AD #1707 – VW’s Ripple Effect, Nissan Altima Refreshed, Apple Speeds Up EV Development

September 23rd, 2015 at 11:47am

Runtime: 6:47

- Ripple Effect of VW Scandal
- Apple Speeds Up EV Development
- Silent Bus Sessions
- Nissan Altima Refreshed
- Reducing Complexity With Over the Air Updates

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62 Comments to “AD #1707 – VW’s Ripple Effect, Nissan Altima Refreshed, Apple Speeds Up EV Development”

  1. JDay Says:

    According to my local news wintercorn has resigned. Anybody know if it’s true? I hope Apple makes a vehicle and I really hope it’s more affordable than a lot of the other electric vehicles that are just out of the price range of most folks like the teslas and bmw electrics are. Plus the apple car would be able to sync perfectly to all our other Apple devices.

  2. Wim van Acker Says:

    Ah well, it was announced today: VW CEO Winterkorn steps down “after the emission scandal” according to Bloomberg. I guess that VW wished that the emission scandal is behind them. I believe it has barely started.

  3. Bob Wilson Says:

    Even the NHTSA, Mark Rosekind, says VW has destroyed trust meaning “You just have to question every assumption when information is provided.”

    If you see one bad bug, usually there are ten more hiding. So I expect everyone with unusually better user data than EPA results are going to get another look.

    Bob Wilson, Huntsville, AL

  4. Brett Says:

    Best tweet so far: “VW CEO Winterkorn steps down to spend more time with his attorneys.”


  5. G.A.Branigan Says:

  6. Sunrack Says:

    As this VW saga continues to unfold I sincerely wish that a realistic (accurate) cost-benefit review be done on allowable US NOx emissions as they continue to become exponentially more difficult and expensive to meet. As plumbing and compliance costs continue to skyrocket, efficiency, power and durability drops, diesel becomes significantly less desirable, even for heavy trucks. Regulators should understand the real limits of current technology.

  7. C-Tech Says:

    The downloading of specific software for a specific vehicle into common hardware is nothing new. I know Chrysler and GM have done it for years with their pcm’s and bcm’s with the use of their scan tools. Is this company doing something different, perhaps loading software without a scan tool?

  8. Barry Says:

    This story is likely to be HUGE. The problems go deep, between subsidies to promote favorites (taxpayer subsidies for diesels in EU, Electric in US, etc) forcing automakers to great lengths to “get” consumers to buy vehicles they wouldn’t naturally choose. We get manipulated by the government and the carmakers in many cases. Hard to see where this will end….

  9. Barry Thiessen Says:

    7 C-Tech – reading between the lines about the algorithm has caused me to imagine the software detects no movement of the non-driven wheels while being tested on a roller, causing engine management software to jump to different code. I haven’t seen anything definitive on that, just my theory.

  10. HtG Says:

    If the fix for vw’s emissions controls will result in lower fuel mileage, then how will their CAFE be affected? Obviously it will raise the average. Will there be a consequence for that?

  11. RumNCoke Says:

    Is it even possible to retrofit these cars with urea injection? I can’t imagine how much that would cost. And if they just detune them, they are going to drive like donkey carts.

  12. dcars Says:

    It’s official VW and Audi are ‘damaged brands’ and will need new taglines or may reuse some old ones, here are my recommendations:
    - Say no to N2O
    - TDi it’s just a small lie
    - No truth in our engineering
    - Polutinandagruven
    - Keeping ahead…of the EPA
    - Never follow…our cars
    and lastly – Drivers wanted!

  13. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Volkswagen C.E.O. Martin Winterkorn Resigns Amid Emissions Scandal

  14. Bob Wilson Says:

    #9 Barry Thiessen

    I suspect it just looks for steering inputs. If the car makes no turns, it is probably on a dyno. However, some of the articles suggest VW also looked for specific engine operation including manifold pressure.

    One article made reference to CARB making a special test protocol but didn’t have any more technical details other than ‘longer.’

    It could have been as simple has using a clock and when the trip distance was longer than the longest test cycle, turn off the emissions ‘tuning.’

    The EPA test cycle is well defined giving many opportunities to detect and cheat.

    Bob Wilson

  15. Kit Gerhart Says:

    9 One of the UWV guys doing the research was on the Diane Rehm show on NPR this morning, and said that the software detected “no steering input” while going through the test on a chassis dyno. Also, it can detect the specific EPA test cycle of throttle and brake inputs.

