The VW scandal where software was used to trick the machines which track emissions by altering engine behavior depending on whether a vehicle was being driven is not, is only incredibly unethical, it will likely lead to years of damage to VW and tens of billions of dollars lost. Already the company has taken a $7.3 billion dollar charge and a class-action lawsuit already was filed seeking five millions dollars. There are 11 million affected engines so expect the damage to accrue quickly. Moreover, the emissions which were being expelled can cause health issues, smog and acid rain. So if your parent is a lawyer, you can now afford to go to any University you like.
While pondering the maximal damage emerging from this scandal could take a supercomputer, I’d like to propose a different question which needs answering. VW was selling a clean diesel engine which was low-cost and “clean burning.” They reduced cost by eliminating the need for adding urea to the diesel process which typically eliminates 70 to 90 percent of the NOx emissions. In other cars, this process can cost $5,000-$8000 per car.
If management learned VW engineers were able to achieve the impossible… They found a way to burn diesel in a manner which literally saved billions of dollars for the company, they would naturally want to know how it was done. This was a breakthrough. It is inconceivable that all of management wouldn’t be interested in learning at least something about how the system worked.
Basically this means all senior management could likely be liable if logic is a guide here.
Likewise, there is no way a BMW engineer or one from Mercedes is going to believe they can’t achieve something Volkswagen engineers can. You see where I’m going here? It is impossible that questions about this new technology wouldn’t have come up in vehicle planning and board meetings. Moreover, auto makers routinely tear apart competitor’s cars… No other auto company evaluated this breakthrough technology in order to emulate it? Finally, none of the diesel engineers ever got hired away by rival companies?
Something doesn’t smell right and it isn’t just the extra ton of NOx emissions the cars were giving off.