The Great V-Dub Flub of 2015

rickard

 
Volkswagen AG shares opened down 20% this morning after last Friday’s shocking EPA letter/press release announcing an EPA recall of 482,000 “clean” diesel TDI engined vehicles manufatured between 2009 and 2015. The only thing similar in auto history might be GM’s announcement of pending bankruptcy in 2009. The drop in stock price represents an over $15 billion spanking to shareholder value and indeed, at market open panicked selling reached -23% before some slight recovery ensued.

Basically, VW was caught red-handed gaming the emissions test system. The firmware in their engine control unit would dramatically reduce fuel flow during emissions tests, and restore it once returned to normal road operation. As a result, the cars put out 15 to 40 times greater nitrous oxide levels on the road than they did under emissions testing.

Ironically, this essentially criminal activity was discovered by the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT) while it was trying to prove how very CLEAN diesel technology had become. They found the VW/Audi TDI engined vehicles unbelievably higher in emissions than they tested at. Rumor control central would have us believe that they mentioned this to a U.S. Automaker who then of course gleefully tipped the EPA to it. Further testing was done and what the EPA describes as a “software switch” was detected.

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This morning, VW chairman Dr. Martin Winterkorn is apologizing to anyone who will listen in terms we’ve never heard from an auto executive before. The timing is too exquisite as the the VW supervisory board was already scheduled to take up the issue of renewing his contract this week. And the incident is sufficiently embarassing that I would say firing Wintercorn will be just the beginning of the carnage.

VW has struggled to capture U.S. market share and the clean diesel was their main spearhead in the effort. Over 20% of their new car sales in the U.S. are diesel.

We’ve panned the company unmercifully on the electric car front for issuing hundreds of press releases over the past five years detailing electric car plans that never actually result in any rolling hardware to speak of. The eGolf is the only model really available in the U.S. in microscopic numbers.

But finally they appeared to be taking a bit of aim with the introduction of the “sporty” electric SUV called the E-Tron Quattro concept. This battery electric SUV with 311 mile range would appear to be a direct hit on the Tesla Model X, which begins shipments September 29. Unfortunately, the E-Tron Quattro is scheduled for introduction in early 2018.

The EPA announcement, which left little wiggle room, essentially destroys VW’s “green cred” reputation as a clean car maker. In addition to the $15 billion stock hit, costs to recall and fix 482,000 vehicles could approach $35,000 per vehicle by some estimates. This is just under $17 billion. And there remains the possibility of record setting fines and even criminal prosecution of VW executives.

AFTER they get all that sorted out, VW basically comes out of all this with the reputation of being the dirtiest most climate hostile automaker on the planet. How do you fix that?

As always, I have some thoughts freely available for them to studiously ignore (at their peril).

First, get with the electric car game. Redefine VW as an electric car company. Shitcan the whole diesel gig. It isn’t working for you. They have tons of electric car designs at hand and one of the greatest engineering teams in Europe. They COULD do it.

But they are badly behind. Unfortunately, the Audi E-Tron Quattro is scheduled for introduction in early 2018. Nothing like introducing a car that is almost as good as the Tesla Model X – two years later.
audi-e-tron-quattro-01-1

Worse, there is a hugish problem with the Audi E-Tron. Yes, it has a 95 kWh battery pack, assuming LGChem can deliver on their so far mythical new battery. How do you fill it?

Tesla has over 500 charging stations and at least 2500 charging stalls on the ground now and they are putting in 3 per week.

Now let’s take our Model X and our E-Tron and hook them up with two reporters in San Francisco. Let’s race to New York City.

The Tesla can stop at any point more or less 80 miles apart along the way for a nearly full recharge in 30 minutes. VW has allied with the SAE standard, which in addition to not precisely existing with actual charge stations anywhere in the U.S., can barely do 50kW as it stands now. It would take 2 hours to recharge IF there were stations by 2018.

This is why I thought all automakers would kiss the ring and take a knee two years ago on announcment of the Tesla fast charging network. While they hem and haw, Tesla builds out this charging network which is actually the KEY competitive advantage in the e-car space. Neither the financial community nor the automotive industry has quite picked up on this extremely basic and extremely obvious point.

I can drive my Model S anywhere in the country I want NOW. And my fuel costs are ZERO. ALL other electric cars, actually even including the Tesla Roadster, CANNOT. In all value proposition comparisons, car X loses to Tesla – not some portion. But 100% of the time.

Audi/VW has to come up with an answer to this or get massacred in the marketplace. Nissan can sell Leaf’s without this. But they aren’t really competing with Tesla. They’re selling a local errand 2nd car for cheap. They don’t need to drive across country. But if you intend to introduce a luxury car on par with TEsla (Audi/Porsche/BMW) you will address this issue or watch hopelessly as you sell essentially ZERO cars into this market.
audi-e-tron-quattro-06-1

Two years ago, Musk left the door open to cooperating with other automakers on the charging network. At this late point, I think he would be hard pressed to honor that notion. First the Tesloids would go CRAZY if they had to wait for an Audi to finish charging before they could charge their brand new Model X. Second, it truly is a competitive advantage. Why would he give it up?

There IS a seam in the zone here that VW could explore. Musk also said he would not pursue litigation of patents – even going so far as to describe Tesla patents as “open source.”

What if Audi pulled an EVTV and reverse engineered the charging system of the Tesla charging network. Simply outfitted their cars to do the same CAN exchange and installed the same connectors and the same 120kw (150kw would be better) charging structure.

