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Easy-pd
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Who is next?

Post by Easy-pd » Tue Sep 22, 2015 11:04 pm

So VW have had a major kicking by (by my understanding) playing with the engine mapping so that during regulatory emissions testing it runs super clean and efficient and then switches back afterwards to its normal air polluting self.

11 million vehicles affected!! :shock:

There are major enquiries going on and 20% wiped of VAGs share prices. They claim to have 'totally screwed up'

I think there is a set process to check the figures, so the map is designed to recognise this and run clean for the period of the test and then revert to normal after.

Whilst bad in some eyes, I see it that they spotted a flaw in the tests and engineered the cars to exploit it. If you are given a benchmark figure to meet and there is a way to exploit the target, wouldn't you? Is it any difference than stripping the car, running skinny tyres and a thimble of fuel for the 0-60 and efficiency figures? I have never met manufacturers claimed performances in any car I've owned. The trip computer always shows mpg far better than actual in any car I've been in.

Doing what they did must have made quite a difference and I am sure all manufacturers have depts that test rivals cars to copy ideas and methods. Based on this, there must have been manufacturers who thought 'wonder why vws are so clean when our engines are so similar, let's pull it apart and find out'

I just think vw were unlucky in that they were caught first. I would even go further in saying that I reckon it's a widespread practice and there are a lot of manufacturers out there crapping bricks.

So, who's next? I reckon another German company. Comments?

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Post by BarryM » Tue Sep 22, 2015 11:48 pm

I was thinking the same, guess it comes down to how much of a betting man you are.

Maybe the other manufacturers were either more scrupulous or didn't have the balls to try and blag it, as you say it will be interesting to see who if any followed suit because this must have been known about in the industry.
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Post by Elan » Tue Sep 22, 2015 11:50 pm

It will be interesting to see how the other VW group/subsidiaries cars fair, like Audi, Seat, Skoda and even Porsche!

They do share technology so why would they hide this secret.
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Post by Easy-pd » Wed Sep 23, 2015 7:09 am

It said it was the engine from the Passat, beetle and 'some' skoda and audi

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Post by Hodge » Wed Sep 23, 2015 7:37 am

I was wondering how this would affect rolling road figures for those guys looking for performance figures especially the Horse Power chasers, surely if the way the software detects it is on a rolling road test is knowing the steering is inert and the non driving wheels are not turning, then it would mess up the BHP figures as well. I think less fuelling to decrease emissions must decrease the measured BHP.

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Post by John_C » Wed Sep 23, 2015 9:33 am

Our system in the EU is completely different to the one in the US, but cars have been mapped specifically to give good results in the tests over here for a long, long time.

I've got a ten year old Clio 182 in the garage and it has (well, had, until it was remapped ;) ) a noticeable flat spot in the map at around 4000 rpm - because it lowers emissions at the point where the test measurements are done. People think it's a VVT kick when the power comes back in after the dip, but it's not, the map just leans out at that point.

If you want to know why you can never reproduce the test results in your own car have a read of the methodology we use in the EU - it's a total joke. Due to be replaced in a few years with something that actually reflects real world use.

http://www.dft.gov.uk/vca/fcb/the-fuel- ... scheme.asp
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Post by scalesg » Sat Sep 26, 2015 7:56 pm

Just been reading up on this, and it's quite interesting....
The cars (VW and I am positive other manufacturers!!) know when they are being tested and have "cycle beaters" and reduce emissions to pass the test. In the EU this is fine and pretty much accepted although probably not quite legal, but in the U.S. You have to sign a piece of paper that says the car is this efficient ALL the time. This is where it has fallen over for EU cars. Interestingly, and maybe sceptical, is that American car manufacturers have possibly been involved in this so they can benefit from it..... Read below, lengthy but interesting!!
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Post by scalesg » Sat Sep 26, 2015 7:58 pm

This is a brilliant post copied from the Midweek Motorsport Collective

"Eve asked me to put a post together to explain the VW situation and cut through all the ill informed mainstream media. So, here goes...

What VW have done is this; their diesel engine ECUs include some coding known in the industry as a "cycle beater". Cycle beaters recognise when a car is undergoing an emissions test. They can do this because the drive cycles (consisting of set speeds and acc/decelerations for certain durations) utilised for emissions testing are very prescriptive and consequently, recognisable. The drive cycle in the US is defined by the EPA and in Europe by the EC, known as the New European Drive Cycle (NEDC), although it's actually some 40 years old now! Both cycles are different and consequently pretty hard to compare, although they do both follow the same prescriptive philosophy. When the ECU/cycle beater recognises an emissions test is occurring the engine then employs a mode that improves emissions test results and there are several ways of doing this. This is on the assumption that one cycle beater can recognise either of the two drive cycles.

Cycle beaters are not illegal in Europe, all the OEMs use every trick they can to get the best result possible. Why wouldn't they when the loopholes are there and they're operating in such a competitive market!? Cycle beaters are only one such trick and many, if not all, of the OEMs are at it and not just for emissions testing. However, much like tax avoidance, it is up to the legislators to close these loopholes, rather than publicly condone an OEM for not sticking within the spirit of the regulations. They have not broken the law after all. However, in the US things are different...

