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    Germany Has Doubts On Opel's Emission Software


    • Opel is currently in hot water with the German Government over software that can turn off the emission controls

    It seems a week can't go by without another automaker being embroiled in either a fuel economy or emission mess. This week, the German Government has requested Opel to provide more information on a piece of software that turns off the emission controls in the Zafira. The issue at hand is whether or not this software violates regulations.

     

    "Shut-off devices are fundamentally illegal, unless it is truly necessary to safeguard the engine," said Alexander Dobrindt, Germany's transport minister after a meeting with Opel to discuss this issue.

     

    "Therefore it's clear that in this situation, we have our doubts."

     

    This meeting comes after a joint investigation between Spiegel magazine, ARD television's Monitor program and the Deutsche Umwelthilfe environmentalist group. The investigation found software used in the Insignia and Zafira that would turn off emission controls under various conditions such as going above 90 mph. Opel went on the defensive, saying the conclusion was wrong.

     

    "We at Opel don't have any illegal software," said Opel president Karl-Thomas Neumann in a statement on Tuesday.

     

    Opel explained they do have software that can turn off the emission controls at high speeds, but this was only done to protect the engine. The automaker says this software is legal.

     

    But the committee who is looking into this issue has their doubts.

     

    "The investigating committee has doubts about whether this practice is completely justified by the protection of the engine," said Dobrindt.

     

    Opel has promised to cooperate with the investigation. The committee gave the automaker 14 days to provide technical information on the software.

     

    Dobrindt said he would ask other automakers if they use something similar to Opel's software.

     

    Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required), Reuters

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    One could justify the German Government's skepticism toward's this....

    VW  killed it just about for everybody  when diesel and software are mentioned together....

     

    Its up to Opel/GM to provide answers...if what Opel president Karl-Thomas Neumann said is true: "We at Opel don't have any illegal software"....then Opel/GM, himself and maybe others like computer programmers and engineers  have nothing to worry about...

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    So VW killed the goose for everyone at low speeds and the fact that normal driving disabled emissions control.

     

    Yet here you have a vehicle that driven below 90 the emissions work as designed which is where I bet the bulk of drivers drive anyway and yet above 90 it turns off the emissions to protect the engine. This usually means the engine runs richer to ensure enough fuel, enough oil protection, etc. If Germany allows for this feature then Opel should be fine and just needs to show their engineering manner to the body.

     

    Sadly, I suspect every auto maker is going to come under the microscope due to VW and Mitsubishi betrayal to the customer and the environment. 

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    Okay... so some clarity is in order.

     

    Nearly all cars will turn off and on their emissions controls a various stages of driving... You don't always need EGR to be turned on at all times, and you don't always need air injection (when equipped) to be turned on at all time.

     

    If the emissions control systems in these two cars (they don't mention the engine, but the Zafra has the 1.4T and that's available in the Insignia as well) are shutting down over 90mph, it's probably because they don't need to be running with the engine operating at that speed.  

     

    I can tell you from experience that 65mph in my Encore 1.4T means about 2,500rpm, and while I've never had it to 90mph, I assume the engine would be turning well over 3,000 rpm just to maintain such a speed.  The Zafara and Insignia are both heavier vehicles, so the engine would be working even harder at that 3,000+ RPM just to keep them there.

     

    Very very few cars operate at that RPM for extended periods of time, so I can certainly believe GM's statement that the engine would need to be protected. However, that's also the range where emissions correction is less needed because the fuel is burning in the most efficient manner and the catalyst would be glowing hot.

     

     

    But sheesh... 90mph in an Insigna Wagon 1.4T?  That's really gotta be pushing the limits on that little motor. 

     

    Edit: They do share some diesel engines too... so if could be one or both of them. 

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    Yeah Drew, I thought about the same thing as you.

    Not in so much detail, but 90 mph stuck to my thought process.

    I kinda figured....who drives at 90 mph legally anyway and anyhow?

    And at 90 mph, I assume that fuel consumption and air pollution is probably very high for any engine as compared to driving...55 mph.(The original fuel saving CAFE speed limit in the USA.)

    I also realized that a Zafira is a mini-mini-van....so I dont think it be doing 90 mph on the autobahn either during normal usage....

