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Old 09-26-2015, 11:42 AM   #141
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True, but the EV owner can choose a "green" different electrical supplier (on paper--the power still comes from the same place, but they trade credits).
And, should the electric power that goes to fuel an EV be subject to different criteria/fees/costs than the same power used to run residential lighting? The arbitrary "max" limits on various pollutants drive other tradeoffs that may not ultimately be in an individual's/society's best interests. If the introduction of these pollutants to the atmosphere causes damage, then include the remediation costs/counterincentive fee into the price of using it. That, better than anything else, will align the interests of people with that of everyone.
True, and I know we were warned to not turn this thread into a critique of the Govt agency, so I'll keep it brief, balanced, and relevant - First, I think the EPA has achieved a LOT of good. Our air is far cleaner than it has been in a long time, and I am happy about that. And I don't expect perfection or anything close. But you make a good point about 'big picture' - we have super tight regs on cars, while coal plants and big rigs are spewing out multiples of what our cars are.

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Like many discussions, repeated periodically.

You can almost always find a credible article to support whatever view you hold on the internet...
Yes, but WADR, I really don't do that. I look for sources, and then review their numbers to see if they make sense, I don't just look for support for my view. It's a bit of an ad-hominem attack (and I don't mean that personally, either way) - just because it is commonly done, does not mean I'm doing it in this case. If you can challenge my numbers/logic and educate me, please go ahead.

As far as EVs and a future clean grid - As I've said before, just like when we review our investments we need to look at the marginal tax rates that apply, not the average tax rates. EVs add demand to the grid, we need to look at the pollutants from the marginal energy production to charge that added demand. So even an 80% renewable grid will need more power, and with the renewables maxed out at 80%, it is going to be almost all 'dirty' power charging those EVs.

The point in time when we have enough excess 'green' electricity to charge an EV fleet large enough to make up some significant % of miles driven is so far away, that I feel it is rather silly to promote EVs today.

It's like saying we should have all bought Osborne 'luggable' computers when they were on the market, because someday laptops will be small, light, cheap, and powerful.

By the time we can really see a path to excess 'green' electricity, we will have time to get EVs on the road. Most of the stories predicting a high % of green energy just hand-wave the very real issues of storage, and other issues.

I honestly feel that by the time we can see that, other technologies will actually lead us down a different path. Just like the unforeseen automobile saved big cities from piles of manure and dead horses in the street, in just a few decades.

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Old 09-26-2015, 11:50 AM   #142
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I know it's been beaten to death in the press, but VW does have some interesting technology from time to time........

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Guess who gets blamed!
Old 09-26-2015, 06:08 PM   #143
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Guess who gets blamed!

So now the top brass at VW are blaming the code writers and engineers.....

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Top-ranking Volkswagen officials on Friday cast blame for the company's large-scale diesel emissions-fixing scandal on a small number of unidentified and relatively low-level engineers and technicians.

In public statements issued at the company's headquarters in Wolfsburg, Germany, new CEO Matthias Müller condemned the "unlawful behavior of engineers and technicians involved in engine development."
Full article: Volkswagen Blames Emissions Cheating Scandal on Low-Level Technicians | Common Dreams | Breaking News & Views for the Progressive Community
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Old 09-26-2015, 06:43 PM   #144
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Old 09-26-2015, 07:45 PM   #145
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So much good information is being shared here, I was hesitant to add anything and just be repetitive, but then I realized I have 1st hand experience with something very closely analogous to this, and some very direct (though brief) 1st hand experience with emission certification as well. But first:

I also would not be surprised if the CEO was kept in the dark. OTOH, he may have also given a wink and a nod, and just "make sure we pass that test", in such a way that the next level understood exactly what he meant. These people are (usually) too smart to put that in an email.

No, an outside company/University brought it to light - check the earlier links.



OK, earlier Midpack noted how the regulatory agencies (govt and private - like UL - this is not a political comment) have to rely on the data the company provides, though this is sometimes/often run through a 3rd party, if applicable. The agencies just don't have the resources to do all this testing themselves.

So that sure sounds like the fox guarding the hen-house. Checks and balances? Well, the products I worked on were subject to a very similar sort of govt health and safety regulation. I can say from 1st hand experience, our MegaCorp took this very seriously. I worked with the dept that did this test, and the other engineers that interfaced with them. There was a bit of a "Chinese Wall" between us and the actual testers, they didn't want some error or wrong thought process going across the two, that was a sort of check and balance. And we had to pass the test with some margin. It was a very difficult test to perform, took very specialized equipment, and was subject to variation depending on exactly how the test was performed. We didn't want to 'fail' due to a little test variation. I don't know, but we might have then sent it out to a 3rd party for independent testing, to submit those results to the agency, but we tested in house to have the confidence that the design would pass a 3rd party test.

