Volkswagen has now admitted to charges by the Environmental Protection Agency that the automaker had installed “defeat device” software into its diesel vehicles in order to pass emissions tests. Knowledge of E.P.A. testing procedures allowed the company to install software in its cars that used environmental and usage measurements to determine when the car was being tested. The software would then adjust the performance of the car’s various components in order to maximize fuel economy and minimize emissions of certain gasses.
These inputs precisely track the parameters of the federal test procedure for emission testing,
the E.P.A. said in a letter sent to Volkswagen executives.
When not being tested, Volkswagen vehicles would use different “road calibration” settings that resulted in up to 40 times the legal limit of nitrogen oxide, a gas that contributes to urban smog. While most other cars also have different settings for testing purposes, they are not supposed to be intended to evade regulatory oversight. Ultimately, the intent behind Volkswagen’s actions was to dupe regulators into believing the company’s cars were far more environmentally friendly than they were in reality. Volkswagen has announced that it will set aside $7.3 billion to cover fixes and “other efforts to win back the trust of [its] customers.”
Read more here – “The Tech Behind How Volkswagen Tricked Emissions Tests,” (Andrea Peterson and Brian Fung, Washington Post).