sensors in every orifice. Had a serious starting problem at one point, which turned out to be the rail pressure sensor.. The local Isuzu dealer charged me an hour's labour, but could not diagnose it with their own Tech II. Completely incompetent. I bought a Chinese Tech II copy on Ebay, which found it in minutes To me, the engine is the heart and soul of a vehicle and that 3.00, despite the reputation, really is magnifiicent. 4 Cyl 3.0 litre, balancer shaft smooth and the most torquey and flexible engine i've ever driven. Well over 30 mpg on a run as well, which is good enough. For what I use it for, could probably get the same result with a small van or large estate, but no better economy and far less towing ability. It earns it's keep, so what;s not to like ?...

          1. MJI Silver badge

            Re: why did I buy a diesel? (Tridca)

            Over the years I have been in or driven quite a few LR products.So have had experience of quite a few of their lumps

            Yes driven series petrol and Diesel, slow is the word. I would get petrol and a mild tune. But the petrol was quite smooth.

            Been in Rover V8 engined products, much better. Carb 3.5 and injection 4.0

            Been in TDI as well, pretty good compared to series.

            Trannie TDCI rough engine, torquey, but no, too many things to go wrong and far inferior to the previous 2 engines.

            TD5 Nicest Diesel apart from the V6 and V8 lumps they now use in Discovery and Range Rover. Has a top end as well as bottem end torque.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: why did I buy a diesel?

            When your dealer can't diagnose it with the tech, find the local garage that has the better tech. Ie has paid for all the requisite discs/data from manufacturer.

            Found that garage I visited, basically family run with a couple of ramps, was where the local branded dealerships took the cars they couldn't diagnose.

            The downside to this business from the dealers was that he was the one handing out the terminal prognosis to car owners. "yes, the ECU is [broken], uneconomical to repair." isn't going to put smile on face of proud owner of 4 yr old car.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      All Diesel owners should be given a limited time offer of scrappage on existing diesel cars only if they exchange to a hybrid, petrol or electric car. After 10 years, anyone still driving a diesel should have to pay tax per mile and have real time monitoring of emissions fitted with prison sentences for breaching strict limits.

      An alternative solution would be to educate the idiots who make the tax rules that make diesels so attractive. When I changed my car I wanted a certain level of power & torque. The diesel version gave me that for a certain price, the petrol equivalent came with a 2000 euro extra tax bill because of slightly higher CO2 output, and continuing higher fuel bills because petrol carries higher pump taxes. I'd have preferred the petrol, but simple economics led me to choose the diesel.

      1. MJI Silver badge

        AS well as the 95%

        I also have the petrol struggles to hit 20mpg and Diesel does around 30mpg

        And yes my first ever Diesel car just as they start a crack down.

    4. swampdog
      Alert

      VW floats catalytic converter as fix for fibbing diesels

      @ The Quiet One

      "Serves them right for buying a diesel, filthy disease spewing heaps."

      Wow. What a lot of down votes! Methinks lots of people got sucked into buying one. They hate you. Well now they can hate us both.

      Folks. Let's get one thing straight. You are conned. 35 years ago my 850cc mini would do 50+ to the gallon. My limited edition Vauxhall Firenza would do 25 when I booted it, 35 else. My current car does 35-40 on a long run, less than 20mpg round town. My last motorbike would do 40mpg even when I was being silly (ie: 100mph in 3rd gear), 60mpg else.

      I've owned numerous vans. All diesel. They could all pull 3 or 4 tonnes for a consistent 35 or so mpg. They'd pretty much do the same mpg, full or empty. Keep them low revving. Big motor. If you can't pull away on level ground in 3rd gear you haven't got a proper diesel.

      What you have now is turbo's. They are shit because you can rev the balls off them. They go well but if you want performance buy a sodding petrol. Modern "muppet" diesels are also far too complex. Want to spend £400 every 3 months? Buy a Volvo C30(*). Argue with the garage who's going to pay to have the soot filter cleaned when the warranty expires. "You need to drive it more" is not an excuse.

      Taxis. Do they get MOT'd at the same place city transport buses do? How do they find the place for fumes?

      (*) fortunately not me, a co-worker.

      Everyone who has purchased a diesel in the last decade is a tosser.