I know what you are thinking, they would be STEALING electricity from Tesla. Hardly a good clean cred public relations move. And anyway, Tesla does use VIN numbers in their charging protocol so they could just not charge the cars.

But that’s not what I am suggesting. I’m suggesting that VW build out their OWN charging network. A network compatible with the Tesla charging network.

Why?

A couple of reasons. Picture VW building a national U.S. network (Europe too of course) of 500 charge locations using essentially the stolen TEsla technology. True Tesla uses VIN numbers to validate charging. BUT VW DOESN’T HAVE TO. They can simply charge all comers that comply with the spec. INCLUDING ALL TESLA MODEL S AND MODEL X cars.

Let that sink in.

Now picture a Bavarian Castle on Interstate 70 with a big VW logo on it. Huge solar installation with batteries. 16 charge stalls. AND, (I’m never going to give this up) the most upscale convenience store on the planet. Starbucks coffee. Pita pockets. Vitamin water. Big Gulps. Ho-ho’s. Funyums. And here’s the hidden key I’ve never revealed.

Take a survey of the wives. Ask any woman. 100% of them are actually HORRIFIED at the thought of using a convenience store restroom on the road. They’d rather hold it for 700 miles. This is an American female secret. They would sooner pee in a beer bottle in the back of a dump truck full of polecats going 80 mph down a washboard gravel road than to SET FOOT in a convenience store restroom. I literally mean they don’t want to stand in the middle of the room – much less actually USE it.

To find out why, simply visit one.

Now go ask your wife if what I’m saying is spot freakin on the mark, or if I err. I COULD of course be wrong. Side bet?

So put a country club style locker room in the VW Castle for the femme fatales. With an attendant that keeps it scrupulously clean.

Of course, I would price the Funyums and Cheese Goldfish perhaps a tad higher than you find in most convenience stores. Perhaps a sushi bar to restore America’s penchant for gas station sushi.

The hard truth is, convenience stores are among the most profitable businesses in the WORLD. More American millionaires are made in the gas station convenience store world than ANY other industry including software, real estate, and the Internet.

Now picture VW with a worldwide network of very profitable SOLAR electric car charging station convenience stores with what’s his names Solar Roadways panels paving them and solar panels all over the place in a Bavarian castle motif with country club restrooms and gas station sushi – and the best coffee in the world.

Sounds expensive? Indeed, I’ve actually read financial pundits who should know better note the squaderous spendthrift Elon Musk throwing over a billion into this stupid charge network. SEC filings, publicly available to anyone who can read at the Catholic fourth-grade level, which kind of defines the educational attainment of your typical college educated Democrat, would indicate about $163 million total investment so far. As there is a time lag, I’ll go $200 million.

Assuming a lavish $3 million budget for each of these charge locations, and 500 of them, you really ARE looking at $1.5 billion. That’s 10% of what VW lost THIS MORNING.

Now how can Tesla complain about this. It actually EXTENDS the charging network for THEIR cars. In the end game, they kind of have to reciprocate. And suddenly there are 1000 charge locations at 150kW.

Indeed, even on proposal, if I went to Tesla and asked to buy the charge station hardware, the batteries, and the Solar installation from Solar City, from the beginning, what do you imagine the response would be?

And there’s your deal. Charging on the Tesloids network, using Tesla technology, with an agreement to build 500 charging locations over four years, with Tesla providing the lion’s share of the equipment. But as VW branded, clean solar electric – very visible to every woman in the country with a bladder. They’ll be stopping there in gas powered Cadillac Escalades just for the washroom.

Meanwhile dust off the 120 VW electric car press releases you’ve issued over the last six years, and try to envision any of them actually being manufactured. It’s hard to get busted on an emission test if you don’t have to take one.

Michael Horn is the president and CEO of Volkswagen Group of America (VWGOA) as well as president for the Volkswagen of America brand. Horn assumed this position in January 2014. Assuming you survive the pogrom and remain orange-free in your fashion choices, give me a call. We’ll do lunch. Maybe get liquored up, play with some high voltage, and go for a drive.

Jack Rickard

70 thoughts on “The Great V-Dub Flub of 2015”

  1. Heh, that brings up an interesting idea. Rather than hack the Tesla SuperCharger network to use it as-is we could hack it to build our own charging station and open source that design. That would totally blow the doors off the exclusivity of the Super Charger network as Elon *did* say he was open sourcing their patents and we would also be open sourcing the whole design. Anyone could take the design and place a SuperCharger anywhere they wanted to. We could build them too. Something like that very well could secure the SC network as “the” charging network. Of course, it is a lot of work and who knows how many foreheads at Tesla would ignite. But, if someone can build a 100kw inverter they could build a 100kw charger too. In many ways a charger is far easier than an inverter. Anyone want to build something big and play with high voltage?

    1. Paulo was originally supposed to turn up next week with one. I gave him a couple thousand dollars worth of new CREE MosFet components to do it and he had a student doing the passive component design – caps and coil.

      The concept is a battery powered high power charge station rather than a 3-phase powered one. Charge the batteries by solar and grid slowly, and dump them into a car quickly in 30 minutes.

      I don’t see why we couldn’t do both CHAdeMO and Tesla charge network protocols.

