Both software and hardware changes are necessary.
With the official approval of The Federal Motor Transport Authority (KBA) in Germany, VW is getting ready to kick off another recall campaign caused by the messy and costly Dieselgate. This time around, it involves a total of 2.6 million European cars equipped with the turbodiesel four-cylinder, 1.6-liter TDI engine from the now infamous EA 189 family. It’s installed in a wide array of models from Audi, Skoda, and SEAT, as well as in cars from the core brand.
VW’s engineers will have to apply a “software update” to make things right once again, and owners of affected cars are going to be contacted by the company in the weeks to come. In addition, the engine will have to go through some hardware changes as a so-called "flow conditioner" will be affixed upstream of the air mass meter, a procedure which will require less than a half an hour of working time.
With both software and hardware modifications in place, cars fitted with the 1.6-liter TDI are going to fully comply with all the statutory requirements as well as the emissions standards. Needless to say, all of the costs generated by the recall are going to be incurred by the VW Group.
There are around 8.5 million cars in Europe (out of a total of 11M vehicles worldwide) fitted with rigged TDI engines. Modifying cars powered by the larger 2.0-liter unit began early this year, while the implementation of a technical solution for the small 1.2-liter engine is also under way. Now that VW has approval from the KBA for all three engines part of the EA 189 family, it can recall all of the Euro-spec affected cars.
What it won’t do is offer compensations for European buyers, nor will it buy back cars as it plans on doing in United States. As a matter of fact, VW says its diesel shenanigans do not actually violate European laws, so technically the company believes it has done nothing wrong from a legal point of view. In an e-mail exchange with Reuters, one of the officials said:
“The software contained in vehicles with an EA 189 engine in the view of Volkswagen represents no unlawful defeat device under European law. The efficiency of the emissions cleanup system will not be reduced in those vehicles which however would be a prerequisite for the existence of an unlawful defeat device in the legal sense.”
Morally speaking, it’s still a deceit regardless of how VW spins the story.
Source: Volkswagen, Reuters