Archive for the ‘Volkswagen’ Category

Volkswagen unveils Sedric, its first fully-autonomous vehicle

March 9th, 2017

Volkswagen Group

Volkswagen’s plans to develop fully autonomous vehicles that would offer greater comfort and convenience than current cars, while slashing the number of road deaths and truly democratizing mobility, have borne their first fruit. This is Sedric, designed to be a platform for cross-brand ideas, which will feed into subsequent concepts from the group’s car brands. The biggest idea it introduces is its full “Level 5” autonomy: no human driver is required.

There’s no VW badge on the front of Sedric because this is the first concept car built by the Volkswagen Group, rather than the Volkswagen car brand. It was devised, designed, developed and constructed by Volkswagen Group’s Future Center Europe in Potsdam and Volkswagen Group Research in Wolfsburg. “We are systematically focusing on our customers, their wishes and requirements for the mobility of the future,” says chief designer Michael Mauer. “The Volkswagen Group Future Centers give us the opportunity to conceptualize and develop new ideas of mobile life.”

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The 2016 Golf R: Ars puts Volkswagen’s hottest hatch to the test

October 20th, 2016

Abigail Bassett

AUSTIN, Texas—It’s a rare thing for a modern-day car to excite me. Don’t get me wrong, most of the cars now on the market are fantastic machines—they do exactly what they aim to do, and they do it well. It’s just rare to find an everyday car that inspires any kind of excitement. The 2016 Volkswagen Golf R, however, is a whole different animal.

I spent a week behind the wheel of the third-generation Golf R here in Austin and couldn’t wipe the smile from my face. Fast, responsive, enjoyable to drive in traffic or on the highway, and even more fun to toss around in the Hill Country, the hot hatch gets VW’s turbocharged, 2.0L, inline four-cylinder engine and puts out 292hp (217kW) at 5,000rpm and 280lb-ft (380Nm) of torque from 1,800 to 5,000 rpm. There’s a choice of transmissions with a six-speed dual-clutch DSG available, but our test Golf R got the new-for-2016 six-speed manual. The EPA rates the manual at 22mpg city and 31mpg highway, but don’t expect to see those numbers if you rag it.

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Posted in Cars Technica, Golf R, Volkswagen, Volkswagen Golf | Comments (0)

Volkswagen unveils the I.D., a long-range electric car due in 2020

September 28th, 2016

Within the first few weeks of Volkswagen’s diesel shenanigans becoming public knowledge, the company’s board decided that electrification would have to be the way of the future. And earlier this year, the company got more concrete about those plans, forecasting that 20 to 25 percent of its sales in 2025 would be electric vehicles. While we’d already seen veiled production EV concepts from Audi and Porsche, at the Paris Motor Show on Wednesday VW revealed the I.D. concept, a battery electric vehicle that VW says will go into production in 2020.

The I.D. features a 125kW motor, batteries good for 250 to 375 miles’ range (400 to 600km) according to VW, and it’s the first car to use VW Group’s Modular Electric Drive (MEB) platform. (The Audi e-tron and Porsche Mission-e concepts linked above both predate MEB.) The I.D. will be launched as a model parallel to VW’s very successful Golf, and the dimensions look roughly similar based on the provided images of the car.

VW also tells us that the car is our first look at the marque’s plans for autonomous driving. A self-driving mode will apparently be available from 2025, and when in automated mode, the steering wheel recesses into the dash.

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Posted in Cars Technica, electric car, Volkswagen, Volkswagen I.D. | Comments (0)

Mitsubishi mileage manipulation came from “cost-cutting corporate culture”

August 3rd, 2016

(credit: Björn Láczay)

On Tuesday, investigators in Japan released a report attempting to explain how Japanese automaker Mitsubishi was able to falsify its fuel economy numbers on certain cars sold in Japan. The three-month-long investigation pointed to a “collective failure,” at an executive level, to deal with concerns that employees brought up.