      1. I don’t see why not either. It sounds like a project that is timely and relevant. Fast charging is likely the key to breaking the public’s reluctance to go EV all the way. I hope Paulo has some progress in building something.

        Also, it might soon be time to get an SC capture.

    2. The inverter is actually easier than a charger. Just a three phase full bridge out of IGBTs. Charger is made out of a PFC stage and then the bridge. You have quite a lot thinking going into magnetics for both stages, isolation, and switching trade-off. And one big difference – 100kW inverter is usually more like a 30kW inverter continuous.

      1. Not really Michal. Connected to the DC source we need neither PFC nor isolation nor three phases. Just a couple of switches and a bit of capacitance and a bit of inductance. But you are correct in that we want 300 amps CONTINUOUS and that leads us to liquid cooling and very low power loss CREE MOSFETs capable of switching at say 100 kHz. And of course a CAN control board.

  2. We are doomed. Our complex society depends upon most people acting fairly most of the time. If a firm as respected as VW is prepared to act in such a feral manner and no one blows the whistle (this isn’t a rogue engineer – the software must have been specified, built, integrated and tested by several teams) then there is insufficient decency left in society to sustain it.

    Vehicle exhaust has been implicated in retarded brain development in children and higher death rates among asthmatics. I am in general opposed to the death penalty – but I would be tempted to consider an exception under certain limited circumstances for VW executives

    1. Too many people look at the world through rose colored glasses. Corporations (some would say governments too) exist to make a profit and a large return on investment for their shareholders. A corporation doesn’t have a soul, conscience, and cares not what is right and just. It’s all about the money. The decision VW made to implement the software “switch” was likely weighed on a cost analysis. What are the monetary gains versus the cost of the fines and recalls later assuming they are even caught. If they are never caught, even better. If the CERTAIN gain is greater than the POTENTIAL loss, then it’s simply a financial decision. I’m guessing VW MADE more than 15 billion selling those cars in the first place. The only difficult calculation when making such decisions is the monetary cost that might be incurred if the corporate image is stained as to affect future sales. It’s only illegal if you get caught.

      1. I do not agree Brian. This is part of the ethos that it is “acceptable”. Corporations have the soul of the men who lead them. And so the ethics of both men and corporations employing hundreds of thousands. And of governments.

        The belief system that they are inherently evil relieves all men of the obligation to do good. Indeed, it negates the concept of choice and freedom of will. What John was saying, and I agree, is that when the percentages reach a state that they become the norm, society begins to break down. The ability to do business at all breaks down. But it does not mean that all must surrender to it.

        We are each and severally responsible for our actions and our belief systems. One is NOT as good as another. They are NOT all equal – just different ‘interpretations”.

        VW has been caught red-handed in an almost unbelievable and most deliberate scam on their customers. How they thought this would ever work to their advantage is what amazes me. It cannot possibly be performed as the act of a rogue programmer. It is a deliberate program by a corporation that inevitably leads to such a negative outcome for the corporate entity that it borders on the insane. It was never whether they would be caught, it was when.

        Made $15 billion from it? The GROSS sales on these 482,000 cars would be about $18 billion. They very well may not have “made” anything to start with. But in a perfect world 12%. They may well have to buy all the cars back as the “fix” at $35,000 each AND there is talk of FINES of up to $35,000 each. What I was addressing was basically the loss of green cred. The people attracted to these cars because they got VERY good mileage AND were puportedly clean, and were willing to pay a premium for such, are now going to be seen as driving a crime that spews filth in all directions. The vast majority of consumers drive their pocketbook, not try to save the planet. So VW has just forcibly ejected a well heeled micro minority of a half million consumers otherwise inclined to buy their products. VW is now officially a planet soiler. How do you recover from that?

        This could actually destroy VW as a viable business. I mean bankruptcy. Sell off the office furniture at 10 cents on the dollar.

        What rose do you detect in these glasses……

        Jack

        1. I wouldn’t have thought it possible, but VW has lost my respect.
          We bought a pair of VW TDI Jettas in 2011. They are the fifth and sixth VW diesels we have owned since the 1984 introduction of the diesel Rabbit.
          Gobs of torque, quiet, extreme driving range, comfortable, and super low emissions. They were purposely bought for those reasons.
          They did carry a premium for being diesel which we gladly paid.
          But now I am agitated, feel betrayed, and I am leery of a sloppy “fix” being done to our cars.
          What a slap in the face for having attempted to do what I believed was best…

          1. I was a proud owner of our 2nd Golf, looking at the TDI as our next used car purchase. Hard to regain trust, I hope the correction is an ECU re-flash that simply de-tunes the fuel map performance from “Gobs or torque” to just enough torque to pass emissions. We’ve got an easy 60k miles left on this Golf, maybe then, a lightly used Tesla Model 3 and our most expensive asset purchase would be in order…

        2. I do agree with you Jack, that the corporation has the ethics and soul of the men who lead them. I just feel that all too often the major stockholders hire the CEO’s to do whatever it takes to get the stock price to go up and to the right. They don’t ask how the CEO did it, because they want plausible deniability. Now if the major stockholders were personally and financially (beyond the stock price) held responsible, maybe they would do more research into the company. In this case maybe they would have bought some vehicles and done independent emission tests, and this violation would have been caught immediately. Maybe I’m just taking the glass half full position of large corporations.

          1. I actually agree with you Brian. You kind of stated it as if it were inevitable and I was pointing out that it is not. And the proof is in the outliers. I run into companies regularly that bend over backwards to deal with suppliers and customers and employees all with the highest ethics.