During a critical point where we thought we might have had a few days of production of some of a product that might be slightly out of spec due to a slip up in our production process, they called in the guy that ran the test on that product from vacation, because the QC VP didn't want to take any risk that someone else might repeat the test in some slightly different fashion (though it was all carefully documented). They were serious about this stuff.

I could not imagine our MegaCorp cheating on this test. Not because of ethics - we used to say some of these guys would run over their grandmothers to get a shipment out the door and get it on the books for the quarter. But failing this test would bring similar negative press as VW (maybe worse). Checks and balances? Our competitors performed this test as well. We tested their products, they tested ours, that was a given (to learn from them as much/more than 'checking up' on them). If we were out of spec, they would have managed to get word to the media. I'm sure we would have done the same.

I'm a little surprised that VW competitors didn't see this. True, if they ran the strict EPA test profile, they'd get the same results. But they would be smart enough to do some other 'real world' tests. Some think that the other companies are guilty as well, but so far I don;t think these tests have shown problems with other vehicles.

My other 1st hand experience - I actually viewed an EPA emissions test run in the 80's. I knew an automotive engineer that worked on pollution controls, and went into work with him for a day. This wasn't a final certification test, but just an intermediate test, the engineers were just trying to validate the performance of some of the changes they made. The car's on a dyno, a driver has to follow a chart to keep the vehicle speed right within a certain range on this chart. Several cycles of accel, braking, idle, etc. The driver was like a skilled video game player. He knew just how to 'play' the pedals to keep it in range, and not get the equivalent of a TILT alarm, but still drive such to keep things as low as possible.

Since this was a test run, they had scopes and meters and dataloggers hooked up to everything, i addition to the actual tailpipe measurement. It was interesting to see. Yes, a computer/robot could replace that driver for even more consistency.

One more observation - if VW had just cheated by a little, they could have gotten away with it, because any 'real world' test will have variation compared to a dyno test. They got 'greedy' by emitting multiples (5x to 40x?), rather than just 20% more or something. That was just stupid.

-ERD50
I had the same job your friend had in the 80's. I worked with some of the guys that developed the test procedure and equipment required to perform the test. Like many gov't mandates, in the beginning no one knew how to achieve and/or measure the performance in a repeatable standardized fashion so private industry collaborated to achieve an acceptable solution. We shared the data tables (fuel maps, emission settings, etc.) with the gov't. I disagree with your conclusions about a competitor running a real world test. Most manufacturers are too busy keeping thier own products up to spec to do much exploratory testing of a competitor so I expect they would just run the standard test, especially since diesel emissions in passenger cars are really only significant to MB and VW. I wonder if the language difference may have led to the length of time for this to be discovered. The dyno test is very much as you describe but the driver has very little impact on the test results. These days I would be surprised they are using human operators.



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Old 09-26-2015, 09:20 PM   #146
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I had the same job your friend had in the 80's. I worked with some of the guys that developed the test procedure and equipment required to perform the test. Like many gov't mandates, in the beginning no one knew how to achieve and/or measure the performance in a repeatable standardized fashion so private industry collaborated to achieve an acceptable solution. We shared the data tables (fuel maps, emission settings, etc.) with the gov't. I disagree with your conclusions about a competitor running a real world test. Most manufacturers are too busy keeping thier own products up to spec to do much exploratory testing of a competitor so I expect they would just run the standard test, especially since diesel emissions in passenger cars are really only significant to MB and VW. I wonder if the language difference may have led to the length of time for this to be discovered. The dyno test is very much as you describe but the driver has very little impact on the test results. These days I would be surprised they are using human operators.
Similar experience and conclusions here.
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Old 09-26-2015, 09:45 PM   #147
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I had the same job your friend had in the 80's. I worked with some of the guys that developed the test procedure and equipment required to perform the test. Like many gov't mandates, in the beginning no one knew how to achieve and/or measure the performance in a repeatable standardized fashion so private industry collaborated to achieve an acceptable solution. We shared the data tables (fuel maps, emission settings, etc.) with the gov't. I disagree with your conclusions about a competitor running a real world test. Most manufacturers are too busy keeping thier own products up to spec to do much exploratory testing of a competitor so I expect they would just run the standard test, especially since diesel emissions in passenger cars are really only significant to MB and VW. I wonder if the language difference may have led to the length of time for this to be discovered. The dyno test is very much as you describe but the driver has very little impact on the test results. These days I would be surprised they are using human operators.
Well, my experience dates back to the 80's - so I would not be surprised if the driver is replaced by a robot now, but that's not really the issue - I was just relating what I saw at the time.