The automaker’s cheating was discovered earlier this year when Nissan, which rebrands some of Mitsubishi’s cars and sells them in Japan, found discrepancies in emissions rates between reported and real-world mileage. Mitsubishi later admitted to having falsified data for over 25 years, in some cases overstating fuel economy by 16 percent, according to CBS News. Nissan’s discovery crushed Mitsubishi’s share price. Since then, Nissan scooped up 34 percent of Mitsubishi for a bargain $2.2 billion (¥237 billion).

In an unrelated discovery in March, Japan’s Department of Transportation publicly called out Mitsubishi, as well as Toyota and Nissan, for selling diesel cars with higher-than-allowed nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions in Japan, echoing the scandal that has embroiled Volkswagen since last September in the US.

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Posted in Cars Technica, cheating, mileage, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Volkswagen | Comments (0)

Volkswagen could have a fix for its 2.0L diesels, air regulator says

July 30th, 2016

(credit: freshwater2006)

In an e-mail to Ars on Friday, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) confirmed that the regulator was ready to begin testing hardware and software that could potentially fix pollution issues with 475,000 2.0L diesel vehicles from Volkswagen Group. The German automaker was caught last year adding illegal software to its cars in order to cheat on US emissions tests—the cars turned on their emissions control system when they were being tested in a lab and turned the emissions control system off when they were being driven under real world conditions.

According to Reuters, CARB now says there will be fixes for three generations of diesels, involving both hardware and software updates. The regulator has said that VW Group must bring its cars within 80 to 90 percent of pollution limits to have any fixes approved. CARB head Mary Nichols told Reuters that VW Group need not bring its cars to 100 percent compliance with pollution limits because the company has agreed to put up $2.7 billion in a pollution mitigation fund that will offset the damage of the still-polluting cars.

CARB is working closely with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and any fix approved by California’s air regulator stands a good chance of being approved by the EPA, too. In January, CARB rejected VW Group’s proposed recall plan by saying the company did not provide enough necessary information to the regulator. The EPA issued a quick statement after CARB’s decision saying that it agreed.

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Posted in CARb, Cars Technica, defeat devices, EPA, Volkswagen | Comments (0)

Here’s how Volkswagen’s $15 billion proposed settlement would be divided up

June 28th, 2016

And lo, that which was rumored last night has come to fruition this morning. On Tuesday morning, Volkswagen Group proposed a number of companion settlements with the Department of Justice representing the Environmental Protection Agency and the California Air Resources Board (CARB), the Federal Trade Commission, more than 40 state attorneys general, and a class-action complaint from people who bought 2.0L diesel cars from Volkswagen and Audi.

The amount of the settlements will tally more than $15 billion, with $10.033 billion going toward compensating consumers. In a conference call on Tuesday morning, Elizabeth Cabraser, the court-appointed lead counsel for Volkswagen consumer plaintiffs, detailed exactly how the German automaker would compensate its customers after the company was discovered last September to have included illegal software on many of its recent diesel models. The software helped the diesel vehicles pass federally required emissions tests in a lab but turned off the cars’ emissions control systems while under normal driving conditions, causing significantly increased levels of nitrogen oxide to spew on open roads.

Cabraser noted that owners of certain diesel VW Golfs, Passats, Jettas, Beetles, and Audi A3s would be eligible for a buyback equal to the amount the car was worth in September 2015—a range from a low of around $12,000 to a high of about $44,000. The buybacks would be accepted “regardless of condition,” Cabraser said, “as long as it’s drivable.”

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Posted in CARb, Cars Technica, defeat device, diesel, DOF, EPA, FTC, Volkswagen | Comments (0)

Diesel VW owners could get up to $10,000 after settlement, sources say

June 28th, 2016

(credit: Erik B)

The evening before Volkswagen Group and the US Department of Justice (DOJ) are supposed to submit a settlement to San Francisco District Judge Charles Breyer, Bloomberg’s sources have leaked new details about that supposed settlement.

Last week, VW Group was rumored to offer a settlement of $10.2 billion, with $1,000- $7,000 per car affected by the diesel emissions scandal that’s rocked the company since September. Today, Bloomberg is reporting that that number has gone up to a total of about $15 billion, with affected diesel owners potentially getting up to $10,000 in compensation.