            It’s kind of like Amazon and the rest of the web stores. Amazon damns the lessers with its stellar performance. I got a 2400 lb mill delivered with the crate damaged and part of the mill poking out. I took a photo and sent it in and never really checked if the thing was damaged. They sent a crew to pick it up and a day or two later a new one was delivered intact. All this happened within 10 days of order.

            But a discouraging majority that almost appears to be everybody is operating just exactly as you describe. And so we have entire industries essentially at war with their own customer base. Airlines spring to mind. Utility companies. Insurance companies. In all of these cases, most people would do almost anything to avoid buying from them at all, if there was an option. That sounds like and looks like an opportunity in search of how to be an option.

            What John was alluding to, and I agree, is that at some level of lowest common denominator, the system starts to break down. Our tax system, draconian as it sometimes seems, is largely based on voluntary compliance. Our legal system the same. And our economy depends on the ability to do business without getting blatantly ripped off. At some level of deterioration, it breaks down.

            And this may be what we’re seeing now. My son-in-law is a Naval Academy Graduate who just finished a two year Masters program at MIT in Engineering Management and came out of the navy drone program – the hottest technology in the Navy. He graduated in June and is actually struggling to find a job???? And willing to relocate anywhere in the country? What’s going on out there?

            It has become a very bitter and at times vicious marketplace.

            I maintain that you do NOT have to surrender to it. But if it deteriorates far enough, there won’t be much left standing and a global economic depression is not out of the question here.

            Jack

  3. VW screwed themselves in such a fine manner, blatantly and intentionally. I foresee some harry carray in the future!

    And that $35,000.00 number was the hypothetical maximum fine per vehicle from the EPA. I never read that as a cost to fix and repair the actual problem.

    1. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if VW already has the compliance program in-the-can for these cars. Once they get the firmware green-grade they won’t produce as much torque or as much mileage. John Deer uses computer controls on farm tractors because we knew how to soup them up at tractor pulls 40 years ago until they could twist off the crank with over sized turbos plus propane injection. When the Jettas get tamed there will be a whole lot of unhappy owners out there. Jack may have prognosticated their future very well. They may very well have to embrace magnetic drive with multi-fuel micro-turbine APUs quickly just to pull out of the dive.

  4. Your rant sparked an epiphany: Capacitors. Largely not viable for the car space (volumetric energy density toping the list), but a Circle K? stick ’em in the foundation. shove em in the roof/walls. hell, build a second building. The point being W/m^3 is more-so irrelevant in a stationary situation, and they can handle the currents a lot better than the old bat’s right? These “SOLAR electric car charging station convenience stores” would do well with sun created joules.

    1. GM didn’t deliberately engineer a faulty ignition switch. In truth, the ignition switch becomes a problem when people load up their key rings with six pounds of other stuff.

      Their “crime” was in knowing about the switch problem, and doing nothing about it. And covering up the fact that they knew about it early on. And let it continue for years while people died from it.

      It’s more like learning of a freak accident and doing nothing about it. Then another. Then another. Now with three it can’t be a freak, but you did nothing about it, so to maintain the status quo you have to do nothing still. And at what point do you get well here. And obviously no adults to ever take the haircut. Until it was a sorry mess and yes, they had nothing to stand on in the end.

      But a different kettle of fish to my way of thinking.

      Toyota had a more expensive recall yet with 9 MILLION cars involved on the uncommanded acceleration. I still don’t actually know if it was the throttle or the carpet.

      This was a designed program to appear clean on the test stand and still have “gobs of torque’ on the road. While spewing the usual diesel crap all over the place. How did they imagine this would not eventually come to light? What genius thought this up? And what kind of moron bought off on it?

      Jack Rickard

        1. Here in Arizona cars before OBD-II (1997?) and trucks of a high GVW still get emission tested on dyno rollers with sniffers up the pipes. . Light cars here would fly right through with the diesel Vee-Wees based on the test methods. I look for that to change locally within the month.

  5. Just watched the video with the Nissan Battery information. You suggested that off lease purchasers will make out quite well because they battery will fall below 70% well before the 10 years that Nissan claimed they would get on the pack. Well fortunately for Nissan the capacity warranty only goes for 5 years / 60k miles. The workmanship on the pack does last for 8 years / 100k miles. http://insideevs.com/breaking-nissan-now-offically-warranties-battery-capacity-to-stay-above-70/

    Pretty amazing how after a few years in the field and no capacity warranty at all, and then once the data comes in the warranty is included and it ends just a few months before most cars will fall below 70%.

    My car has 4.5 years and 40k miles and will probably lose the 4th bar (70%) at about 6 years based on the rate I’m going. I’m down about 24% based on my aftermarket instrumentation and about to lose my 3rd bar on the Nissan instrumentation.

    The other thing you should look into on this subject is the battery prediction calculator that was developed by one of the Nissan Leaf owners. It has proven to be very accurate based on owners entering their data. The model started out very basic and he “tweaked” it based on the empirical data coming from the owners and it now models the capacity losses quite well for the 2011, 2012 models. It appears that the 2013 cars are following the same model, and there is insufficient data for 2014, 2015 vehicles.

    http://www.electricvehiclewiki.com/?title=Battery_Capacity_Loss#Battery_Aging_Model

    https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1wUko40EjfGRhRTNPOJvU1UzyZZZKuRvmCFEcj_hE_zs/edit#gid=6

    http://www.mynissanleaf.com/memberlist.php?mode=viewprofile&u=434

  6. Conspiration theorie

    Who wants us not to drive with electricity?
    Who wants us not to drive with diesel fuel?

