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Old 19th May 2016, 16:42   #1
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Default Dieselgate at GM? Defeat devices claimed to be found in Opel cars

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Experts from Germany’s TÜV Nord found defeat devices in diesel cars made by General Motor’s European arm, the Opel Group, reports from Germany say. According to Germany’s Spiegel Magazin, these defeat devices cause “the exhaust gas treatment in those car to be severely limited, allowing the emissions of more poisonous NOx than permissible by law. Experts say this is illegal.”

The tests counter claims by Opel and by Germany’s Transport Ministry that “no defeat devices like in vehicles made by Volkswagen were found in cars by other makers.”

Weeks ago, after various EU automakers were found applying very liberal interpretations of a loophole in EU emissions rules that allows the exhaust treatment to be turned off at certain temperatures to avoid damages to the catalytic converter due to condensation, Opel admitted that the exhaust treatment of a diesel-powered Opel Zafira would be fully operational only in a narrow temperature window “between 20 and 30 degree centigrade.” However, the testing and certification organization TÜV Nord now reportedly has found a number of other cases where Opel defeats its exhaust treatment.

According to the report, new tests, and an analysis of the engine computer’s code reveal that the exhaust treatment of the Opel car are switched off:

#When the engine runs at higher revolutions than 2400 rpm
#When the car goes faster than 145 km/h (90 mph)
#When the barometric pressure is less than 915 millibar, indicating an elevation of more than 850 meters (2,788 feet).

The pressure group targets both General Motor’s Opel, and the German Transport Ministry, which has “actively looked the other way,” as DUH General Manager Juergen Resch told Der Spiegel.

Contacted by Der Spiegel, Opel answered with “technical sophistry,” according to the magazine. Opel said in a statement Thursday, “we do not deploy any software that recognizes whether a car is undergoing an exhaust emissions test.” According to Der Spiegel, the effect of the defeat devices used by Opel amounts to the same, “namely that the exhaust treatment only works when the car is being tested.”

Soon after dieselgate broke, I met engineers at other large automakers who were appalled by the crudeness of the Volkswagen cheat, and who claimed that there are more sophisticated methods of cheating. If the findings of the report are confirmed, GM’s cheating definitely would be state-of-the-art. In an attempt to avoid a large-scale diesel backlash, which would be devastating in diesel-heavy Europe, the auto industry has tried desperately to paint the diesel scandal as an isolated act limited to Volkswagen, while environmentalists have claimed that the cheating is widespread.

The DUH (Deutsche Umwelt Hilfe) environmental group today lofted an especially heavy caliber missile in the direction of Opel’s Ruesselsheim. DUH published the “results of months of test in labs and on the road, and an analysis of the software of the engine computer of the Opel Zafira 1.6CDTi.” The group says that “as a result of the defeat devices, these cars poison the air in 90% of the time.” The group sent the results to Germany’s Transport Ministry, along with a request for “an immediate stop of registration of all affected Opel vehicles,” accompanied by a “revocation of the type approval, and an official recall order.”
Forbes Auto 12-05-2016 and Forbes Auto 18-05-2016

Last edited by Rehaan : 24th May 2016 at 20:38. Reason: As per my earlier PM to you...
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Old 20th May 2016, 12:23   #2
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Default Opel admits using shut-off device, German minister says

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General Motors' Opel division has admitted that its Zafira minivan has engine software that switches off exhaust treatment systems under certain circumstances but says this is legal, German Transport Minister Alexander Dobrindt said. A German investigating committee that met Opel officials asked them to provide it with more information to help with their investigations into emissions from its cars, Dobrindt said after the meeting on Wednesday.

Opel confirmed during the meeting that the exhaust treatment systems shut down under certain speed and air pressure conditions to protect the engine, Dobrindt said.

"Shut-off devices are fundamentally illegal unless it is truly necessary to safeguard the engine," Dobrindt said. "The investigating committee has doubts about whether this practice is completely justified by the protection of the engine."

Dobrindt said the accusations concern control of the emissions treatment with the Zafira relating to the revolutions, the air pressure and the speed. Opel acknowledged that software shut off emissions controls at high speeds, although the automaker insisted it did so only to protect the car's engine and that everything it's done is within the law, he said.

"Opel promised complete cooperation at today's talks," he added, saying this would include access to the relevant software. The committee gave Opel 14 days to provide it with appropriate technical information.

"We also asked whether there were similar measures or elements with the Astra as we discussed with the Zafira," Dobrindt said. Opel been unable to provide detailed information on the Astra but would do so subsequently, he said.

