Dieselgate: The facts

What VW did

Volkswagen has deliberately cheated its way past stringent US emissions laws by fitting software to 11 million diesel-powered cars.

How they did it

Software code known as a “defeat device” detects when the car is being emissions tested and alters engine performance to reduce nitrogen oxide (NOx) levels. When the defeat device is not active the car’s emissions can be up to 35 times higher.

How they got caught

An independent clean air advocacy group, the International Council on Clean Transport (ICCT), tested a VW Jetta, Passat and BMW X5 for real world emissions and discovered the two VWs produced extremely high levels of NOx. The BMW performed as expected. The ICCT’s findings were then handed over to the US EPA for official action.

The fallout

VW CEO Martin Winterkorn has already resigned and experts expect this issue to plague VW financially and commercially for years. Volkswagen faces a maximum fine of $US18 billion by the US EPA. erts ially he

NOx is toxic

The most harmful NOx component produced by diesel cars is nitrogen dioxide (NO2), a gas linked to severe lung and heart disease, and respiratory problems. Australia’s air is among the cleanest in the world, but more than 3000 Aussies die from l l as d ratory ia’s han rom polluted air annually. That’s three times the number that die in car crashes.

Affected vehicles

VW Australia is yet to reveal how many of the 11 million affected vehicles were sold locally.

Models fitted with the defeat device all have four-cylinder diesel engines. They include numerous VW, Audi and Skoda models, from 2007 to 2015 (see full list on page 15). *See WheelsMag.com.au for the latest developments