    Same bastards.

    Premium unleaded is junk left from making diesel for lorries, ships and railways. Diesel buyers are big buyers spending little money.

    For premium unleaded we are meant to spend the money the big buyers dont want to pay.

    So here is what crime Volkwagen committed when selling cars living on cheap fuel meant for the big buyers. Selling electric cars could not harm them any more now, but I am afraid they cannont see the obvious.

    This time the oil mafia have blown a big shark out of the water who has teeth to bite back. Any bets?

    Cheers
    Peter and Karin

  7. VW will have to do something with the cars that are in customers’ hands:
    1) Reprogram ECU and offer refund for lowering perfomance and decreased economy
    2) Buy the car back
    3) Modify the car by adding urea exhaust cleaner (complicated)

    4) (let me fantasise here) Pay customer for converting his car to electric! This could be effective as we are talking about thousands of very similar cars, so conversion kit could be standardized.

    Yes, I know. Too good to be true. Still, with refund (see #1) user might choose to convert, as even after reprogramming the car would be hard to sell and would put his owner in uncomfortable situation.
    So Jetta / Passat ev conversion kit could be a good idea anyway.

    1. 5) Open Source the software so people can see for themselves if they are still cheating.

      That might open another one of Pandora’s boxes but we have shown already that closed source can never be trusted.

      Cheers
      Peter and Karin

    2. OK, dumb question, So if the cars are RECALLED in order for VW to install neutering software into the ECU… How many car owners would voluntarily submit their vehicles to the dealer for the recall? To my understanding, recalls don’t require the owner to return the vehicle to the dealer by law…. My ICE vehicle, I never brought in for a recall to disable the onstar system. The recall was to disable the onstar system because it used the old analog cell phone system and in the event of an accident and the air bag deployed. The onstar system would continue to try to dial 911 but never get a cell signal, thus draining the starting battery. If my airbag deploys, my vehicle is likely totaled so I don’t really care if the battery dies….So I never bothered getting it fixed, bringing it to the dealer, getting a loaner, etc.

      1. The way they make it sound, they cannot register the car in California NOW until VW fixes it.

        I’m going to guess the EPA isn’t going to buy into an ECU fix. I think they will require the Nox cleaner add-on. Problem is, those work well for smaller cars. But these put out enough that it is a problem to do this. I’m not sure what the technical problem is, but it does get expensive.

        CARB is in the wings as well. They haven’t said what they will require. But I think whatever the EPA suggest, VW is pretty much going to have to go along with. I don’t think the “fix” is going to be left up to VW in this case.

        They might have to entirely re-engine the cars. They might have to buy them back. There’s a lot on the table here. This isn’t a little mistake. It was a deliberate gaming of the system with a half million cars in active pollution as a result. I don’t see a “defender” contingent in the entire world here. This is going to be very one sided. One misstep and VW could be barred from marketing in the U.S. And at this point who would rise in their defense?

        I think they are going to pay the government billions. Then they are going to pay the car owners billions. And after all that, I don’t really see a road to recovery unless they adopt an entirely new religion – like ALL ELECTRIC VW’s only.

        And if it is VW and Audi, how did it NOT get to be Porsche. This has gone on at least since 2009 model year.

        I don’t think we’ve heard the end of this by a long shot. And it’s not going to be a little firmware upgrade or turning off Onstar.

        Jack Rickard

        1. Wow, I never thought of the registration, angle. The state can deny you the ability to register your vehicle because it doesn’t comply with regulations. So, your brand new VW in the garage might only be driveable on public roads until your next birthday unless you bring it in to the dealer to have the recall fix performed. That would certainly get 99.99% of all the vehicles in the dealerships. As for what will be required for the fix, If they can tweak the ECU in order to pass EPA inspection, why can’t they just implement that software permanently? I can now foresee, as Jack has pointed out, that this could have far reaching affects on sales due to public perception of the company. If I owned a recalled VW and was forced to bring it to the dealer and it’s performance or utility was reduced, I would certainly never buy another VW again. No other recalls come to mind that would have the fix affect performance, utility, resale value, etc. None of the recalls that come to mind required me to bring my vehicle to the dealer by law,

          I believe Jack has said that large corporations can’t innovate or change direction quickly. For VW to ditch diesel, and go all electric, seems to me to be a paradigm shift here. I’m sure they have the talent, and technology, but can a company of that size make such a quick about face?

          Maybe now would be a good time to buy a large VW dealership. There’s going to be a huge profit making opportunity for dealers to do a lot of recall work, all billed back to the mother ship…. Was it Jack that said that the dealers make most of their profit from recall and service work and not from new vehicle sales? No need to keep any VW stock on the lot either!

          1. Part of what I’m alluding to is that the modern VW/Audi/Porsche automobile sales in America tend to be premium priced. German over-engineering run amuck. Particularly for the VW brand, and most particularly for the diesel which is over 20% of sales, we’re talking about a very upscale clientele who are VERY environmentally concscious and believed they were driving a VERY clean diesel that got superior mileage per gallon and created LESS C02 and other emissions. Very German. Very green. Very cool.

