VW loses EU court battle in diesel emissions scandal, in same week as release of new engine.
The court ruled, Volkswagen did breach the law by installing a defeat device on its cars intending to mislead emission tests. The company were told it cannot argue it was merely protecting car engines, a European court has ruled. So far the scandal has cost VW approximately 30 Billion euros.
Volkswagen argued the intention of using the software was to protect the engine for a longer period. Diesel gate first hit the headlines five years ago following an investigation by the US Environmental Protection Agency. The agency found Volkswagen had in fact installed special software, which could be used to rig US emissions tests for “clean diesel” vehicles.
Volkswagen has admitted to fitting millions of cars with the device along with the software, not only in the US but several other locations including Europe. Volkswagen attempted to justify the use in Europe due to different standards and the claim the device protects the engine.
Volkswagen was named “company X” in the European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruling, who established “a manufacturer cannot install a defeat device which systematically improves, during approval procedures, the performance of the vehicle emission control system and thus obtain approval of the vehicle”.
The case was bought to the ECJ following the Paris prosecutor’s office opening a judicial investigation into whether Volkswagen deceived buyers of diesel cars that included the device.
A technical ruling dismissed any idea that the presence of the device could be justified at all including the claims it contributes to preventing ageing or clogging up of the powertrain.
“In order to be justified, the presence of such a device must allow the engine to be protected against sudden and exceptional damage and that only those immediate risks of damage which give rise to a specific hazard when the vehicle is driven are such as to justify the use of a defeat device,” the court said.
Earlier this year the ECJ already confirmed that EU consumers can sue in the country where they purchased any Volkswagen vehicle that was fitted with the device, it is not required to take legal action in Germany.
Volkswagen has admitted that around 11 million diesel vehicles worldwide are fitted with the device and run the misleading software, the device helped reduced nitrogen oxide emissions when cars were being tested and analysed however during normal driving the vehicles were able to produce higher emissions and improved engine performance.
The timing of the ruling could be seen in a way ironic as Volkswagen only this week announced a new “clean and Cultivated” diesel engine, the 2.0 TDI with new Euro 6d emission compliance. Volkswagen claim it is the brands most important diesel engine, saying “is now in new top form” , the new engine will be used in the Golf, Tiguan, Passat and Arteon.
“The two-litre TDI engine remains one of our most important engines,” says Dr Frank Welsch, Member of the Board of Management responsible for Technical Development at Volkswagen. “It can be found in most of the brand’s models and in many of the Group’s models. For this reason, we spare no effort in consistently updating our successful diesel engine. In the version for the Euro 6d emission standard, it is now ready for the coming years.”
The four-cylinder TDI engine with the internal designation EA 288 made its debut in 2012. Six years later, it took an enormous development step forwards, and was therefore given the suffix “evo”. Practically speaking, this meant reduced consumption, lower emissions, quieter acoustics, more spontaneous response and significantly more output and torque. The engine was also prepared for integration into a mild hybrid system.
New technology status for the Golf 8. In summer 2019, the two-litre diesel engine’s technology was further updated for the new Golf. For this, a variant with lower output replaced the previous 1.6 TDI. The specifications stipulated that the engine had to comply with Euro 6 AP emission standard while at the same time also running more smoothly. Volkswagen opted for a dual strategy: detailed measures optimise the combustion process and reduced raw emissions, while twin dosing technology in the exhaust gas system converts the majority of nitrogen oxides into harmless substances.
The performance of the radiator for the low-pressure exhaust gas recirculation system has been increased by 25 percent – thus reducing the formation of nitrogen oxides in the combustion chamber in high-load phases when drivers put their foot down. The injectors, which inject the fuel into the combustion chambers, operate with constantly high precision because a sensor monitors needle closing. The injectors can deliver up to nine injections per combustion cycle, whereby some injected quantities are smaller than a pinhead. The maximum injection pressure is up to 2,200 bar – almost as much as the weight of two standard Golf cars on one square centimetre. Foam insulation under the engine cover panel and a new silencer improve acoustics. As previously, the 2.0 TDI in the output stages from 110 kW (150 PS)1/2 features two balance shafts to eliminate unwanted vibrations.
Two SCR catalytic converters for clean exhaust gas. Volkswagen developed twin dosing technology for exhaust gas treatment. Here, two SCR catalytic converters work together to split nitrogen oxides into water and nitrogen using AdBlue urea solution. Thanks to twin dosing, the emissions of both output variants of the new Golf 2.0 TDI1/2, for example, are well below the limits of the Euro 6d ISC-FCM AP emission standard, which now permits only 80 milligrams of NOx per kilometre. Volkswagen set itself this low value as its target in the real driving emissions (RDE) test – this is equivalent to a 50 percent reduction in nitrogen oxides compared with the predecessor standard Euro 6d-temp.
The first SCR catalytic converter is installed directly downstream of the engine. This has a volume of 3.4 litres and simultaneously acts as a particulate filter. Its task is to convert more than 90 percent of the nitrogen oxides when the exhaust gas temperature is between 220 and 350 degrees Celsius and the vehicle is being driven normally. Thanks to its close proximity to the engine, it already lights off shortly after a cold start. The second SCR catalytic converter is installed in the vehicle floor. It features a two-part design and, depending on the vehicle concept, has a volume of 2.5 to 3.0 litres. The catalytic converter installed further away from the engine performs the main share of nitrogen oxide conversion specifically at high loads and correspondingly high exhaust gas temperatures. The exhaust gas, which can have a temperature of over 500 degrees Celsius when leaving the engine, has cooled down to approximately 350 degrees Celsius when it reaches this component – and this once again permits high conversion rates.
Widespread use at Volkswagen. The 2.0 TDI with clean twin dosing technology already powers many of the brand’s models, including in the Golf, Tiguan, Passat and Arteon model series. It is also widely used at other Group brands, with both transverse and longitudinal installation. Volkswagen is continuing to work intensively on further development of its successful diesel engine: one goal is operation in combination with a 48-volt mild hybrid system.