We can agree to disagree, I but suspect that competitors would be very curious as to how VW managed to pass the standard test, and not need advanced systems, yet still get the performance they did.

In our business, we routinely did 'tear-downs' of competitor's products, and tested them to figure out if they had some 'secret sauce' that we just had not figured out. I wouldn't expect the auto business to be much different in that regard.

In our industry, it would be near impossible to cheat on the test itself, it was too 'closed-loop'. It would be like if you could sum up the 'driving experience' of a car in the 0-60 mph time, and the emission test was performed during the 0-60 mph time. So if they cheated in such a way that reduced emissions, but hampered performance, the 0-60 time would have dropped. The cheat would be exposed.

In our industry, cheating would be more along the lines of using cherry-picked products to submit to the test, while the average production run wasn't held to those tolerances, so the typical product might be out of spec, and only the cherry picked samples passed. That is why our compliance department randomly selected a sample of our products to test, and we had no knowledge of when/where they got their samples (separate from our regular hour-to-hour, day-to-day QC checks).

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Old 09-26-2015, 09:58 PM   #148
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I'll second (or third?) your 'rolleyes".

As the article states:

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"This is ridiculous," Drum argued. "What incentive do low-level engineers and technicians have to do this on their own?"
Exactly - this had to be pushed from higher levels. Heck, it isn't until you get to the higher levels that anyone has overall responsibility for the emission test results, the low level coders are just working on their piece of the puzzle. They couldn't coordinate something like that. Not that I can see anyway.

My earlier explanation is a better fit - there are controls (debug flags) in the code for evaluation testing purposes that could be manipulated by some 'cheat' code at a higher level. The lower level programmers would not be aware that those debug flags were being used as a cheat. They already exist for valid purposes. "Hiding in plain site" as JoeWras put it.

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Old 09-27-2015, 08:36 AM   #149
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Yes, but WADR, I really don't do that. I look for sources, and then review their numbers to see if they make sense, I don't just look for support for my view. It's a bit of an ad-hominem attack (and I don't mean that personally, either way) - just because it is commonly done, does not mean I'm doing it in this case. If you can challenge my numbers/logic and educate me, please go ahead.
WADR, a different POV in itself is not an "attack." You've read the Seeking Alpha article. If you read the equally well written article I linked, you can decide for yourself - it's that simple.

I'll never own a Tesla Model S (too $), but I suspect their owners are capable of evaluating whether or not they are reducing their overall environmental footprint. If they live where natural gas, nuclear or hydro are the primary power plant fuels, their total footprint is less. Or if they rely on solar and/or wind for electricity. It appears to be closer to a push where coal is the sole source. Where those cities, states, regions are is well documented (and have been posted here before).
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Old 09-27-2015, 08:46 AM   #150
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So now the top brass at VW are blaming the code writers and engineers......................
I was thinking about this last night in the context that VW knew the jig was up a year and a half ago when the researchers initially reported back to VW with their findings. In the subsequent interval, VW threw up smoke and mirrors to try to explain the difference, all the while (I suspect) furiously tracing back through internal documents and sign offs to understand exactly how it all came down.

So, what we are seeing now is not a spontaneous as it would appear. They have had plenty of time to figure out what happened and to strategize next steps.

Oh to be a fly on those walls.........
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Old 09-27-2015, 08:55 AM   #151
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I can see this being limited to a small group of people, engineers and senior managers within the Volkswagen brand (one division of the VW group). From a VW Group corporate perspective they could be called "lower level", although we forum members would refer to them all as executives or senior managers. Certainly they all were highly compensated individuals that were involved in manufacturing and marketing. Not sure about design.

Modern corporate leadership sets highly ambitious goals, challenges middle management to deliver, and heavily rewards the top achievers. The executive team doesn't want to know the details, without doubt one reason is plausible deniability. The nature of the reward leads some to cross the line.

My guess is the defeat device is a common sw option that most auto manufacturers program. just to be able to measure the effect of emissions controls on performance. In the VW case it found it's way out of the lab and into regular production as part of an intense marketing effort to position the VW diesel as the global leader.
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Old 09-27-2015, 09:08 AM   #152
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Well, my experience dates back to the 80's - so I would not be surprised if the driver is replaced by a robot now, but that's not really the issue - I was just relating what I saw at the time.