            Suddenly, it comes to light that they are in public driving one of the dirtiest cars manufactured in terms of emissions and whose managment has actually defrauded governmental bodies and the buying public. The car they are driving has just plunged in value. For the moment, it cannot be sold or registered until VW and the EPA and the CARB all agree on a “fix”. How can they even hold their head up at the country club? You can’t drive to a bridge game in California in such a beast.

            And going forward, the brand is just soiled. Whatever the outcome on THESE particular cars, who is in the market for a VW of any kind? Indeed, it was 482,000 and in less than a week we are at 11 million. The apologetic head of the company has already resigned. Again, the soul of the corporation has no soul because everyone in it is a replaceable component. So first you have the question as to whether VW will be ALLOWED to sell cars, and more importantly, if they are, who is now going to buy one? They were always paying a PREMIUM for being German and being clean.

            So how do you restore that brand? And my suggestion is a nationwide network of convenience stores that are very upscale, spotlessly clean, with immense SOLAR electric systems – I wouldn’t even BE on the grid. Solar PAVEMENT with LED lights in it. And a fast charge network freely open to ALL using Tesla’s own technology. The Audi E-Tron and the Porsche Mission E would be the flagships. You cannot be busted on an emissions test when you don’t have to take one.

            I don’t think most of you realize that VW is the NUMBER ONE AUTOMAKER ON THE PLANET – they have now outsold and displaced TOYOTA in that position. They actually have significant R&D in electrics and some gorgeous press releases. They have a huge hill to climb to get back in the green/clean position after this absolute fiasco. And what I am suggesting is a hard right hand turn on a hairpin curve from TALKING a bunch of shit about green clean electric drive to actually doing it. A full down bet of the corporate future on electric cars to the point of just phasing out all non-electric production. Redefine VW as the electric car company.

            I’d also let Audi and Porsche define the high end, and use teh VW brand to reprise the people’s car – a very inexpensive world car electric of limited Beetle style, simplicity and performance, and a deluxe microbus.

            Now let’s talk about the VW Thing……

          2. All this chat about VW going electric is fantasy land stuff. The REALITY based on previous automobile manufacturers is that the government will bail them out and they will continue along the same beaten path they always have.

    3. What I see them doing is reprogramming the ECU. Those that dont like the performance will simply have someone program it back! VW will offer some token compensation like a discount on their next VW. In a few years this will all be forgotten and those that bought VW stock on the dip will make out well.

    4. 6) Give the option for 1) or they can straight trade their Faulty TDI for an eGolf or Hybrid Jetta/Passat that are currently available. (with a signature that takes them off the lawsuit list). Free brand new car vs. lawsuit payout = probably cheaper for VW…

  8. I like the idea of this debacle becoming a transformational moment and VW becoming an electric car company. In fact rather than an $18B fine and potential death-blow, I’d love for the alternative bargain to be “as of _____ date, you will sell only zero-emission vehicles”. Maybe still as risky but I’d be curious as to their choice.

    1. This does bring up an interesting angle. The emission scam is true and NOx emissions are really, really bad, but have we all been played too? Big Oil does not want these high mileage European diesels in America. I’m quite sure they have been researching them as hard as they can to find something and now they’ve high jackpot. Nobody will want these engines anymore and people will go back to buying high mpg gasoline cars. Big Oil wins.

    2. The car they’re talking about in that article appears to operate on fantasy physics. A gallon of gasoline has 131.5 mega joules of energy. This is equal to 36.5KWh. That’s a lot of energy in a gallon! Of course, that’s the maximum conversion of gasoline to power obtainable via combustion. Do you know of any electric cars with 36.5KWh battery packs that can go 300 miles? Very small specially designed cars that can only get up to 25MPH might do it. A full sized car can’t. A Model S has more than twice that size battery pack and still tends to go less than 300 miles (though not by much) on a charge. So, looking at it in comparison to electric vehicles shows that 300MPH is pretty optimistic. Yes, the Model S is a bit of a monster and not a great example of mega efficiency but the numbers are way off.

      But, try it another way: let’s say it takes 15 horsepower to maintain 60MPH. That seems optimistic for most cars but it could happen. 36.5/(15 * 746 / 1000) = 3.26 hours of driving at 60MPH. That’s 195 miles. So, you’d need to be able to drive 60MPH and use only 9.78HP to maintain the speed in order to get 300MPG. You’d need to perfectly convert the gasoline to the maximum energy you can obtain via combustion and draw less than 10HP at 60MPH before you could get that sort of efficiency. I just plain do not believe it. There have been plenty of cars built that can get 300MPH or more but they use very specific techniques to do so and are impractical in the real world. Nobody wants a balsa wood tomb on wheels that goes 20MPH and takes an hour to get there.

      It’s one thing for companies to try to make something nice and efficient. It’s another thing to lie about that efficiency and use pseudo-science garbage to do it.

      1. For what it’s worth, my brick-like, +3300lb Ranger takes roughly 100amps to maintain 60mph. At roughly 145v, that’s 14,500w…just over 19hp.
        A slippery, ~1500lb car with skinny tires like the XL1 would consume less than half, I’m sure.
        Who has the electric Insight? What has he found for energy consumption??

      2. Collin,I agree with you, they’re blowing smoke…or they just inhaled a little too much.

        The author of the article is typing himself smart.
        A couple ways to tell…the EPA wouldn’t let them test??? Um, they let us test Seven. It cost $7,500 for a one time test so depending on if you want to go for full certification??? How much money do you have??