      1. Dave 126 Silver badge

        Re: VW floats catalytic converter as fix for fibbing diesels

        @Swamp Dog

        I think the reason The Quiet One was downvoted was because he launched attacks on both people who fetishised fast cars, and also those who just see their cars as tools for going from A to B.

        Internally consistent comments are usually treated more seriously.

    5. IsJustabloke
      Meh

      Did a diesel engine fuck your sister or something?

      1. LucreLout
        Joke

        Did a diesel engine fuck your sister or something?

        That was Vin Diesel dude. Vin Diesel!!

  10. werdsmith Silver badge

    It is a vehicle. It gets you from point A to point B and it should do it within a reasonable cost envelope.

    And it should contribute to you being able to do that as safely as possible.

    If on your car journey is invisible, i.e. nobody notices your were ever there and nobody remembers you, then you have driven well.

    VW do make the most boring and dull cars under their own brand name and under the Audi marque, but they also make Bentleys, Lamborghinis, Porsches and Bugattis for those who require a little personality prosthetic. I do enjoy those kind of cars, vicariously, and I wouldn't say no to the opportunity to blat one around a racetrack for an hour or so but I would never choose to own one.

    Life is much easier in a dull, anonymous car, but however dull, VWs don't qualify as anonymous anymore. Just ask their sheepish embarrassed drivers.

    1. swampdog
      Joke

      VW floats catalytic converter as fix for fibbing diesels

      "And it should contribute to you being able to do that as safely as possible."

      No. No. No. No. No! (<- that cat youtube video I can't find the link for)

      All journeys should be a hair-raising experience. If you want safety, take a bus. You are much more likely to survive when I run into you.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Why did I buy a diesel ?

    1) No HT ignition to go wrong

    2) Better power per litre leads to phenomenal fuel economy. 44mpg for mixed use for a 1.6 engine would be impossible for a petrol

    3) By necessity, diesel engines are stronger (force of compression). Stronger = more reliable.

    1. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

      Re: Why did I buy a diesel ?

      "44mpg for mixed use for a 1.6 engine would be impossible for a petrol"

      That's a pretty small engine. I'm suspect modern petrol cars can achieve that, or nearly that at least?

      Or a lot better (this example is a 1.5l petrol):

      http://www.nextgreencar.com/view-car/54209/bmw-1-series-118i-m-sport-auto-petrol-automatic-8-speed/

      Driving style has a lot to do with consumption, of course. An always low-revving (relative to a petrol engine) diesel would probably contribute to lower consumption, as well as the inherent efficiency of the diesel.

      A potential plus with diesels would be the ability to run on all sorts of weird things, such as used deep-fry fat. Not sure how modern diesels would like that though.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Why did I buy a diesel ?

        "44mpg for mixed use for a 1.6 engine would be impossible for a petrol"

        Petrol engines have been capable of this for 5 years now. I have 2010 Alfa Giulietta 1.4TB Multiair, I get 48 mpg mixed, 170BHP, 0-6 around 7.5 seconds. I believe the new rev of this engine is now more efficient still.

        1. Tridac

          Re: Why did I buy a diesel ?

          @AC: 48 mpg mixed, 170BHP, 0-6 around 7.5 seconds..

          But not all at the same time :-). The mpg gauge on my everyday car drops to about 5-8mpg if it's given some serious boot. Good economy isn't new, the old 60's twin cam Alfas would return 35-40mpg if driven gently. That was on twin Webers or Dellorto carbs + coil ignition btw...

          To bring it back on topic, I think there was a VW Polo (diesel) advertised a few years ago which claimed 70+ mpg, better even than the self rightous and overcomplex Prius. People want economy and performance and diesel starts off at an advantage because of it's higher thermal efficiency.

          It's crazy. Up until recently, engines were optimised for CO2, but now it seems we are obsessed with NO. When no one really knows what limits are safe, we get the usual over the top gold plating of everything, rather than risk assessment, cost vs benefit.. Aren't fashions, fads, agendas and ignorance a wonderful thing.?...

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Why did I buy a diesel ?

            @AC: 48 mpg mixed, 170BHP, 0-6 around 7.5 seconds..

            But not all at the same time :-).

            Not suggesting for a minute they are all at the same time. Just pointing out that in terms of economy 48mpg is my normal mixed driving rate. The 170BHP is always available from the 1.4 engine and the 0-60 is for fun.

