Diesel scandal at German carmaker Volkswagen widens: Report

The scandal surrounding illegally manipulated exhaust emissions of diesel cars for the German car maker Volkswagen is widening, the German public broadcaster SWR reported on Thursday.

According to the SWR, Volkswagen also manipulated the emission thresholds of the diesel engine EA 288, the successor of the EA 189 engine which was subject to the initial diesel scandal in 2015.

SWR reported that Volkswagen had installed a so-called defeat device in the EA 288 engine, which detects if the car is being tested for its exhaust emissions. Internal reports of Volkswagen would show, how such a “cycle recognition” worked, according to the German public broadcaster.

Until now, only the manipulation of engines with older emission standards than Euro 6 had become known in the course of the diesel scandal.

The EA 288 engine is widely used not only in cars of Volkswagen’s main brand VW but also in cars of its subsidiaries like Audi, Seat and Skoda. According to SWR, “hundreds of thousands of diesel vehicles” had been equipped with this engine since its introduction in 2012.

A spokesperson of the German carmaker denied the accusations and told SWR that “vehicles with the EA 288 diesel engine, in accordance with the currently valid exhaust emission standard EU6 in EU 28, do not contain cycle recognition”.

However, SWR reported that the internal documents of Volkswagen would describe the “use and recognition” of the New European Driving Cycle (NEDC) “in order to trigger the switchover of the raw emission data” depending on the stretch the vehicles is driving.

Axel Friedrich, exhaust gas emissions expert and consultant for the German parliamentary investigation committee on the diesel scandal, told SWR that “the vehicle recognizes whether it is on a test bench” and only then a sufficient amount of the diesel exhaust fluid AdBlue would be injected.

Under normal driving conditions on the road, however, “much less” of the fluid, which lowers the concentration of nitrogen oxides in the exhaust gas of diesel engines, would be used, added exhaust expert Friedrich.

All inquiries by the SWR to the Germany’s Federal Motor Transport Authority (KBA) as well as to the German ministry of transport relating to the EA 288 engine had not been answered.