        Won’t allow them in the US?? How many of our home brew cars have been allowed?
        How many kit cars are allowed?
        Last I checked one off, kit, custom, and other specialty vehicles are not subject to the EPA standards. I kind’ve have insider info on that.

        And looking at the numbers:
        Electric drive trains are about 4x’s more efficient than IC’s on a bad day;
        our vehicles, those of the church of EVTV…conversions and one offs, in general get about 100 MPGe; I know I know Jack; off the cuff translation 300 Watt hrs/mile.
        To achieve 300 MPGe the Vehicle would have to use on average 100 Watt hrs/mile(again simple off the cuff calculation)
        And there are specialty vehicles, like Collin said, that do just that, but I’ve seen a lot of specialty and street legal custom high mileage vehicles, and have heard lots of lies about them…the X Prize kindve debunked a lot of that by putting them all side by side, the mostly street legal usable by a human ones that is. And if you had a vehicle and claimed that kind of mileage and just didn’t show up…that speaks volumes too.
        Look at the winners and losers from the X Prize, the X Tracer, a two wheel enclosed motorcycle weighing 1300 lbs, with a cd of 0.13 running on a AC Propulsion drive system and A123 batteries only, only?, achieved 205 MPGe. And claimed 85.5% drive train efficiency.
        The Edison 2 Very light Car, at 800 lbs, cd of 0.165, and a 250 cc engine running on ethanol got 105 MPGe.

        Don’t get me wrong, I’m not say 300MPGe isn’t possible, I’m just saying that’s it’s highly unlikely that this car, running an IC engine, gets it…of course based on what I see in Collins calculations it’s really not much more unlikely than Santa Claus delivering presents to every house in one night…but hey, he brought me presents when I was a kid…so there.

  9. How come the Leaf cells suffer from degrading 20-25% @60k, when Tesla owners (yeah, I know, not the most reliable source) report much smaller precentages at even the same mileage? Is Teslas strategy of leaving some capacity unused (~87kwh, 77 kwh usable), better raw cells (QC and materials), different usual depth of discharge (hard to imagine day to day use of whole range) or 8 year inifinite mile warranty on the 85 pack the answer? Or everything combined?

    I suppose no chemistry is free from peukert effect and degrading at some level, Panasonic cells should be no exception.

    1. Niklas, without delving into the details (which I might get wrong), The Leaf uses a different battery chemistry than the Tesla. Battery capacity per size, cost, lifespan, and just about every other parameter are different between the two. Yeah, they do both use “Lithium” batteries but it’s the specific TYPE of lithium battery makes all the difference.

    2. The primary factor for early-model LEAF battery degradation seems to have been heat, with a significant difference between cars in different climates. Heat sensitivity combined with passive cooling. Tesla pack uses active thermal management. Newer LEAFs, 2015 in particular, are purported to have more heat tolerant chemistry. It’s still early but the 2015 I picked up last October still appears to have full capacity as reported on the CAN traffic. Whether or not there is “hidden capacity” being consumed under the covers, I don’t know. I suspect there is because I would have expected *some* calendar loss by now.

  10. “Michael Horn is the president and CEO of Volkswagen Group of America (VWGOA) as well as president for the Volkswagen of America brand. Horn assumed this position in January 2014. Assuming you survive the pogrom and remain orange-free in your fashion choices, give me a call. We’ll do lunch. Maybe get liquored up, play with some high voltage, and go for a drive.”

    He’s not to the point of wearing orange, but is no longer associated with VW…that was fast. Perhaps he’d still like to meet with you and get liquored up and go for a drive to just blow off some frustrations.

    1. Volkswagen’s U.S. chief is expected to leave the company after an emissions scandal erupted, according to multiple reports.

      Michael Horn, CEO of the German automaker’s U.S. operations, is departing after less than two years on the job, according to Reuters and CNBC. His departure is expected to be announced Friday, when the company’s full board will meet and announce other changes.

      Asked to address the reports, Volkswagen spokeswoman Jeannine Ginivan said in an email to USA TODAY: “We are just reading this in the media as well. This is speculation.”

      Volkswagen’s global CEO, Martin Winterkorn, resigned on Wednesday amid intense pressure over the automaker’s admission that it rigged 11 million diesel cars with manipulative software designed to trick regulators into believing the cars were compliant with emissions standards.

      Detroit Free Press

    1. From: Roy LeMeur
      Sent: Thursday, September 24, 2015 9:31 PM
      To: Jonathan Head
      Subject: RE: Oct 4 Green Light or Cancelled? _DATE CHANGE_

      Updated info Jonathan…
      —————–
      Attention: important NEDRA event date change.
      We just got off the phone with the track officials in MO. Saturday is fine and will work in EV’s with other cars running that evening.
      Doors open at 2:00 pm and Racing will start at 4:00 pm. on Oct. 3rd.
      Make sure you bring your generators if needed.
      So, if you make it over to Sikeston on Saturday, the doors are open for you to get some runs in that late afternoon and evening.
      They are open Friday too.
      Sunday is cancelled. Repeat Sunday is cancelled and moved to Saturday.

      Tommy
      ————————

      From: roylemeur@hotmail.com
      To: jonathan.head@gpisd.org
      Subject: RE: Oct 4 Green Light or Cancelled?
      Date: Thu, 24 Sep 2015 13:47:58 -0700

      >I wonder if you have info as to the event at Dyno Doms in Sykston MO is still on or cancelled as the EVCON convention was cancelled.

