Brazil to investigate Volkswagen cars’ emission in wake of U.S. finding

26 Sep 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

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Washington: The US environmental regulator said on Friday that it will test all diesel car models for pollution “defeat devices” in the wake of the scandal over Volkswagen’s vehicles.WASHINGTON — US environmental regulators will add more spot-checks to cars already on the road following Volkswagen’s (VW’s) admission that it fitted as many as 11-million diesel cars worldwide with software that rigged pollution tests. “We are upping our game,” said Christopher Grundler, director of the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) Office of Transportation and Air Quality. The EPA sent automakers a letter announcing expanded efforts to uncover “defeat devices” and other mechanisms to thwart air-pollution laws, agency officials told a news conference.

In a letter to car manufacturers, the EPA said it will add on-road testing to its regimen, “using driving cycles and conditions that may reasonably be expected to be encountered in normal operation and use, for the purposes of investigating a potential defeat device” similar to the one used by Volkswagen. But the officials said details of the new procedures will be kept confidential to make it harder for the industry to use technology to circumvent them.

The auto industry has been shocked by the Volkswagen scandal, in which the world’s largest automaker was shown to have programmed its 2009-2015 four-cylinder diesel cars to perform well in official anti-pollution testing in the lab, but then override the pollution controls for better road performance when out in the real world. The overall economy expanded at an annual rate of 3.9 percent in the April-June quarter, up from a previous estimate of 3.7 percent, the Commerce Department reported Friday. With the use of the defeat device, the car has more power and saves more fuel, but can spew more pollutants into the air, including nitrogen oxides, in amounts much higher than emissions standards. It already has on-road testing ability but it has only been used to check manufacturer’s petrol mileage estimates and diesel trucks, two situations in which they had uncovered emissions cheating in the past.

Grundler said the EPA had been using the same devices for years but had focused its testing on large trucks that account for far more air pollution than the relatively small number of diesel-fueled passenger cars in the U.S. Such testing can be expected in addition to the standard emissions test cycles when Emissions Data Vehicles (EDV), and Fuel Economy Data Vehicles (FEDV) are tested by EPA.” TL;DR? Volkswagen “very deeply within a hundred million lines of software code had a sophisticated algorithm designed specifically to defeat these tests”, Grundler said. The scandal now engulfing VW, which has admitted to outfitting cars with software designed to give false readings on emission tests, is unique both for the number of vehicles involved, and the digital complexity. Agency officials repeated assurances that VW and Audi models with the “defeat devices” were safe to drive and said that the manufacturer will eventually be required to make repairs at no cost to consumers, though it may be months before potential recall notices are issued.

The agency is using random spot checks of production cars to make sure that automakers are being honest and to detect any other rule-breaking technology, like VW’s sneaky emissions software that tested clean in a lab but ran dirtier in real-world conditions. The second quarter expansion in the gross domestic product, the economy’s total output of goods and services, was a marked improvement from an anemic 0.6 percent increase in the first quarter when the economy was battered by a harsh winter. The German company is facing a potential $18 billion in EPA fines and has cost the job of chief executive Martin Winterkorn, who resigned on Wednesday. The issue heated up this week on news that Turing Pharmaceuticals raised the price of Daraprim, the only approved treatment for a rare, life-threatening parasitic infection, by more than 5,000 percent to $750 a pill.

Its CEO, Martin Winterkorn, stepped down this week, and the company is under criminal investigation by the Justice Department and faces billions of dollars in fines. Reuters points out a tweet posted Thursday by Italian Transport Minister Graziano Delrio stating there will be 1,000 sample checks for all automakers selling vehicles in Italy. From 2008 through 2014, average prices for the most widely used brand-name drugs jumped 128 percent, according to prescription benefit manager Express Scripts Holding Co.

VW then admitted it had sold 1973 model year cars with the devices, which consisted of temperature-sensing switches that cut out pollution controls at low temperatures. SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — For a change, Silicon Valley is buzzing about something besides a sleek new device, mind-bending breakthrough or precocious billionaire.

The current VW case resembles a 1998 case involving seven manufacturers of heavy-duty truck engines: Caterpillar, Cummins, Detroit Diesel, Mack Trucks, Navistar International Transportation, Renault Vehicules Industriels and Volvo Truck. A rare visit by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi this weekend has captivated his extensive fan club in the area and commanded the attention of major U.S. technology companies eager to extend their reach into a promising overseas market. The 62-year-old will remain as Porsche CEO until a successor is named. “Under my leadership, Volkswagen will do everything it can to develop and implement the most stringent compliance and governance standards in our industry,” Mr. The companies agreed to spend more than $1bn, including $83.4m in penalties, to settle the case — the biggest civil fine to that point for violating an environmental law.

It will also give Modi, a Hindu nationalist elected to office last year, an opportunity use the world’s high-tech capital as a pulpit to promote his plan to transform India into a hub of innovation. Older versions of the Passat should be fixed soon after that, but other models, including Golfs, Jettas and Beetles, will take longer because designing a solution “will require additional engineering development that will take longer,” Grundler said. He envisions a “Digital India,” where ubiquitous high-speed Internet access will empower entrepreneurs to build software and other technology products that will raise the standard of living in a country where many households are still impoverished. NEW YORK (AP) — As world leaders descend on the United Nations this weekend, former President Bill Clinton will be taking them to East Africa through virtual reality. France’s Environment Minister Ségolène Royal promised to test 100 different models before the end of the year, but many details have yet to be determined. “A commission has been started, but we still haven’t figured out how the tests will be run,” said François Roudier, a spokesman for the CCFA, the French car manufacturers’ association who met with others on the commission on Thursday. “We’re still far from the stage of deciding if and how penalties will be given.” The European Union in September put in place new emissions rules, dubbed Euro 6, and stated that cars would be tested for emissions under real-world driving conditions starting in 2016.

You feel as though you’re sitting in the same living room as Clinton chats with an entrepreneur in Karatu, Tanzania, who sells solar-powered products. The EPA has 23 pieces of equipment, called portable measurement systems, which compliance officials have been using to randomly test heavy-duty trucks in normal driving conditions to ensure they’re meeting emissions standards. WASHINGTON (AP) — Worries about the global economy pushed American consumers’ spirits to the lowest level in almost a year, the University of Michigan reported Friday. Richard Curtin, chief economist for the survey, said consumers are disturbed by signs of trouble in the Chinese economy, the world’s second-biggest, and continued economic stress in Europe.

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — ConAgra employees will learn next week about upcoming changes that the company’s chief executive said Friday likely will include jobs cuts and a shuffling of operations that could boost the company’s presence in Chicago and lower it in Omaha. RIDGEVILLE, S.C. (AP) — Volvo has broken ground on its first auto manufacturing plant in North America, and says workers at the $500 million plant will build a car still being designed in Sweden. Even the out-of-it others say they stumble on news while they’re catching up with friends on Facebook, scanning their Twitter feeds or looking for entertainment online.

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