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Conspiracy Theory scenario : Could it be that the EPA held back off making a fuss until they realised VW's efficiency diesel gains over the years meant that their Electric Car mates were never going to get much traction.

Jun 30, 2016 at 12:15 PM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

tomo, a major commitment to building battery cars, when Tesla can't make it work without huge Government subsidies, and no one else can either.

I don't know what targets the USA has set itself for putting battery powered shopping trolleys on the road, but it seems they have discharged their financial liability

Perhaps VW can design a hybrid, combining a shopping trolley and golf cart, with seating for two, capable of road use, to and from Drive-Thru MacDonalds, to suit the growing waistlines, wallets and lifestyles of wealthy Florida pensioners.

As you say, a strange business!

Jun 30, 2016 at 11:53 AM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

@Roger Tolson the tie-in irony is that that "latest cruise liner,", with the "stream of air bubbles to reduce the skin friction of the hull" to save 15% of probably definitely using much dirtier fuel than a VW, yet is probably called an eco-hero.

The ship named "Harmony of the Seas adds even newer hull technology to provide a ride on a cushion of air bubbles. This makes the ship 20 percent more fuel efficient at cruising speeds" * (note the 20% better efficiency applies only to cruising speed)
The May 12 article says "this technology was first used in the cruise industry on Quantum of the Seas."

Jun 30, 2016 at 11:47 AM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

@tomo fascinating if EPA officials were bribed to keep quiet earlier , like do lower officials have a lot of German holiday stamps in their passports ?

Jun 30, 2016 at 11:35 AM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

Focusing on little things, instead of big things.
eg Dieselgate ..instead of the problems magnitudes worse like the bi-annual SE Asia forest fire haze, or Singapore's massive pollution.*
eg 2 The crime of racist graffiti is focused on rather than 1,400+ victims of the Rotherham Asian gangs (never mind the other similar cases)

@Tomo is saying that there is something fishy with Dieselgate that the EPA knew 2 years prior to warning VW (be good if we had a source pinning down the date) "European regulators were looking into VW's on-road diesel emissions as far back as 2012,"
"According to the LA Times, in 2009 about 40,000 Jetta .. models were sold which qualified for federal subsidies totaling $51 million."
Subsidies : That puts a slant on why US fines might be bigger.
- "diesel engines, which make up only 1 percent of the vehicles on U.S. roads, wasn't the top priority for the EPA. "
"Diesel vehicles aren’t at all popular in the U.S., making up only 4% of sales. "
"European regulators were looking into VW's on-road diesel emissions as far back as 2012, and since diesels make up half the cars there, the EPA decided to let Europe take the lead, "
"EPA and California regulators confronted VW with those findings to VW in May 2014. "
- The VW pollution is not zero and will have effected the number life days lived, but averaging out at something tiny. Indeed aren't the engines cleaner than those on the road 5-10 years earlier ?

Now the UK is outside the EU it is free to fine VW as much as the US did , eh Frau Merkel ?

*(Living 10 miles south of Singapore the air seemed clean, but when I moved to 1 mile north I saw not only that the high air was brown on the boat journey, but when I got on a tall building I could see the brown haze over Singapore. The thing is Singapore is not really a free country so things like reporting such things would get a publishers licence suspended, whereas when Indonesia fires are going on that is reported. The pollution probably came from the ship traffic. I could feel it in my throat at ground level)

Jun 30, 2016 at 11:32 AM | Unregistered Commenterstewgreen

@golf charlie

plea bargain ? - two years.... VW could've done an end run around the matter in a number of ways - both engineering and politics wise. Maybe the screw-up theory of events just kicked in and somebody at the EPA spotted a scapegoat firmly staked down when an extremely embarrassing incident involving their officials" just happened" :-)

VW could easily have resourced some kind of green initiative in cahoots with the EPA and de-fused the matter - now they're on the hook for ludicrous consequences and they're being bullied into building e-cars.

Strange business.

Jun 30, 2016 at 11:06 AM | Registered Commentertomo

tomo, from what you are saying, I am inferring some form of 'plea bargain'.

If so, what were the alternative consequences for VW, given that a Guilty Plea opens up the floodgates for billions of dollars in compensation, for people who had never knowingly lost anything?

Jun 30, 2016 at 10:49 AM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

@Pcar - yup

I preferred to hint at the situation without doing the spadework of evidencing something that I know in my bones is true... My own experience in aviation EMC testing for compliance is that the paperwork is prized over any inconvenient traits that the hardware might exhibit and that special "quiet software" is used 'pon occasion to skid systems through testing.

While it is indisputably true that not every real life situation can be practically tested - the collusion you mention is there for almost every item - and as the volume of regulation dreamed up - many times with scant regard for nature (in the physics sense) ratchets up - often into the realms of fantasy - surprise!!! - the tests get gamed....

It's my understanding that the EPA were actually informed on a local office level of unusual ECU behavior 3 years before the hysterical PR stunt public disclosure and knew the situation on an organisation wide basis 2 years before going public. What I don't know is the level of engagement between VW and EPA officials in that 2 years.... - and that in my view is the key to understanding what happened.

My amazement is mainly that VW didn't make more of a fight of it - or at least enter into talks with the EPA about improving the situation. I'm curious about the relationship between regulator and regulated - superficially one might suspect that VW would've felt a bit hard done by / ambushed.

Jun 30, 2016 at 8:33 AM | Registered Commentertomo

It was interesting to see that the latest cruise liner, whose name escapes me, uses a stream of air bubbles to reduce the skin friction of the hull,it is effectively riding on air. I don't know what happens when the air gets to the propellers but I expect they have worked that out.

Jun 30, 2016 at 8:26 AM | Unregistered CommenterRoger Tolson

It's a similar problem for ships it used to be the case that for every knot of speed increase roughly double the horsepower was required. There have been a lot of developments since the invention of steam power to mitigate the problem, the Japanese invented bulbous bow probably being the most obvious, but there's still the same problem.

Jun 30, 2016 at 7:43 AM | Unregistered CommenterSandyS

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