When certifying a car for sale in the EU an OEM is only obliged to present a production specification vehicle for approval that must then pass the test there and then, as presented. These tests are witnessed by an authority, often a government department, to ensure the test is conducted correctly. Even for retests during production runs, conducted on randomly selected cars, (known as Conformity of Production), the car must only pass the test there and then, as presented. Therefore, the production vehicles have cycle beaters built in to their ECUs so they are representative of production specification cars. Again, none of this is illegal in the EU.

This is where VW have fallen down though. In the US, approval tests are self certified and generally unwitnessed, although I'm told emissions are the exception and the EPA do witness these tests. The OEM presents a test report as evidence that they comply with the regulation and in doing so are stating they are compliant AT ALL TIMES, not just in the test laboratory. This is where the US and EU approval processes differ the most.

Understandably, VW have pursued global build standards for their vehicles to save cost and complexity, whereby the same specification of car can be sold in the EU or US. However, in doing so they have failed to remove the cycle beaters that are legal in the EU and contravened the US regulations. Whether this has happened because of arrogance in taking a (mis)calculated risk or a lack of respect for the US regulations, we cannot say for definite. All we do know is that VW got caught and the US legal system is such that woe betide anyone who does not comply with their regulations, they'll be hit by punitive fines that could kill them off for good. VW stole a march on everyone else with diesel sales into the US (Audi's ALMS R10 TDI programme played it's part in this) and a conspiracy theorist might like to suggest that a thorn in GM and Ford's side has now been dealt with...but of course there is zero evidence for this.

So that's what happened to VW and the consequences for them and OEMs importing into the US as a whole could be huge. Based on the numbers that have been mentioned, I would say VW's marketing budget, including motorsport activities, could be at risk from the amount they'll have to pay out in legal fees and fines over the coming months.

Emissions were already a political hot potato and things could be about to get hotter... For example, the EC will likely be asking questions of KBA, the German approval authority, for potentially knowingly approving vehicles that do not comply with the spirit of the law. How much of a legal case, the EC and anyone else in the EU will have, as the law has not actually been broken, remains to be seen. One for the lawyers to fight out...
Also, the UK is currently being fined by the EC for below par air quality. You'd think the Environment Agency will now be arguing that this poor air quality is not their fault but the fault of VWs and perhaps other cars, not necessarily having fully EU compliant exhaust emissions...despite the approvals being in place from KBA. How this all pans out will be fascinating and the consequences could be huge. It is worth pointing out that the public have nothing to worry about, this should not cost them any money or inconvenience. A recall to recalibrate ECUs and remove cycle beaters is possible though I suppose, pointless as that would be. It could be a lucrative time for emissions test organisations too.

I would imagine engine calibration departments across European OEMs importing into the US are busy and uncomfortable places to work at the moment.

I hope that sheds some light and understanding into what's happened and what the implications could be going forward. As always, don't believe everything you read in the mainstream media.

Personally, I feel sorry for VW and fear for their and my beloved Audi's future but it seems they could've brought it on themselves, time will tell..."
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Post by GuyW » Sun Sep 27, 2015 9:29 am

Great article. Sorts out much of the confusion.

I know from cleaning the exhaust tips of the D5 that it gives out very little muck. They stay much cleaner than my sons Audi TTS.

And whether they frig the test or not, driving down the target test levels of emissions as they have with Euro 1 - 6, the cars must be getting cleaner.
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Re: Who is next?

Post by mac » Wed Jan 20, 2016 6:29 pm

Easy-pd wrote:So VW have had a major kicking by (by my understanding) playing with the engine mapping so that during regulatory emissions testing it runs super clean and efficient and then switches back afterwards to its normal air polluting self.

11 million vehicles affected!! :shock:

There are major enquiries going on and 20% wiped of VAGs share prices. They claim to have 'totally screwed up'

I think there is a set process to check the figures, so the map is designed to recognise this and run clean for the period of the test and then revert to normal after.

Whilst bad in some eyes, I see it that they spotted a flaw in the tests and engineered the cars to exploit it. If you are given a benchmark figure to meet and there is a way to exploit the target, wouldn't you? Is it any difference than stripping the car, running skinny tyres and a thimble of fuel for the 0-60 and efficiency figures? I have never met manufacturers claimed performances in any car I've owned. The trip computer always shows mpg far better than actual in any car I've been in.

Doing what they did must have made quite a difference and I am sure all manufacturers have depts that test rivals cars to copy ideas and methods. Based on this, there must have been manufacturers who thought 'wonder why vws are so clean when our engines are so similar, let's pull it apart and find out'

I just think vw were unlucky in that they were caught first. I would even go further in saying that I reckon it's a widespread practice and there are a lot of manufacturers out there crapping bricks.

So, who's next? I reckon another German company. Comments?

Renault apparently!
http://www.theguardian.com/business/201 ... sions-test

Others could follow, one article I read mentioned BMW but I can't seem to find it at the minute.

Aah! Remembered it was 'Which Magazine' talking of petrol powered as well as diesel cars giving off up to 15 times more carbon monoxide (and other gases) than stated above the safe levels although that was another marque but BMW mentioned as I stated earlier.
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Post by Easy-pd » Wed Jan 20, 2016 6:37 pm

I don't think I'm affected, as I believe there weren't enough made to bother with emissions tests (or that's what I'm told why I pay through the nose for road tax!!)

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