Bloomberg’s sources specify that VW Group will set aside $10.03 billion to pay back the owners of nearly 500,000 Volkswagen and Audi 2.0 L diesel engine vehicles in the United States. “Those figures could rise if VW misses certain deadlines,” the news outlet writes.

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Posted in Cars Technica, emissions, Volkswagen | Comments (0)

Below 64°F, European diesels emit nitrogen oxide at an alarming rate, report says

June 22nd, 2016

According to a testing company called Emissions Analytics, many diesel vehicles on the road in the European Union are emitting much more nitrogen oxide (NOx) than expected at temperatures below 18 degrees Celsius (approximately 64 degrees Fahrenheit). While it’s public knowledge that automakers in the EU are allowed to kill the emissions control systems on their diesel vehicles in cold weather to prevent damage to the engine, it seems that “cold” has not been properly defined, and car engineers are taking advantage of that fact.

According to the BBC, Emissions Analytics tested 213 cars from 31 manufacturers and found that “millions of vehicles could be driving around much of the time with their pollution controls partly turned off.” Apparently, cars that adhere to the Euro 5 emissions control standard (which was announced in September 2009 but became mandatory in January 2011) are among the worst offenders. The more current Euro 6 cars did better on Emissions Analytics’ tests but also showed discrepancies at relatively warm temperatures.

While turning off the emissions control system can have benefits for the longevity of a diesel engine, it also can improve the car’s miles-per-gallon rating. That creates a tension between priorities—a car might release more NOx but get better gas mileage, cutting down on carbon dioxide (CO2) emitted. But NOx is a potent greenhouse gas, too, and auto manufacturers might be motivated to hide how their cars cause pollution by favoring a high mpg number while the car is still belching toxic NOx in order to market their cars to environmentally conscious customers.

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Posted in Cars Technica, diesel, emissions, europe, Volkswagen | Comments (0)

GM says it misstated fuel economy, Opel denies emissions cheating allegations

May 19th, 2016

(credit: valérie kuki)

This week brought confusion for General Motors and its German subsidiary Opel.

US-based General Motors told the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that it had misstated the fuel economy on some 130,000 Chevy Traverses, GMC Acadias, and Buick Enclaves from 2016, overestimating the cars’ mileage by 1-2 miles per gallon. GM has said it will compensate customers for the miles per gallon they thought they were getting, possibly with gift cards. The automaker also halted the sales of another 60,000 affected vehicles.

GM said that the misstated mileage came from incorrect calculations made by the company when it was updating numbers for their 2016 models. The company said that new “emissions-related” hardware had changed the cars’ miles per gallon, and GM failed to take that change into account. GM noted that its engineers discovered the error as they were working on the 2017 models.

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Posted in Cars Technica, emissions, GM, Opel, Volkswagen | Comments (0)

Volkswagen Group may be closing in on fix for emissions-cheating 3.0L vehicles

May 10th, 2016

(credit: We Like Cars)

According to sources speaking to Bloomberg on Tuesday, Volkswagen Group is close to proposing a fix for its 3.0L diesel engines found in Audi, Porsche, and VW models that were sold with built-in software that’s illegal in the US. These approximately 85,000 cars spew more than the federal legal limit of nitrogen oxide (NOx) when driven under normal driving conditions. The illegal software helps the cars pass emissions tests when it senses the car is being tested in a lab.

This batch of cars is separate from the nearly 500,000 2.0L diesel engine Volkswagens and Audis found with similar illegal software installed on them. Volkswagen recently said in federal court that it would be buying back those 2.0L cars from their owners after the California Air Resources Board initially rejected Volkswagen’s proposed fix. The buyback plan has not yet been made official, as it’s part of ongoing settlement proceedings.

In all, Volkswagen Group has set aside $18 billion to cover the costs of that buyback plan and associated legal fees.

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Posted in Cars Technica, defeat device, diesel, Volkswagen | Comments (0)