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Archive for the ‘automotive’ Category

After the VW Dieselgate fraud was revealed, investigators began looking at other manufacturers. German transport authorities tested 53 vehicles, and 22 of them show suspiciously high levels of nitrogen-oxide. Fiat, in particular, shows striking irregularities:

Bild am Sonntag reported that testing by the KBA of a Fiat model had shown that the emission control system shut down after 22 minutes – two minutes after the end of a standard test.

This caused the dangerous pollutant nitrogen oxide (NOx) to be released into the atmosphere “at more than 10 times the permitted level“, the report said according to the newspaper.

The KBA had concluded that there was “sufficient evidence of an impermissible defeat device“, said the newspaper, adding that the automaker had declined to comment on the claims.

Fiat is now stonewalling the investigation:

Fiat officials had been due to hold a meeting with German authorities on Wednesday but cancelled the talks abruptedly through a lawyer’s letter, the transport ministry said in a statement. The carmaker had declined to meet as it deemed Italian officials to be the only authority responsible on the question of whether their vehicles complied with existing emissions regulations, the ministry said.

“This uncooperative attitude of Fiat is completely incomprehensible,” said Transport Minister Alexander Dobrindt.

 

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Older cars cause a disproportionate amount of smog and particulate pollution. If anything, California should be making the rules more strict on old cars, not relaxing them. But just in time for Earth Day, the California Senate Transportation Committee voted to move the smog exemption cut-off year from 1975 to 1980. This will exempt well over 100,000 cars from having to use any smog equipment in California:

A new bill proposed by California Senator Ted Gaines (R-El Dorado) that would change the California smog exemption year cutoff from 1975 to 1980 passed through the Senate Committee on Transportation and Housing earlier this week. The next step for SB 1239 is to be approved by the Senate Committee on Appropriations. The bill passed the first committee in a bipartisan vote of six votes for and five against.

If passed, the bill would exempt cars prior to the 1981 model year from California’s biennial smog-check inspections and would open the door for non-CARB (California Air Research Board) drivetrain modifications.

The deciding vote was cast by Senator Bob Wieckowski, a Bay Area Democrat who represents the 10th district in Alameda County. One of his 2014 campaign themes was to promote clean technology.

smog

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“Excuse me! I have ze new cheat box! No one’s going to find out about this one! I’m just going to fix it now. No, no, no, Mr. Müller said it was okay, as long as no one finds out about it, so, could you just keep it quiet and it will be okay. Did you not get the memo?”

 

 

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Japan National Police have released traffic fatality and injury data for 2015:

The number of deaths caused by traffic accidents in 2015 rose by four from the previous year to 4,117, up for the first time in 15 years, the National Police Agency said Monday.

An NPA official attributed the rise to the growing population of elderly people, who have a higher mortality rate in the event of an accident.

The data mean that the government failed to achieve its target of reducing the annual traffic death toll to 3,000 or less by 2015, which was set under the basic plan for traffic safety covering fiscal 2011 to 2015.

Even though they did not reach their goal, the progress is still quite impressive. Imagine if the US had achieved this kind of reduction:

japan

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Hope you’re enjoying your Volkswagens London:

London has already breached annual pollution limits just one week into 2016, and only weeks after the government published its plans to clean up the UK’s air.

At 7am on Friday, Putney High Street in West London breached annual limits for nitrogen dioxide (NO2), a toxic gas produced by diesel vehicles that has been linked to respiratory and heart problems.

Under EU rules, sites are only allowed to breach hourly limits of 200 micrograms of NO2 per cubic metre of air 18 times in a year, but this morning Putney broke that limit for the 19th time. Chelsea and Kensington is expected to do the same later today.

Attention on the harm caused to human health by NO2 came to the fore last year when it was revealed that VW had cheated NO2 emissions tests in the US, with the scandal affecting 1.2m diesel cars in the UK. Next week, VW UK bosses will be quizzed by MPs on the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs committee on diesel pollution and what they are doing to make cleaner cars.

vw_billboard

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While Volkswagen is sticking to their story that Dieselgate was merely the work of a few “rogue” engineers, analysis of the ECU code suggests otherwise. In this presentation from a Chaos Computer Club conference, a hacker does a walk-through of the ECU defeat code. The defeat code was sophisticated, and clearly required the support of an entire organization.

Someone better go to jail for this.

(If you are impatient, you can skip ahead to 56:00 to see the Smoking Gun.)

 

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