            Fun like blowing away 2.0TDI Audi/VW's from a standing start, sure the diesel has the initial advantage due to the agricultural torque, however once the revs are up it's no contest. And it's best to be in front anyway, don't have to breath in all the crap.

            1. Vic

              Re: Why did I buy a diesel ?

              the diesel has the initial advantage due to the agricultural torque, however once the revs are up it's no contest

              Speed is far more sensitive to observation skills than engine power...

              I first did the Roadcraft course because I'd bought a very fast bike and i wanted to stay alive. It did trim off my peak speed, as I expected.

              I was not prepared for the massive increase in mean speed that came with it. I now get to my destination more quickly than before I did the course, despite not actually going quite as fast any more.

              Vic.

    2. graeme leggett Silver badge

      Re: Why did I buy a diesel ?

      "diesel engines are stronger (force of compression). Stronger = more reliable."

      Diesels are made stronger to account for the higher forces. But no more than necessary to do the job, the same as with a petrol engine. A petrol engine uses less metal, or even light metals and therefore the vehicle overall is lighter enabling a smaller engine to be used,

      But all vehicles are more reliable than when I was younger. When was the last time, you heard of vehicle failing an MOT due to rusted sills, or engine problem due to engine block plugs popping in a cold snap. Decoking a piston head, piston rings failing. Different issues these days - I got rid of my old car because the electronics in the accelerator or EMU had gone (one or the other - either way it not cost effective to investigate and repair).

    3. Pete Smith 2

      Re: Why did I buy a diesel ?

      My wife's got a 1.0 3 pot Focus (125bhp), and that gets ~45mpg on a mix of school run and driving to work.

      If I drove it, it wouldn't get that much, as it's such an entertaining little engine.

      Ford are pushing people away from the 1.6 engine to the 1.0, which gets the same power, but much better economy.

      I personally went for the 1.6 diesel which can get up to 65mpg when driven on a long boring road, but which gets mid 50's on normal mixed usage.

    4. Hellcat

      Re: Why did I buy a diesel ?

      The reliability might come from diesel fuel being an oil rather than a solvent like petrol. Having your fuel not trying to remove your cylinder lubrication must help in this regard.This is why a 150,000 mile diesel is a regular occourance, but a 150,000 petrol is rather unusual.

      I personally like the driving style you get owning a diesel, being more quiet and relaxed. In mine 70mph is something like 1800rpm in 6th and it will push that ring to about twice that*.

      *GPS verified in Deutchland.

      1. MJI Silver badge

        Re: Why did I buy a diesel ?

        My last petrol (not the 1.6) was closing on 200,000. still see the original honing on the bores.

        Killed by being smashed into, NOT by wear and tear

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Why did I buy a diesel ?

        "The reliability might come from diesel fuel being an oil rather than a solvent like petrol. Having your fuel not trying to remove your cylinder lubrication must help in this regard."

        Quite wrong. Diesel fuel is far too low viscosity to act as an effective lubricant. On the other hand when it does get past the rings into the sump it doesn't all evaporate at sump temperature as petrol does and so it gradually dilutes the oil. (Some of it evaporates which means that when the rings give out you can get the condition in which the crankcase vent supplies enough fuel vapour to the inlet manifold to keep the engine going with no fuel.) On the other hand some of the particulates can get past the rings and contaminate the oil. Modern engines with their superior rings and bores are less prone to this, but blowby, as it's called, used to be a big problem in older engines.

        Petrol engines used to be short lived and unreliable because they were deliberately made that way for cheapness. At one time a major manufacturer used to design the gearboxes in its low end cars for a life of 80 000 miles. But the engines in their top of the range would happily do 200 000 miles, and even a quarter of a million, because the owners were more likely to do high mileage and more likely to create adverse publicity if they didn't get it. One reason early car Diesels were long lived was because they were based on petrol engines (like the XU design) with some beefing up, yet they produced less power and so tended to be driven more slowly. Most medium sized car engines will do amazing mileage (and mpg) if they spend almost all their lives doing a steady 70 down motorways.

    5. IsJustabloke

      Re: Why did I buy a diesel ?