We can agree to disagree, I but suspect that competitors would be very curious as to how VW managed to pass the standard test, and not need advanced systems, yet still get the performance they did.

In our business, we routinely did 'tear-downs' of competitor's products, and tested them to figure out if they had some 'secret sauce' that we just had not figured out. I wouldn't expect the auto business to be much different in that regard.

In our industry, it would be near impossible to cheat on the test itself, it was too 'closed-loop'. It would be like if you could sum up the 'driving experience' of a car in the 0-60 mph time, and the emission test was performed during the 0-60 mph time. So if they cheated in such a way that reduced emissions, but hampered performance, the 0-60 time would have dropped. The cheat would be exposed.

In our industry, cheating would be more along the lines of using cherry-picked products to submit to the test, while the average production run wasn't held to those tolerances, so the typical product might be out of spec, and only the cherry picked samples passed. That is why our compliance department randomly selected a sample of our products to test, and we had no knowledge of when/where they got their samples (separate from our regular hour-to-hour, day-to-day QC checks).

-ERD50
I generally agree with your observations based on my experiences. Yes there was definitely tremendous curiosity about how others achieved their results,but investigating software is significantly more complicated than evaluating hardware. The emissions group was generally considered "burden" by MegaMotors.....you don't see domestic manufacturers bragging about how good their emission are. Competitive product teardowns , durability testing etc are routine in the industry. If we could stick a competitors product alongside our own and run the test it was easy to get budget. Digging into software code is another matter.
There is a thread on Seeking Alpha where a poster commented that Bob Lutz, a retired GM exec was interviewed on CNBC and he supposedly gave the Opel engineers a lot of grief over not being able to match VW's results.
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Old 09-27-2015, 09:18 AM   #153
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I generally agree with your observations based on my experiences. Yes there was definitely tremendous curiosity about how others achieved their results,but investigating software is significantly more complicated than evaluating hardware. The emissions group was generally considered "burden" by MegaMotors.....you don't see domestic manufacturers bragging about how good their emission are. Competitive product teardowns , durability testing etc are routine in the industry. If we could stick a competitors product alongside our own and run the test it was easy to get budget. Digging into software code is another matter.
There is a thread on Seeking Alpha where a poster commented that Bob Lutz, a retired GM exec was interviewed on CNBC and he supposedly gave the Opel engineers a lot of grief over not being able to match VW's results.
Lutz was always giving the Opel guys grief LOL The Story Behind The Best Bob Lutz Photo Ever - The Truth About Cars
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Old 09-27-2015, 09:18 AM   #154
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WADR, a different POV in itself is not an "attack." You've read the Seeking Alpha article. If you read the equally well written article I linked, you can decide for yourself - it's that simple. ...
I did read the article, and if you analyze their information, rather than just their hand-wave conclusion, you'll see it largely supports my view.

Quote:
I'll never own a Tesla Model S (too $), but I suspect their owners are capable of evaluating whether or not they are reducing their overall environmental footprint. ...
Unfortunately, I think the average person really is not capable of (or at least does not invest the time/effort) evaluating whether or not they are reducing their overall environmental footprint. Very few people dig up numbers from sources and do the math that is needed. They see the "Zero Pollution" sticker, and that's as far as many will go.

It's not simple to calculate the power used by an EV, and translate this to pollution from the source. You need to go to several sources, verify they are legit and in agreement, make numerous conversions between kWh, BTU, ppm, #/mile, grams/km, and on and on. Tesla's own white paper on this subject was full of bad calculations and bad assumptions. No, I don't think the average person does this at all.


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If they live where natural gas, nuclear or hydro are the primary power plant fuels, their total footprint is less. Or if they rely on solar and/or wind for electricity. It appears to be closer to a push where coal is the sole source. Where those cities, states, regions are is well documented (and have been posted here before).
I'll ask you to evaluate my statement about marginal power generation. Any grid has only X amount of renewables. Adding EVs adds demands, and draws on the 'dirty side'. You can crank up a fossil fuel plant, you can't crank up the sun or wind. You can add more turbines and solar panels, but again - until there is routinely an excess of green energy, it really makes almost no difference. Those EVs are drawing on non-renewables. Explain how it can be otherwise. Averages don't matter, it's the added draw that has to be supported. If you can show me a flaw in that thinking, please do. But don't just say "Anyone can find support for anything", it's not meaningful.