Opel was summoned to appear before the investigative committee following media reports this month about suspected emissions rigging.

Opel said it was fully cooperating with the checks. "I reiterate that our engines conform to the law and do not use illegal software," Opel CEO Karl-Thomas Neumann said.

Differences over law

Dobrindt said Wednesday's meeting began with Opel telling the investigators how it interpreted the relevant law. "We then presented our legal analysis," he said. "Differences were apparent."

Opel has disputed results of a joint investigation by Spiegel magazine, ARD television's Monitor program and the Deutsche Umwelthilfe environmentalist group that found software in Zafira vans and Insignia sedans cut off emission controls under certain conditions, such as speeds exceeding 145 kph (90 mph).

The case is distinct from the emissions scandal involving Volkswagen, which concerned the rigging of exhaust emissions tests as opposed to exhaust treatment systems being shut down under certain conditions.

The auto industry's credibility has been strained following VW's September admission that it rigged diesel-engine software to pass official tests, prompting Germany to set up an investigating commission.

Last month, Opel was among auto manufacturers that agreed with German authorities to voluntarily upgrade 630,000 vehicles in Europe to fix temperature-control setups that pushed the boundaries of regulation.

At the time, Dobrindt said a review hadn't found that other car models used a defeat device similar to Volkswagen's program.

FCA under scrutiny

The minister said on Friday that the commission is also looking into reported emissions irregularities at Fiat Chrysler Automobiles after claims that the Fiat 500X 2.0-liter diesel variant had NOx emissions far above legal norms.

Dobrindt said Wednesday that investigation will continue and that he will also ask other automakers if they used devices similar to Opel.
Automotive News

Last edited by Rehaan : 24th May 2016 at 20:38. Reason: As per my earlier PM to you...
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Old 24th May 2016, 14:21   #3
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Default Germany threatens to ban FCA vehicles over diesel emissions dispute

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Both GM’s Opel and Fiat Chrysler have become the targets of serious dieselgate accusations. The companies have been in the media for months. Last week, the matter became official, and both carmakers were held accountable by German regulators. Opel met with the Germans, and most likely will get away with a stern finger-wagging, industry experts agree. Fiat stood up officials in Berlin, and the book is being thrown at the Italian maker.

According to an EU directive, defeat devices are illegal, except when the automakers say they aren’t. The law gives OEMs wide latitude to declare that their defeat devices are necessary to protect their tender engines from undue harm. To make a defeat device illegal, the OEMs must be pretty blatant, and a EU regulator must declare the device as illegal. As long as this isn’t done, OEMs will swear with abandon that they are “not using illegal defeat devices,” with “illegal” that operative word. Even when deemed illegal, the defeat devices do not trigger big penalties. EU governments somehow forgot to implement them. However, a car with an illegal defeat device violates its EU-wide type approval. No type approval, and the car can no longer be used in the EU.

A little more than a week ago, GM’s Opel was fingered by Germany’s Spiegel Magazin, ARD’s Monitor and the environmental group DUH for using what seemed like bona-fide defeat devices. For each possible defeat device, the contacted experts found a plausible explanation. All in all, the consulted experts agreed that Opel painstakingly adheres to the letter of the sometimes quite bendable law. Some insiders even were impressed by the technical sophistication of Opel’s measures.

Fiat Chrysler’s engineering prowess in designing defeat devices did not attract such awe. Some experts were shocked by the crudeness. According to a report in the Welt newspaper, Germany’s regulator Kraftfahrt-Bundesamt (KBA) found a timer in “a number of Fiat cars.” The timer shuts off exhaust treatment 22 minutes after engine start. The official test cycles last no longer than 20 minutes, reports say. This is “sufficient proof of an illegal defeat device,” a KBA report cited in the paper says. This is a serious accusation and escalation.

After GM’s Opel was summoned to appear in front of a dieselgate commission of the German government, Transport Minister Alexander Dobrindt ominously, but still diplomatically voiced “differences of opinion” about the legality of Opel’s defeat devices. Fiat was summoned to appear the next day, but did not show up. Fiat left the Germans with no other choice than to file for a revocation of their type approval. “Illegal defeat device” is the operative word here again. Can’t lose your approval in the EU for simply using a defeat device. An illegal defeat device, however, paired with obstinacy and arrogance, can mean the end of the car’s legality on EU roads.
Forbes Auto

Last edited by Rehaan : 24th May 2016 at 20:38. Reason: As per my earlier PM to you...
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