by Ramon Mejia
This week the EPA accused Volkswagen of illegally using software to cheat emissions standards, allowing the German automaker to sell half a million cars that produce nitrogen oxide, which creates smog, at up to 40 times the legal limit.
Volkswagen admitted to the software hack which could detect when the vehicle was undoing a Smog check and change the emissions profile to pass the test. The CEO of Volkswagen resigned due to this scandal and the company has voluntarily recalled 500,000 diesel vehicles to fix the hack. Volkswagen faces up to $18 billion dollars in fines from the EPA.
The International Council on Clean Transportation, a research group, discovered Volkswagen’s software hack.
The group was conducting unrelated research on diesel vehicles and noticed the discrepancy between Volkswagen’s emissions in testing laboratories and on the road. They brought the issue to the attention of the E.P.A., which conducted further tests on the cars, and ultimately discovered the use of the defeat device software.