      This is still scheduled and on the NEDRA events calender-
      https://www.facebook.com/events/367557230117419/

      From the NEDRA event page-
      >For Event information contact our Midwest Regional Director, Tommy The Professor Henderson at central.us@nedra.com or sales@nedra.com or merchandise@nedra.com (yes, he is all three).

      We appreciate your interest in NEDRA and Good Luck!

      Roy LeMeur
      NEDRA Competition Director
      competition@nedra.com
      http://www.nedra.com

  11. Regarding VW, we’ve been here before, albeit in the heavy duty truck industry. EVERY HD Diesel engine manufacturer had EGR disable switches based on a similar principle (I’m most familiar with hood switches as all vehicle testing was done with the hood open). Once CARB figured it out, it resulted in in-use emissions testing and not-to-exceed NOx emissions validation. After fines, it was just a re-cal of the offending trucks and they were off again. I would imagine that it would be a similar story here especially if it’s centered aroun the lean NOx trap. You’ll (well as a 2013 TDI owner me too) take a slight mpg hit on the order of 5%, but torque will stay the same and reliability should stay intact for the most part. If they disabled the EGR loop, it will be messier from a durability perspective but less of a mpg hit. It’s dumbfounding that VW took such a big gamble considering the meager return on cheating and the past HD experience, more so using software no more sophisticated than that. Their adoption of SCR for all 2015 and later deisel engines also makes this moot in the future (as a former Navistar deisel engine calibration and software engineer I know) as the aftertreatment is so efficient the engine’s NOx output is almost irrelevant, at least with respect to mpg and durability tradeoffs. We can feign outrage at the corporation, but the EPA has been defunded and handicapped by legislature to be all but irrelevant. VW tried to maximize the metrics that customers really cared about against an emission that nobody was likely to catch. Could you keep your hand out of the cookie jar if nobody was watching or counting? Maybe. Still pretty stupid on VW’s part, but I understand why. Just look to our skyactive D’s here in the states to understand the impotice…

    1. Holy crap… As hard as it already is to find diesel in the US the geniuses decided to devise a system where you need a special fluid for your exhaust system that needs to be replenished every so often!!? If someone told me that future cars would need “diesel exhaust fluid” I would have thought they were full of it! It sounds exactly like “oh, your car is low on blinker fluid and your confabulator is out of calibration.” That’s the completely wrong approach for them to take. At a time where electric cars are showing people that it isn’t necessary to require all sorts of periodic maintenance involving a variety of fluids some rocket scientist decided to add another fluid to diesel cars that has to be replaced or the car refuses to operate? Seriously? It’s just plain stupid. Perhaps it makes sense for trucks but I don’t see mom n’ pop wanting this at all. Diesels go over like a lead balloon in the US and this will make it worse. Congrats on VW and the superstars behind SCR for destroying any last hope diesel had in the US. At least that might push people toward electric cars instead.

      1. Imagine my surprise to learn of my Epson printer’s requirement that I replace a $120 “ink drain tank” because it was “full”. This is a tank where all that heroically expensive ink from the ink cartridges was overlowing to as the printer constantly kept pumping this overboard to keep the tubes clear.

        Diesel exhaust fluid indeed. I also need 145 feet of flight line and give me a five gallon bucket of prop wash while your at it.

        Jack Rickard

  12. There is a flaw with the VW TESLA compatible charging. In europe TESLA has the 62916 socket not the delightful US TESLA socket. So I dont think VW would invest in a charge system that would only be of value to US sales.
    In the UK we have annual vehicle testing after the vehicle is three years old, and this is all done with the pipe up the exhaust and is mainly directed at carbon monoxide and Smoke density . Nox doesnt get a look in so its really not an issue for us. We dont use the OBD2 for the test so the cars never get asked to perform differently to what they normally do.
    In the UK press the whole VW issue has now morphed into a “arnt Car makers terrible as the cars dont do the mileage they advertise” event. And thats rather unhelpful to help people get an understanding of what VW has done, people now assume its all about mileage and advertised MPG and their UK car is doomed to be modified to meet emmisions targets. I doubt that much will happen in Europe, they will probably recall all the appropriate TDIs if nothing else to make VW customers feel they are not being ignored but a really loved and would you like to buy a new car at a discount.
    God help us more cheap used cars to add to the acres of returned used personal lease plan cars that arnt being sold, as they are too cheap to flood the market with. In the UK around 20 years ago, one maker actively crushed a whole batch(000s) of three and four year old cars as they had sold thousands into a lease deal, and instead of flooding the market with cheap used cars, and so kill other models residuals, they took them back and crushed them. I fear we are heading that way with used Renaults EVs, as they are becoming wirtually worthless at three years old, due to the battery lease costs and high cost of main dealer service. Use car dealers generally wont touch them, as they still have to pay the lease cost of the battery even when its on the forecourt.

    People are afraid that VWs will have reduced value, but its likely that the flood on brilliant used VWs onto the market at reduced prices will further drop the cost of other makes. Frankly who cares if they cheat on the Nox we dont care, and we dont test for it.

  13. Pingback: EPA may fine VW - Page 12 - Fuel Economy, Hypermiling, EcoModding News and Forum - EcoModder.com

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