     

    But...it is what it is and like I said, if Opel's president statement is true, then he has nothing to worry about.

    I imagine its become a formality for the German Government to question sentences that contain diesel and computer software "shutting off" stuff.

     

    Anyway...let Sammy Hagar soothe us from that horrid time period when CAFE thought they were doing good.

    And....FERRARI Flat 12!!!

    Edited by oldshurst442
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    wooooooooooo....the autobahn... :o

     

     

    Just kidding.

    A little levity never hurt anyone.

    But...would an Opel Zafira's owner be doing 90 mph on the autobahn...

     

    Before you answer that question...because the way you responded with this quote:
     

    90mph on the AutoBahn is pretty standard.

     

     

     

    Short. Direct. To the point.

    With a confidence in the tone of your typing, because I could sense your experience with Germany through the internet airwaves...

    I get the feeling that yes....yes...an Opel Zafira owner as a matter of fact WILL drive his mini-mini-van 90 mph on the autobahn...

     

    To which I have this to say...these Germans must be crazy

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    Seems like all these car makers cheat.  

     

    Autobahn does have high speed.  The crap cars are probably doing 90 while at high rpm, the BMWs and Mercedes probably doing 120.

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    It doesn't matter if 90mph is normal for a Zafara driver, just the fact that it can do it is enough. An insignia driver, certainly can be doing 90 regularly.

    I've driven on the autobahn a number of times. In the free zones with no speed limit, anything under 80 and you'll get run over.

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    It doesn't matter if 90mph is normal for a Zafara driver, just the fact that it can do it is enough. An insignia driver, certainly can be doing 90 regularly.

    I've driven on the autobahn a number of times. In the free zones with no speed limit, anything under 80 and you'll get run over.

    That sounds like my kind of highway.  

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    It doesn't matter if 90mph is normal for a Zafara driver, just the fact that it can do it is enough. An insignia driver, certainly can be doing 90 regularly.

    I've driven on the autobahn a number of times. In the free zones with no speed limit, anything under 80 and you'll get run over.

    That sounds like my kind of highway.  

     

    I got it now....

    The fact that the car is capable of achieving 90 mph regularly is of concern to the German Government..yet I also understood what you previously said about the necessity for the shutdowns for the engine to be protected....

     

     

    SMK...that is a tad different than what VW has done...

     

    So...as it stands, its only VW and Audi with a smidgen of Porsche (VAG--short for vaginas) that has cheated...

     

    As for the "my kind of highway" statement...

    It would have been my kind of highway too...

    Unfortunately where I come from, drivers are too self centered for those kinds of speeds with no end in sight as our Quebec society does not teach proper driving ethics and proper driving skills and our government lets infrastructure  deteriorate  before repairs are done....and the politicians dont have the hindsight to engineer the logistics and the technology to sustain the safety and the upkeep for the entire system to succeed which includes on ramps, off ramps to joining other highway systems WITH a speed limit, rain drainage, snow removal, banked corners for higher speed sustainment, fast accident removal and ambulance accessibility and traffic flow redirection and direct/live communication etc...  

    If any one of those things are not executed with perfection, major daily fatalities will happen.

    The Germans may be known for over engineering things, but they are also known for being meticulous in their engineering for the little details...and the autobahn highway system works so well in Germany because of all the little but extremely necessary little details involved.

     

    Im sorry for the rant.

    I felt I needed to clarify  the  LADDY FREAKIN DA  youtube link I did....even though it was a joke I wanted to make sure that you guys know that I have the utmost respect for the German engineers (civil and traffic engineers and others) and the autobahn.

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    Happen to have a friend from Germany staying with me this week, so in spite of my own experience on the Autobahn, I deferred to him... here's what he said:

     

    Me: What do you think is typical speeds on the free zones of the Autobahn?

    Him: As fast as you want to go....

    Me: Well, the German government is mad at Opel for cars where the emissions system shuts off over 145 kph.... do you think people typically drive over that speed?

    Him: I'd drive that speed even if the speed limit is 120kph. 

     

    His car is a 2005 VW Golf Plus

    volkswagen-golf-plus-1.9-tdi-trendline-0

     

     

    Gives some perspective as to what the people with even more powerful cars will do.

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