Thursday

22nd Feb 2018

Investigation

EU scientists find VW car more polluting after Dieselgate 'fix'

  • A Volkswagen Tiguan, many of which were equipped with cheating software (Photo: Abdullah AlBargan)

The EU's scientific institute in Italy has found that a Volkswagen (VW) diesel car became dirtier after the software was updated to no longer detect when it was being tested, according to a source who spoke on condition of anonymity.

The Joint Research Centre, which has an emissions test laboratory in Ispra, Italy, has carried out a before-and-after test on the Volkswagen Tiguan – one of the models the German company had equipped with illegal software to fool emissions tests.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

  • Some 11 million engines in VW cars around the world had been equipped with emissions cheating software (Photo: Tony Hisgett)

According to the source, who is close to the JRC, researchers found that emissions were higher than before Volkswagen “fixed” the car, which is an SUV model.

A second source confirmed that the JRC had planned to test the Volkswagen Tiguan, but could not confirm the results.

Another EU source said the information could not be confirmed "at this stage".

The source added that "the commission is not running market surveillance tests" but "is closely following VW's own commitments to bring the engines affected by manipulations to full conformity with the applicable type-approval rules."

After Volkswagen's emissions fraud was detected in the US in September 2015, the company promised to remove the emissions cheating part of the software from its 8.5 million diesel cars driving around in Europe.

Volkswagen promised the software update would be carried out by the autumn of 2017, and that it would not negatively affect the car's emissions.

The JRC, the European Commission's in-house science body, has one of Europe's most advanced emissions testing laboratories, and regularly tests cars on the road.

It has always baffled politicians how VW would be able to remove the cheating software without worsening the car's emissions performance – after all, why would the cheating software have been necessary in the first place if the fix were so simple?

The promise that Volkswagen could remove the illegal cheating software without negatively impacting emissions was viewed with scepticism already in a hearing in the UK's House of Commons, some months after the scandal broke.

“It just does not seem to make sense,” said MP Will Quince in a January 2016 hearing in the House of Commons with Volkswagen engineer Oliver Schmidt and managing director of Volkswagen UK, Paul Willis.

“There is a relatively easy fix, which Mr Schmidt tells us you have done via a software upgrade,” added Quince.

According to the Volkswagen witnesses, that was possible because technology has advanced in the past ten years. But that still left the question as to why the emissions software had not been updated before.

“If that is the case, and it has been there for 10 years, why did you need to put in the defeat device in the first place?,” said MP Huw Merriman.

Schmidt and Willis did not have an answer. Schmidt is now in custody in the United States.

The report on higher emissions followed numerous reports from Volkswagen owners that their cars' fuel efficiency had worsened after being treated post-Dieselgate.

VW 'partially' delivers on EU-wide plan

German carmaker had promised the EU that all its citizens who own a diesel car with cheating software would be informed by the end of the year, but now it says it needs more time.

News in Brief

  1. Belgian PM to host 11 EU leaders ahead of summit
  2. Tusk all but rules out pan-EU candidates in 2019 elections
  3. Tusk: EU budget agreed before 2019 elections 'unrealistic'
  4. Commission fines car cartels €546m
  5. Juncker: 'nothing' wrong in Katainen meeting Barroso
  6. Juncker appoints new head of cabinet
  7. MEPs decide not to veto fossil fuel projects list
  8. Factory relocation risks drawing Vestager into Italian election

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Aid & Trade LondonJoin Thousands of Stakeholders of the Global Aid Industry at Aid & Trade London
  2. Macedonian Human Rights Movement Int.European Free Alliance Joins MHRMI to End the Anti-Macedonian Name Negotiations
  3. International Climate ShowSupporting Start-Ups & SMEs in the Energy Transition. 21 February in Brussels
  4. Mission of China to the EUChina-EU Tourism Year to Promote Business and Mutual Ties
  5. European Jewish CongressAt “An End to Antisemitism!” Conference, Dr. Kantor Calls for Ambitious Solutions
  6. UNESDAA Year Ago UNESDA Members Pledged to Reduce Added Sugars in Soft Drinks by 10%
  7. International Partnership for Human RightsUzbekistan: Investigate Torture of Journalist
  8. EPSUMovie Premiere: 'Up to The Last Drop' - 22 February, Brussels
  9. CESICESI@Noon on ‘Digitalisation & Future of Work: Social Protection For All?’ - March 7
  10. UNICEFExecutive Director's Committment to Tackling Sexual Exploitation and Abuse of Children
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersState of the Nordic Region 2018: Facts, Figures and Rankings of the 74 Regions
  12. Mission of China to the EUDigital Economy Shaping China's Future, Over 30% of GDP

Latest News

  1. UK seeks flexible transition length after Brexit
  2. Commission defence of Barroso meeting leaves 'discrepancies'
  3. MEPs bar WMD and killer robots from new EU arms fund
  4. Canete gets EU parliament pension while still commissioner
  5. Bank of Latvia sends deputy to ECB amid bribery probe
  6. We are not (yet) one people
  7. Intellectual property protection - the cure for Europe's ills
  8. Eastern states push back at rule of law conditions on funds