There isn't much opportunity to add hydro, and it takes many years for a new hydro plant to offset the CO2 created by its construction (cement and flooded land). Solar makes up ~ 0.4% of generation in US, and wind is single digits. We are a long, long way from routinely having enough excess to charge an EV fleet.

How many EV owners are aware of that? And if EVs go mainstream, how many average people (rather than early adopters, who are probably more knowledgeable) know things like that?

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Old 09-27-2015, 09:28 AM   #155
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I generally agree with your observations based on my experiences. Yes there was definitely tremendous curiosity about how others achieved their results,but investigating software is significantly more complicated than evaluating hardware. The emissions group was generally considered "burden" by MegaMotors.....you don't see domestic manufacturers bragging about how good their emission are. Competitive product teardowns , durability testing etc are routine in the industry. If we could stick a competitors product alongside our own and run the test it was easy to get budget. Digging into software code is another matter.
There is a thread on Seeking Alpha where a poster commented that Bob Lutz, a retired GM exec was interviewed on CNBC and he supposedly gave the Opel engineers a lot of grief over not being able to match VW's results.
Let me clarify. I didn't mean to suggest they were digging into their competitor's software. I only meant that I think it was likely that they checked their competitors performance on the standard test, and after seeing that they passed the test, even w/o advanced hardware, and got good performance, that they might run some 'real world tests' to try to figure out how they did this. If the reports are accurate that VW spews out 10-40x what would be expected, this would be pretty obvious. They might not have even been suspecting cheating, just trying to get some clues to out how they did it. And it would be obvious that they didn't do it, not in real world tests.

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Old 09-27-2015, 09:29 AM   #156
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Blaming low level employees is essentially admitting management has no control and no knowledge of what is happening within the organization they are supposed to be responsible for which is worse than just saying "we screwed up-we need to find and fix the broken links in our management and control systems". It's the 1st Rule of Holes.
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Old 09-27-2015, 09:35 AM   #157
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My guess is the defeat device is a common sw option that most auto manufacturers program. just to be able to measure the effect of emissions controls on performance. ... .
That's exactly the scenario I outlined in my post #95. It's common to have these options available in complex code for debug and evaluation. And they don't really have to 'make their way' into the final code - they leave them there for future use and debugging, and for future versions - that's just how it is done. They don;t take them out and then put them back in later, they are part of the code. JoeWras, who worked directly on embedded sw (I worked with the people who wrote the code, one step removed), agreed with that observation.

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Old 09-27-2015, 09:35 AM   #158
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I'll ask you to evaluate my statement about marginal power generation. Any grid has only X amount of renewables. Adding EVs adds demands, and draws on the 'dirty side'. You can crank up a fossil fuel plant, you can't crank up the sun or wind. You can add more turbines and solar panels, but again - until there is routinely an excess of green energy, it really makes almost no difference. Those EVs are drawing on non-renewables. Explain how it can be otherwise. Averages don't matter, it's the added draw that has to be supported. If you can show me a flaw in that thinking, please do. But don't just say "Anyone can find support for anything", it's not meaningful.
To pick just one element of your POV. If EVs only add demand, there's no electricity used to refine gasoline? I'll let you do your own search, and your own "math."

I only know two Model S owners personally, but I've read the considerable posts of a few others here - they seem to be far more intelligent than you seem to believe.
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Old 09-27-2015, 09:40 AM   #159
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Lutz was always giving the Opel guys grief LOL The Story Behind The Best Bob Lutz Photo Ever - The Truth About Cars
Thanks! Probably the best old photo of Bob Lutz out there.

With respect to Tesla and VW diesel purchase reasons, I know two Tesla owners, neither of which spent $100K to get the car because of less pollution reasons. They bought for the performance and additional savings from no liquid fuel use. I suspect they understand the emissions rewards, but it was not a driving force in their decision to make the purchase.

I know many (20+) VW TDI owners and if you asked them why they bought their cars, the vast majority would answer for MPG and torque performance. Some may put engine longevity as a first reason. As for pollution benefits, probably no one would make that a top priority. It is what it is.

Interestingly, VW didn't get on the low emissions (aka, clean diesel) bandwagon until the 2009+ models were developed and were using common rail injection technology. Models before common rail were injected using unit injectors (one injector per cylinder, 2005 -2006 model years only), and earlier models using a mechanical injection pump. Earlier models *reportedly* met US emission standards, although they were more relaxed in those years (1998 - 2006).
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Old 09-27-2015, 09:42 AM   #160
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I scanned this entire thread and maybe I missed it on here but somewhere there is some comment about SEC violations if VW admitted to EPA that they cheated without publicly disclosing this info that is material to their stock price.
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