Volkswagon has admitted to creating and utilizing software to cheat emissions tests for their diesel vehicles, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The vehicles involved include over 482,000 cars in the US alone, including the VW-manufactured Audi A3, Jetta, Beetle, Golf and Passat. About 11 million cars worldwide also have the cheating device or software.
The on-board computer software uses multiple parameters, including speed, engine operation, air pressure and the position of the steering wheel, which allow it to detect that an emissions test is likely occurring. At that point the computer responds by adjusting the engine’s efficiency to beat the government emissions tests.
The vehicles go back to normal function when on the road, dumping up to 40 times more pollutant into the atmosphere, according to EPA.
VW has quickly started to remedy the situation, recalling the U.S. vehicles, apologizing, and setting aside a fund of $6.5 billion.
Legal actions by consumers have already begun. There are multiple legal issues but it boils down to the company allegedly misrepresenting the fuel efficiency which will have an impact on the value of the vehicles.