      2) Better power per litre leads to phenomenal fuel economy. 44mpg for mixed use for a 1.6 engine would be impossible for a petrol

      TBF modern petrol engines are almost up there

      My last car had a 1.2 ltr engine and that managed 48MPG, My current car is a 1.4 turbo and it manages 39 mpg on average...I could probably improve that by changing my driving style significantly. itts also got 170 BHP and 0-60 of around 6 secs but I rarely drive it like I stole it because then the MPG can get down to single figures but its certainly fun to do occasionally :D

    6. Toltec

      Re: Why did I buy a diesel ?

      1) No HT ignition to go wrong

      Just glow plugs, turbos, dpf and dual mass flywheels. Though turbos and dmf can also be found in some petrol cars. Coil on plug does have issues though so I understand if you have been bitten by that.

      2) Better power per litre leads to phenomenal fuel economy. 44mpg for mixed use for a 1.6 engine would be impossible for a petrol

      BHP/Litre? Not if you compare a diesel turbo to a petrol turbo. The economy is mainly down to the lack of throttle plates, lean burn and lower parasitic losses. Petrol economy was held back by not being able to implement lean burn due to cats in the early 90's. One of my cars (petrol) has a cat to deal with NOx so does have lean burn, does not need a urea tank either.

      3) By necessity, diesel engines are stronger (force of compression). Stronger = more reliable.

      As per other comments, they have to withstand higher forces. They are heavier and more expensive to produce.

      They do have their plus points though and can be cheaper to run, especially if used for longer journeys and higher than average annual mileage.

      1. Nifty

        Re: Why did I buy a diesel ?

        No mention of the unreliable history of the dual flywheel clutches that are usually fitted to diesel cars and their extremely high replacement cost?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re:unreliable history of dual flywheel clutches

          only an issue if you buy a car, rather than lease it. Or a good incentive to get a warranty after the 3 year period. Or even better (given personal observations) drive properly.

    7. MJI Silver badge

      Re: Why did I buy a diesel ?

      My last 1.6 petrol averaged 20 mpg because I drove it flat out everywhere. Spent more time over 5000rpm than under.

      Nice short stroke with lumpy cam and twin carbs

      Not bad for a 1970s push rod lump.

    8. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Why did I buy a diesel ?

      1) No HT ignition to go wrong

      Your modern Diesel has solenoid controlled injection and the parts of the injection system are small and made to tight tolerances. A modern HT system has the spark coils in recesses in the cylinder heads above the plugs. The electrical complexity of both SI and CI is now more or less identical, so no difference in reliability.

      2) Better power per litre leads to phenomenal fuel economy. 44mpg for mixed use for a 1.6 engine would be impossible for a petrol

      Nothing to do with "power per litre" on which Diesel still lags. It is because of the combination of a higher compression ratio and Carnot's equation, plus the fact that fuel is sold per litre rather than per kilo. If fuel was sold by weight, Diesels would suddenly look much less attractive.

      3) By necessity, diesel engines are stronger (force of compression). Stronger = more reliable.

      You would expect the reverse, they are built stronger to resist those higher pressures. If a petrol engine was built to the same dimensions as a Diesel (as the old Kelvin multifuel engines and some US petrol marine engines were) it would go on forever but with a lower power to weight ratio.

      The problem of course is that when Diesels do blow up, often because the fragile turbocharger has gone titsup, the ones used in car engines can be beyond economical repair. Bits of compressor fan hitting valves, pistons and heads can do a lot of damage. Early car Diesels like the XUD engine and the little GM 1.6 litre were simple to work on and cheap to repair but the downside was what came out of the tailpipe.

      As someone who started my career in Diesel R&D, I drove them until 2009 when I looked at upcoming emission standards and the way things were going, and switched to petrol. Incidentally, 44mpg is about what my small Toyota estate gets.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    My anonymous prediction

    They will remove the engine and the metal plate below the seat then people can run the cars flintstone style.

    Problem solved. I await my anonymous recognition.

  13. Aoyagi Aichou

    EU

    How long will it take until the wankers in EU stop with that nonsensical favouritism of diesel? There's less tax on it in most places, for god's sake...

    1. Tridac

      Re: EU

      That might be because diesel is cheaper to start with. However, iirc, in the uk, goverment tax on diesel is more than that on petrol, to remove that advantage...

