Today, Federal Transport Minister Dobrindt presented the report drawn up by the "Volkswagen investigation commission" in Berlin.
Immediately after the accusations against VW were brought to light, Minister Dobrindt had set up an investigation commission. In addition, he had ordered comprehensive re-testing of the VW diesel models concerned as well as of vehicles of other high-volume manufacturers from Germany and abroad. Subsequently, the Federal Motor Transport Authority (Kraftfahrt-Bundesamt - KBA) tested all relevant diesel vehicles meeting Euro 5 and Euro 6 standards that are currently on the market. The objective was to look for unlawful defeat devices like the ones used by Volkswagen. A total of 56 tests were carried out on 53 models. These tests were conducted under lab conditions on the dynamometer as well as under real-world conditions on the road.
Main findings in the report
Large variety of NOx emission values measured in the laboratory and on the road.
No other vehicle is equipped with a test cycle recognition system comparable to that used by VW.
Technical procedures were detected, which manufacturers use to adapt the effectiveness of their emission control systems to driving and/or environmental conditions. This applies to the “temperature window” within which manufacturers wind down their exhaust gas recirculation. This is legally permissible if the device is necessary to protect the engine against damage or accident.
In the case of some of the tested vehicle types, the investigation commission had doubts whether the selected temperature windows were entirely justified for reasons of engine protection. The investigation commission has called on all affected manufacturers to take measures limiting the temperature window to the extent that is actually necessary. All affected German manufacturers with type approvals issued by Germany have declared in writing that they will take appropriate optimization measures.
Recalls for affected vehicles
By means of recalls, the affected VW diesel vehicles will be brought to a condition that corresponds to the originally issued type approval and thus meets all environmental requirements. These requirements include NOx emissions and fuel consumption. Now that various models have been recalled, the KBA is about to approve VW Golf design types.
Manufacturers that have been using temperature windows will organize a voluntary recall in form of service actions. This recall will affect a total of around 630,000 vehicles in Europe. This applies to Audi, Mercedes, Opel, Porsche and VW. Before that, the KBA will examine the effectiveness of their improved emission reduction strategies.
Package of measures to improve test procedures
National measures include checks of vehicles along the lines of doping tests, setting-up of state-run dynamometers at the KBA, disclosure of the software used and the emissions strategy applied.
As an immediate action, the KBA has been instructed to request a declaration from manufacturers stating whether they are using engine protectors or not before they issue a type approval. In cases where manufacturers are using engine protectors, for each case they will have to provide a full description of the software’s function as well as the effect and the reasons for which they believe the use of such a device is necessary. The KBA will then review the case. If there are doubts, the KBA will also carry out additional testing, for instance on the road with Portable Emissions Measurement Systems (PEMS).
The report drawn up by the investigation commission is available on the Internet at www.bmvi.de.