The revelation that VW, the carmaker, has been cheating environmental standards is slowly working its way through official circles, clean air campaigning groups and the public.
Labelled #Dieselgate by the media it promises to have enormous consequences for VW and for diesel cars generally.
The deception was found and published by West Virginia University although it seems that authorities on both sides of the Atlantic were aware of the problem and had been for several months.
The Problem In A Nutshell
Diesel engines work at higher temperatures than petrol aka gasoline engines and for that reason there is the possibility that they could burn fuel more cleanly and more completely. For that to happen they need to have the right fuel to take advantage and to pump smaller amounts of particulates, CO2 and NOX into the exhaust.
In Britain and the EU a political decision was taken about 15 years ago to promote the sale of diesel cars which up to that time were rarely bought by the consumer.
We were sold the lie that diesel was clean, in fact VW even poke fun at people thinking that diesel was dirty.
In the years since then diesel growth was so massive that most sales in the UK are now diesel so they outsell regular gasoline / petrol cars.
The air quality has suffered as you would expect. It has been a long running scandal that air quality in London and other major European cities has been so drastically bad.
It beggars belief that the real cause of this was not known to a lot of engineers and regulators.
Until West Virginia Uni published their report.
Not Just VW
The consequences of this debacle will be very serious for VW as a company. They have put aside several billion dollars and expect to add to that sum. VW also make Audi, SEAT, Skoda as well as several luxury brands like Bentley, Lamborghini and Bugatti.
VW will probably survive – albeit with less capital and maybe fewer brands but how about VW diesel?
The management of VW seem to have been asleep at the wheel. We do not know yet if this disaster was due to a small number of software engineers or whether there was supervisory or management involvement.
Does VW have the will, the initiative or the vision to do what they need – to focus on Electric vehicles and clean up the environment with determination?
When Elon Musk was asked his view of #Dieselgate
It is unlikely that VW will drop all diesel production and focus on gasoline (petrol) cars and electric – I don’t think they have the guts or the vision but Joe Public is not limited by those considerations.
The public realisation that diesel and gas cars cannot be clean, cannot be green is growing fast. Battery power is growing fast too and electric cars are well out if their novelty stage.
The first mass car manufacturer to roll out large numbers of electric cars will trigger a stampede by all the major brands. All have well designed electric cars waiting for launch and are hanging back like shy teens at a dance.
Elon Musk has the boldness of vision but is a comparatively small niche brand. #Dieselgate may initiate the beginning of the conversion of a clean and green mass car industry.
This will clean the environment up significantly and make our job o detoxing our bodies easier. We have a lot to thank West Virginia University for!