  14. CAPS LOCK

    Anyone else notice the DEAFENING SILENCE from the other car makers?

    I wonder why...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Anyone else notice the DEAFENING SILENCE from the other car makers?

      I wonder why...

      Not for the reasons you think I suspect. Not everybody has test-defeat software, but because the tests are so flawed anyway because of industry lobbying, the other makers aren't going to crow about VW's shame. So the other makers worked to comply with tests they'd lobbied to make fairly meaningless. VW then went one step further, and cheated to meet even those standards.

      But you have to take your hat off to the German government who were lobbying the EC to conduct future emissions testing on downhill sloping tracks.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Anyone else notice the DEAFENING SILENCE from the other car makers?

        "Not everybody has test-defeat software, "

        The Koreans in particular seemed to produce cars with above-average fuel consumption statistics, and I now wonder if in reality this was just because they weren't fiidling the tests.

        1. Tridac

          Re: Anyone else notice the DEAFENING SILENCE from the other car makers?

          No, just not so good technically. If you want the best engines in the world, currently, go to Germany or Japan...

  15. x 7

    quick -buy shares in Johnson Matthey

    they supply the catalyst materials

  16. Root Ginger

    A CC will reduce performance and economy. No way anyone is going to let that happen in America. There will just be another lawsuit against VW. Surely it's just easier to have the cheat software on all the time and top up adblue free of charge to customers. (The cheat software uses a much more detailed analysis of engine and emission sensors to constantly adjust adblue usage. The consequence is it uses a lot more adblue). At the moment the cars are topped up at the garage during servicing as it uses so little in the normal road mode.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    No CAT update is required

    No CAT fitment is required to make the U.S. EA189 series VW Diesel engines EPA compliant. These engines have already passed EPA certification. All they need is a slight change in the duty cycle on the emissions controls. In fact all of the later model 2.0L engines only need a software update to meet all emissions regs. The earlier 1.6L models need an $11 part and an hour of labor to install it. What the EPA is able to coerce VW into doing is far different than what is actually required for the EA189 series engines to comply with all emissions regs.

    It's worth noting that numerous German "sources" for info. on the VW Diesel scandal have been blatantly wrong in their allegations and speculation.

    The 3.0L V-6 Audi Diesel engine meets ALL U.S. EPA emissions requirements as is. The German motor authority KBA also did an extensive investigation into the Audi designed 3.0L V-6 Diesel and found no problems with emissions compliance what so ever. The EPA's complaint is that on cold start-up the system uses a hot CAT cleaning cycle that actually reduces emissions below what is require. This hot CAT cleaning cycle will now become mandatory for all Diesels sold in the U.S. in 2018 but the EPA wants to punish VW/Audi/Porsche and consumers for Audi being proactive and lowering cold start emissions lower than required by the EPA. They are doing this because the EPA is so inept that it didn't even recognize the CAT cleaning cycle used by many Diesel engine makers.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Headmaster

    Other tangible injuries....

    I read a lot of the first page of comments, which had a long thread on what the tangible injuries of VW's screw-up were. Here are two injuries that were not mentioned, but for which VW can be readily hauled into the court in the U.S. I can't speak to other international jurisdictions:

    1) Loss of resale value for current VW diesel owners who will one day want to resell or get a trade-in on their cars. Resale value of VW diesels has supposedly tanked in the U.S. so this could be thousands of dollars per owner/car.

    2) Punitive damages related to fraud. You can't legally sell someone a car on the actual or implied promise that it meets or exceeds required environmental standards, and then deliver a smog machine.

    WV execs--DUCK!! There's a big-ass book being thrown your way.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Other tangible injuries....

      In the U.S. anyone can sue for anything. As Toby Keith sings: "spill a cup of coffee, become a millionaire". Basically the U.S. is a legal society of vultures out to steal money from anyone that has money even if they have zero responsibility for any injury or loss.

      As far as the VW scandal is concerned in a legitimate reputable judicial system one has to show what losses they have suffered. A VW customer who sold their vehicle at a loss should be able to show that and VW could be held accountable for the loss. If you haven't sold or traded your VW you have not suffered a loss and you may never suffer a loss even when you do sell or trade it. It's worth noting VW has already given all U.S. customers effected by the EA189 Diesel issues - a $500 cash card and a $500 credit for parts, labor, etc. No strings were attached to this cash contrary to what has been alleged.

