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Volkswagen ‘defeat device’ may be legal in Europe

Yes, you read that right. In a leaked letter from a Volkswagen official, the VW defence is that the ‘defeat device’ placed in more than 11 million diesel cars might not be illegal according to current EU pollution laws.

Yes, that may sound crazy but it gets even more bizarre. It’s been reported that in the ‘The New York Times’ (NYT) that emission testing in Europe include a big enough loophole that could make VW’s emission scandal disappear completely AND European regulators have known about the scandal this whole time!

NYT reported that:
“The loophole lets carmakers change the performance settings of their engines before a pollution test, "A manufacturer could specify a special setting that is not normally used for everyday driving," British regulators warned, according to minutes of a 2011 meeting in Geneva of officials across the region.​”

This just proves further that EU emission regulations are on shaky ground, for example, current rules allow vehicles for testing with tweaks that would never made by the consumer like removing rear seats to reduce weight, according to the NYT report.  

"What we have developed is a phony system of testing where the member states [of the European Union] are in competition with each other for who can make it the most easy for the car manufacturers to pass the test," Gerben-Jan Gerbrandy, a Dutch member of the European Parliament, told NYT.

So what it happens now? The EU will have to decide if this defence is strong enough, and if VW actually broke the law. Lucia Caudet, a spokeswoman for the European Commission, told NYT in an email that the governing body has "no formal view" on whether the software in question counts as "a 'defeat device' in the EU legal sense or not."


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