Lasting legacy of VW diesel scandal: EU gets serious about testing

The Volkswagen diesel scandal left lasting imprints on the entire automotive industry, and may have changed the way regulators look at vehicles using the fuel forever.

Volkswagen Plant, Wolfsburg Germany

That’s true not just in the United States, but elsewhere as well. The European Union is now increasing its efforts to make sure a scandal like Volkswagen’s can never happen again.

EU ministers have agreed to a new draft of rules and regulations for approving cars in the countries that make up the trade bloc; they give the European Commission more power in such circumstances.

Under the current system, national agencies such as Germany’s KBA have the authority to give new cars a pass for the entire European Union, according to Reuters.National bodies also have the power to revoke the rights to sell a vehicle should a controversy arise.

However, the newly drafted rules hand additional power to Brussels—a move Germany itself and its powerful car industry aren’t keen about.

Volkswagen TDI Desiel Cars, Stored at Pontiac Silverdome

German junior economic minister Matthias Machnig told his national counterparts Germany is in favor of increased oversight. But, he said, the country remained wary over conflict of interest.

The changes to testing and approving new vehicles for sale in the EU come in response to Volkswagen’s deceit in the United States.

The German automaker used “defeat devices” in order to pass federal emission tests, and carried out a multi-year cover-up of that fact to continue selling its diesel-powered cars and SUVs.

The devices were programmed to comply with regulations for 23 minutes—exactly how long the EPA regulatory test takes. At minute 24, the NOx levels emitted by Volkswagen and Audi TDI vehicles rose considerably.

Read more: Green Car Reports

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