      As far as the fraud claims, that's a totally different deal because it was not VW the corporation that perpetrated the emissions violation, it was a small group within VW who perpetuated the scam. Those who committed the crime are the ones who should pay but in the U.S. judicial system everyone pays and even bogus claims such as the hot coffee deal at the McD's drive through can make you a millionaire.

      The media has had a field day with the Diesel emission scandal but if one does their homework they will find contrary to the blaring headlines, that the trivial excess exhaust emissions is so insignificant as to be absurd. Punish VW for the illegal software. Hold the appropriate people accountable. Make good on any reasonable losses to customers. Fix the cars properly. Don't allow the EPA to rape and pillage VW for something 50 out of 650,000 employees did wrong.

      TOO LATE the EPA has already cost millions of people dearly when they had nothing to do with the VW scandal. This is what bad government does when it gets a chance to destroy what it views as evil, i.e. clean Diesel engines. The EPA's agenda is to eliminate clean Diesel engines in the U.S. and promote impractical electric vehicles that few people desire. Now the U.S. siren chasers will go after VW for anything and everything they can. Be advised that every time VW gets fined, more people around the world and more suppliers to VW around the world including in the U.S., will lose their job or worse - all for something they had nothing to do with.

      Compare this outrageous injustice by the EPA and siren chasers to the GM defective ignition switch and cover-up that cost 100+ people their lives. Absolutely no one was injured by the trivial excess VW Diesel exhaust emissions yet the EPA is persecuting VW. GM kills 100+ people, it's hardly a news story for more than a couple weeks. I have a real problem with companies who kill people... Maybe the VW scandal is being used to distract from the GM killings?

      1. Steve Todd
        Stop

        Re: Other tangible injuries....

        If you believe that VW senior management didn't know about the software cheat then I've got a bridge that I can sell to you.

        Companies regularly get punished for things done by only a small number of their employees. The company has a responsibility to prevent this kind of thing, and blaming it on a small number of scapegoats doesn't make them more likely to put their house in order.

  19. AbeSapian

    This Is No Fix

    If the engine software causes it to cheat when hooked up to an emissions analyzer then how can you trust the results just because they slapped a catalytic converter on the car?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: This Is No Fix

      The EPA actually tested and confirmed these vehicles ALL pass emissions requirements. There is a large group of different model EA189 VW Diesel engines. Some use software to control the emissions controls (later 2.0L engines) and others have manually emissions controls. Again, the EPA has already tested and certified that these engines ALL pass U.S. EPA regs, when the emissions controls are operated the same as when the EPA conducts a lab dyno certification test. The earlier 1.6L engines require a $11 part be installed in the air inlet to correct for temp changes. That later computer controlled 2.0L models only need a software update that runs the emissions control duty cycles slightly longer than previously software during street operation. The EPA randomly lab tests street vehicles to confirm emissions compliance.

      The so called "defeat device" in the original software obviously has to be removed. The CAT proposal is for the older Diesels not the more recent models. The CAT is not a requirement to meet all EPA emissions requirements. Connecting an exhaust emissions analyzer to a CAT equipped vehicle does NOT cause the engine to "cheat". The EPA out of spite however may coerce VW into installing these - because VW is unlikely to challenge them in court where the EPA would lose.

      1. Steve Todd

        Re: This Is No Fix

        " ALL pass U.S. EPA regs, when the emissions controls are operated the same as when the EPA conducts a lab dyno certification test."

        The rub is that operating those controls has a significant impact on the performance of the car (why do you think that VW didn't enable them all the time, rather than just on a dyno?) If you leave the hardware as-is and just reprogram the ECU then owners are going to get shirty about this.

  20. Crafty volt 7

    Fecal decay

    They need to also replace the airflow unit, sensors, computer control ECU, exhaust components and do top end engine repairs gratis as well as give customers 75% of their cash back as I am sure none of them sought a SAAB 96 equivalent gutless pollutant as daily transport.

    Its actually cheaper if they just give the current owners their money back and sell these cars to Brazil....

    1. x 7

      Re: Fecal decay

      no good selling them to Brazil - isn't the main fuel there ethanol-based rather than diesel?

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