Commentary: surprises in the exhaust gas affair

Commentary: surprises in the exhaust gas affair

Whether one is only superficially or deeply concerned with the exhaust gas aftertreatment of diesel engines: these days, you can’t help but be amazed. What comes to light piece by piece makes one suspect that the swamp is much deeper than already thought. Some of the top earners in the automotive industry must have been quite uncomfortable at the thought of the wave that could spool them out of their comfortable individual offices. At least some of them are responsible for this themselves.

Speech and answer

We can ame that the chief developers of engines and exhaust gas aftertreatment at all major car manufacturers had to answer the questions of the top corporate managers at the latest when the fraud at volkswagen became public knowledge in september 2015.

"Let’s also use the test stand recognition for manipulation?"

"Yes, boss, we do."

"This is bad. How likely is it that we’ll be found out??"

The answer to this question could be decisive for how steadfastly a corporate executive asserts in public: "we don’t use such a thing. We do not cheat."Some of them went surprisingly far, which leads to the amption that they are either sure they won’t be caught or have no idea what is going on in their development departments. Both love them in a light, from which probably nobody wanted to be illuminated. Of course, there is also a third option: that they are actually convinced that they have done everything right.


But when, almost three years after volkswagen’s emissions fraud came to light, two of the company’s brands are forced to admit that they used an illegal defeat device until 2018, it’s an impertinence that’s hard to beat. It is accompanied by a prosecution that can leave one speechless: nearly three years after it came to light, on monday (11. June 2018), the private rooms of audi boss stadler and another member of the group’s board of management were searched. If there was anything interesting there from a legal point of view, it has certainly "evaporated" by now.

Especially since one must always keep one thing in mind: volkswagen was already warned before the publication in 2015. The environmental protection agency (epa) was unable to reconstruct the results determined on the test bench under any circumstances on the road – this is how volkswagen came to be found out. The fact that it now affects the two self-proclaimed noble brands audi and porsche plays only a secondary role.


Volkswagen is not the only group that is currently astonishing. The head of bmw always affirmed that there was never cheating. In march 2018, bmw was forced to admit that it had installed incorrect software on some diesel models. This could lead to increased nox emissions. An oversight, as bmw points out. Not even a year before the current generations of 1 and 3 series are phased out, both still get an scr catalytic converter. An almost astonishing step, which the attentive controllers would certainly have liked to avoid. After all, bmw, which only uses the scr catalytic converter in conjunction with a storage catalytic converter, has already demonstrated that this method can be used to show fairly low nox values on the road. The current 520d is one of the cars that emit comparatively little nox.