Volkswagen finds itself in legal trouble once again as three U.S. states - Massachusetts, Maryland, and New York - have filed separate lawsuits over the diesel emission scandal. The lawsuits allege that the automaker undertook a massive cover-up of the illegal software and was orchestrated by high-level executives - including the former CEO.
“The idea that this level of fraud could take place and involve so many people at such high levels of a major international corporation is appalling,” said New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman at a press conference this week.
The New York Times, Road & Track, and Car and Driver got their hands on the New York lawsuit and it is quite damning. The suit cites internal documents, staff emails, interviews, and investigation as to how Volkswagen got to this point.
- The defeat device was originally developed back in 2004 by Audi. Internally known as "Acoustic Function," the system would reduce emissions by turning off a system called "Pilot Injection"
- Pilot Injection would inject additional fuel during engine start to help reduce diesel clatter
- This system would be used on the European market 3.0L TDI V6 from 2004 to 2006
[*]In 2006, Volkswagen was trying to figure out how to make the 2.0L TDI four-cylinder meet U.S. emission standards
- Engineers apparently looked at selective catalytic reduction (SCR) that uses urea injection to reduce nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions. This was thrown out due to needing a separate tank for the urea and paying Mercedes-Benz for a license to use it.
- Instead, the decision was made to use a lean-trap system. This system works by trapping particulates in a soot filter. The particulates would be burned off by running the engine in a fuel-rich mode. This system had a major problem as the filter would prematurely fail due to excess build up.
- Thus the fateful decision of employing the "Acoustic Function" was used.
[*]The complaint also notes that communications between executives within each brand, along with lateral moves of employees and executives between the brands meant that everyone knew about the use/possible use of this device in various vehicles.
We highly recommend checking out the pieces from the sources below as we only scratched the surface on this.