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Dieselgate 2.0 Continues: New Engine, New Cheat?

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Earlier I wrote about a newly emerging scandal in the German courts over Volkswagen’s EA189 engine. According to the court, the Dieselgate “fix” used in the engine was itself a cheat; it was only enabled within a certain temperature range, and thus was disabled for half the year (one might wonder whether recent research that diesel emissions rise dramatically when the weather gets over 30° might be related)

Well, today comes a new scandal with a new engine, the EA288 (english coverage), which was designed to replace the EA189.  Internal VW documents acquired and reviewed by SWR over the course of a Dieselgate lawsuit relate to the vehicles’ new AdBlue (urea) injection system, which is used to reduce emissions. According to the documents, the software for the engine was designed to detect the NEDC emissions testing, and if so, increase the amount of AdBlue it would inject, but otherwise reduce it in order to reduce AdBlue consumption to levels acceptable to consumers.

Volkswagen denies that its new engine contains any defeat software.  “We investigated this topic since 2015 and the results of all investigations and measurements confirm to our current knowledge, the realization that the use of driving curves in the EA288 engine have no impact on compliance with emission limits.”  Yet the internal documents lay out a detailed cheat plan, from how to detect the cycle to the exact dosings of AdBlue if detected vs. if not detected.

The EA288 engine is found in hundreds of thousands of cars, including the Golf, Tiguan and Passat.  

The current case related to the EA288 is still active, vs. the previous EA189 scandal which was confirmed in the judgement of the court, and which Volkswagen is appealing. These revelations come at a bad time for Volkswagen, who since Dieselgate has pursued a strategy of focusing on statutes of limitations to avoid liability to customers who sued the company over its former defeat devices. Since the recent incidents would comprise new cheats, their presence has the ability to reset the clock on the statute of limitations.

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