I guess given those latest revelations my though is “why can’t the test be structured so it’s more like real-world driving”? Couldn’t they could attach sensors to cars and actually drive them around for reals? Granted, it’d be more of a pain in the butt, and that would make post-sale emissions testing pretty painful but the idea of structuring a test to mirror real-word conditions doesn’t seem like its insurmountable.
Of course they can attach sensors and drive cars around on a course or in real-life traffic. Just as the guy who discovered the problem did. Or for that matter they could put cars on rollers and drive them with long random sequences of acceleration and cruising and stop and start at different rev levels. But they have to want to do that, of course. Anyway there’s a simple solution to the pervasive pattern of bad testing issues for diesels from all manufacturers that have just been revealed. Stop selling diesels.
Next up: try testing ordinary gas engines for various emissions in real-world conditions. I wonder why that hasn’t already been done. You’d think every investigative journalist in the world would be falling all over themselves to hire an automotive engineer to take it out on the road.
Again, there’s a huge difference between “the test sucks” and “cheated on the test”.
Has there been any sign of any manufacturer other than VW actually cheating on the test?
“Real World” conditions are tough to test and can be much more easily “gamed” by the manufacturers.
Say that they had a requirement to put out less than X amount of pollutants in “highway driving at 65 mph”. If I were a manufacturer, I’d do my test on the downhill slope of whatever Interstate runs out of CO.
I’d likewise do all my city-driving tests in the city with the best road infrastructure and least congestion that would legally meet the definition of “city”, not, say, Boston.
It’s much harder to game the tests where the requirements say “when the car’s wheels are rotating at X rpm, the engine must produce less than Y pollutants”.
At what engine load? The wheels can be turning at X rpm if I’m driving down a 30-degree slope, and you could practically have the engine off.
The only way you can really specify a pollutant limit that works for all engines across all conditions is to make it a specific measurement: No more than N grams of whatever per power-unit per hour. Test at a few points from 0 rpm to the redline, and you’re pretty well set. IIRC, that’s how the US commercial diesel standard works.
As far as I can tell, the problem seems mostly with small (4-cylinder) diesels; the bigger engines seem to pose less of an engineering challenge, for probably logical reasons. Getting a small, compact, diesel to run quietly, efficiently, powerfully, and cleanly seems to violate the old engineer’s rule of “you can have any two.”
Remember that most diesels use urea (aka horse piss) to neutralize the emissions. Adding urea to your engine is certainly a pita, and it was VW’s big claim that their engines were just sooo awesome that you didn’t need to add urea.
I’d be very interested if diesel engines using urea still violated EPA emissions levels.
Does that mean we can all simply piss in our cars to combat NOx? (if we have diesel) That would be awesome :)
I dunno. Are you a horse?
Human piss doesn’t have anywhere near the concentration of urea needed for the chemical reaction to work.
Driving with a catheter that feeds piss to the engine sounds very uncomfortable. Plus, I think I only produce enough for a quick trip to the market.
Think about how much more efficient drinking and driving would be!
You have to understand that this is borderline unscientific.
Reliable measurement of how one variable (car model) effects another variable (emissions) means controlling all other variables. “Real world” throws a lot more variables into the mix. How quickly does this driver accelerate? Is there an incline in the driving? City versus country? Do you follow speed limits or do what most drivers actually do and speed a little? What about weather? Oh my goodness, weather! Now, there is a lot more doubt about weather
I imagine the current system lets tests be conducted in far apart locations and still give very similar results. A single company can do what Top Gears does and have a single course and have they same instructor so race times of celebrities are consistent. Except for weather. However, if every car in the country has to go to (senior senator’s state TBD) to get their test done in “real world” conditions, then it becomes much harder to test emissions. Or, rather they aren’t repeatable. Plus, it just changes one set of certains for another set of certains that car makers can design their vehicle around.
There are a couple ways around this. Sample Size is one, though this involves having a representative sample of real world drivers and conditions. Accidentally pick to many drivers from the Southwest desert and the test is biased.
Another is simply to accept the fact that lab results are an ideal that won’t be matched in the real world… however, a car that performs better in a lab condition will perform better in the “real world.” Actually, this is sort of what we really do.
Just to comment on the GT86 twins (BRZ/FR-S), while they don’t have a boatload of raw power, everything else about being a sports car they have in spades, especially handling feel (grip isn’t everything) and pure driving satisfaction, and they offer that at a terrific price. The Miata is cut from the same cloth (perhaps even a bit better than the GT86 with the new model). There have been rumors of an upcoming AWD Turbo GT86 for awhile, but nothing announced.
I thought it was more about sparing the expense of a DEF injection system in an economy-oriented car. So it’d be more like “efficient, powerful, and cheap – pick any 2”.
I looked at these. They are very expensive cars for 200hp. You can get a 323hp Camaro for a lot less. And more room.
I’ve heard it’s pretty “easy” to add a turbo to the GT86 so they can actually get out of their own way, but it will still be less hp than a Camaro. I assume the turbo would run 5-10k.
A GT86 at 2596lb and 200hp has 12.9 pounds per horsepower. A Camaro at 3800 pounds and 323 horsepower has 11.7 pounds per horsepower. That’s not all that dramatic a difference, and a 2500lb car is just going to have more lively handling than a 3800lb car of comparable supercar factor.
I drive a car that goes 0-60 as fast as the GT86 platform. I’d hardly go drag-racing muscle cars, but 6 seconds isn’t slow, either.
Interesting. I was going on just what I’ve read, as I’ve not driven these. It’s something I’d definitely consider if I lived in a place where RWD summer cars were a real option, though I do find the interiors less appealing than others in this price range. I’ve never liked either Scion or Subaru for their interiors. I hear you on handling satisfaction–it’s one of the reasons I love my GTI, because it simply feels so good. My old Acura GT-R was like that too; regardless or power or lack thereof, both cars felt glued to the road and put a smile on my face.
I’d love a new Miata, too, but add RWD to a convertible and it really isn’t a Vermont car, though I know Denny had one when he was here. I could only do that if I had another car I could drive in the winter.
Camaros and 'Tangs I had in the eighties. They’re much, much better today, but the Camaro is sort of like a bunker with iffy visibility for me, and again, RWD. I’d probably buy a Mustang if I had to choose though.
Leonardo DiCaprio is to produce a film about the Volkswagen emissions scandal.
His production company Appian Way and Paramount Pictures have bought the rights to an as-yet-unwritten book about the scandal, according to the Hollywood Reporter.
Man, I wish he had bought the rights to MY as-yet-unwritten book about the scandal. I’ve got a vast selection of as-yet-unwritten books about an equally vast number of topics.