According to Bloomberg, the discovery that Volkswagen's clean diesel wasn't really clean was by an independent group of researchers who wanted to prove that diesel was indeed as good for the environment as it claimed to be. Unfortunately, while lab tests yielded positive results, actual driving tests gave completely different ones. A complete guide to Dieselgate is here. The Electronic Frontier Foundation argues that the scandal could have been discovered sooner had it not been for the DMCA.
The Wolfsburg, Germany-based company said it is cooperating with regulatory investigations and ordered its own external probe.
German and his group were actually trying to prove exactly what Volkswagen has been claiming for years: that diesel is clean. They asked West Virginia University for help. The school’s Center for Alternative Fuels, Engines and Emissions had the right equipment -- a portable emission measurement system to stick in the car trunk, attached to a probe to shove up the exhaust pipe. German’s group, funded mostly by foundations, didn’t.
Testers drove the monitor-equipped diesels from San Diego to Seattle because if Volkswagen had gamed the emission test, they couldn’t be sure how, German said. In another cheating case years ago, he said, long-haul trucks were equipped with devices that allowed the engines to gradually discharge more and more harmful nitrogen oxides the longer the vehicle cruised at the same speed. The more emissions, generally speaking, the greater the engine power. The 1,300-mile trip under varying conditions would expose any such scheme in the VWs, German said.
Meanwhile, the California Air Resources Board tested the vehicles in their laboratories and they passed.
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