US accuses Volkwagen of illegal pollution control device

Updated 18 September 2015

US accuses Volkwagen of illegal pollution control device

NEW YORK: US regulators charged Volkswagen with manufacturing autos designed to evade government pollution controls and said the German auto should fix nearly 500,000 cars with the defect.
Volkswagen designed software to meet clean-air standards during official emissions testing, but that turned off during normal operations, US and California regulators charged. As a result, the diesel cars emit greater-than-allowed quantities of pollution linked to smog and various health ills.
“Using a defeat device in cars to evade clean air standards is illegal and a threat to public health,” said Cynthia Giles, assistant administrator for the US Environmental Protection Agency.
Both the EPA and the California Air Resources Board have launched investigations into the illegal actions.
The cars employed a sophisticated software algorithm to detect when the car was undergoing official emissions testing and turn on full emissions controls only on that time. When EPA and California demanded an explanation this month, Volkswagen admitted that cars contained defeat devices, the EPA said.
“Our goal now is to ensure that the affected cars are brought into compliance, to dig more deeply into the extent and implications of Volkswagen’s efforts to cheat on clean air rules, and to take appropriate further action,” said Richard Corey, executive officer at the California Air Resources Board.
Volkswagen said it had received notice of the investigation from the EPA, the California board and the Department of Justice.
“VW is cooperating with the investigation; we are unable to comment further at this time.”
The allegations cover 482,000 diesel models of Volkswagen Jetta, Beetle and Golf for 2009-2015 and the Audi A3 for the same years. The action also affects the Volkswagen Passat for 2014-2015.
The EPA said it “is incumbent on Volkswagen to initiate the process that will fix the cars’ emissions systems.” The cars do not present a safety hazard, the agency said.


Saudi Aramco seeks to overhaul engines and fuel amid electric vehicle hype

Updated 06 March 2019

Saudi Aramco seeks to overhaul engines and fuel amid electric vehicle hype

  • Diesel has proven a key cause of health-threatening nitrogen oxide pollution
  • Saudi Aramco is working on gasoline compression ignition which mixes fuel and air more effectively prior to combustion

GENEVA: More efficient fuels and more sophisticated combustion engines are needed to bring down carbon dioxide pollution and to secure the long-term future of Saudi Aramco’s business, the company’s chief technology officer said on Wednesday.
“The growth of transport is greater than the growth of alternative drivetrains,” Ahmad Al-Khowaiter, Chief Technology Officer at Saudi Aramco told journalists at the Geneva car show.
The spike in electric car production in Europe will not offset an overall increase in global greenhouse gas emissions as emerging economies industrialize and buy cars with petrol and diesel engines, Al-Khowaiter said.
“Improving combustion engines is key to sustaining our business in the long term,” he said.
While carmakers have rolled out advances in combustion engine technology, the availability of sophisticated fuels has not kept pace, Al-Khowaiter said.
Diesel became an industry standard more than 100 years ago and has remained popular mainly because it did not evaporate quickly, making it safer to handle during storage and refueling.
“Rudolf Diesel did not consider fuels which evaporated easily. That was an accident of history,” Al-Khowaiter said, referring to the German founder of the diesel engine technology.
But diesel has proven a key cause of health-threatening nitrogen oxide pollution, which is blamed for respiratory diseases, forcing the industry to explore ways to cut emissions.
“We can now optimize the fuel and the engine at the same time. And we can bring it to market by adding another fuel pump at the gas station, just like it is done with higher octane fuels,” Al-Khowaiter said.
“We do the patents on the fuel development to enable the engines to be efficient,” the executive said.
Saudi Aramco is working on gasoline compression ignition which mixes fuel and air more effectively prior to combustion, resulting in lower nitrogen oxide and soot emissions and a 30 percent improvement in fuel economy.
The petrochemicals giant is also helping to develop mobile carbon capture technologies which could be built into next generation passenger cars for around $1,400 per vehicle, and help to cut carbon dioxide emissions.