  16. Bob Wilson Says:

    My understanding is the EPA and CARB do not test every make and model but rely on vendor provided data from their engineering labs. That was how KIA and Ford were able to ‘make a mistake’ that gave higher MPG numbers until the owners complained.

    VW correctly assumed that owners who got better numbers than the EPA sticker would not complain. So the regulators had no clue until independent testing found the problem.

    This suggests vehicles that get substantially better user MPG than the EPA rating are going to the ‘front of the check-out line.’ Such spoofing is not restricted to just diesels.

    I suspect there are more when I look at some of the data.

    Bob Wilson, Huntsville, AL

  17. Joe Engelhardt Says:

    Comment 6 finally a breath of fresh air, thank you. Everybody needs to see AD 1705 comment 119, that means you John, you should already know this! People you need a reality check, except Californa especially LA just walk. Anybody who elects a governor named Moon Beam four times is beyond help. You need to bring in another 50 million illegal aligns so you can be like wonderful Mexico City!

  18. Wim van Acker Says:

    @12: how about die-SELL

  19. Wim van Acker Says:

    @12: Winter-SCORN

  20. Mike Ma Says:

    Some people still do not understand that VW used software to mask the fact their diesel engines do not meet EPA and CAFE requirements; it’s why all of the 482,000 VW diesels in the US are essentially illegal and you’ve got to wonder what a recall can do because VW needs to replace the engine or buy back the cars.

  21. Mike Ma Says:

    It’s a bit surprising that Nissan decided to offer a 3.5L V6 option for their Altima especially as it’s competitors have moved to using a turbocharged 2.0L 4-cyl engine instead; but then again, the Altima has EPA mileage numbers for highway as being 32mpg which is impressive for a V6.

  22. MJB Says:


    On the Apple car: Keep hope alive, my friend.

    But don’t hold your breath. If their electronics retail operations are any indicator (and you best believe they are) they will not come to market with an automotive product that undercuts anyone else’s sticker price. That’s simply not how Apple rolls.

    They know the value of what they bring to the table (much of which they have stoked with spot-on PR over the past decade and a half) and will be commanding the typical Apple premium for it.

  23. HtG Says:

    GreenCarReports is saying that EPA sources say they are checking all diesels sold in the US and that they have another global carco with a problem. EPA is getting ‘loaded for bear’ and ‘are checking their list twice.’

    A big bowl of DeLorenzo’s own Not Good, coming up

  24. Rob Says:

    #6 & #17 Regardless if you agree with Calf emissions or the EPA’s requirements or not, that is irrelevant. Sure it costs money to meet these requirements as does the ever increasing safety requirements but to just dismiss VW’s blatant disregard (not just disregard but time spent to develop a cheat) for a requirement that all other manufacturers have met (as far as we know) speaks volumes as to the companies integrity. It’s like saying you don’t deserve a ticket for speeding because you don’t believe the posted limit is reasonable. I don’t think many feel its being blown out of portion.

  25. Kit Gerhart Says:

    6, 17 I found that the US NOx limit is about 1/4 that of Europe. In the US, the limit is the same for diesel and gas cars while, for now, the limit is higher for diesels in Europe.

    If there were a way to control which cars are driven where, it would be great to have higher NOx limits for vehicles that would not be driving in smog-prone areas in California, and elsewhere. Cars with uncontrolled NOx would be fine in central Kansas, where it is flat, and almost always windy to quickly dilute the gas to where it can’t cause problems. That might be hard to do, though, especially as cars get re-sold and move around the country.

    I’ve read that the Europeans are realizing that their diesel NOx limits are probably too lenient. The air in Paris, and other cities gets pretty smoggy at times, and vehicle NOx emissions are a significant contributor.

  26. MJB Says:


    I could be wrong, but that conclusion doesn’t sound accurate.

    These cars would only be “illegal” and engines need replacing if there were no way to make them compliant. But we have valid proof that all it takes is a simply software application (which is already present in each affected vehicle) to make them compliant. So instead of that program running only when it detects the car is being test, VW need only issue a patch that forces the software to run full-time.

    Yes, performance and gas mileage may suffer (by how much we don’t know), but this is a very simple fix that would easily sidestep additional EPA violations.

  27. HtG Says:

    /sarcasm alert

    25 Maybe vw was actually far sighted? They knew that as cars become more like computers it would be possible to correlate GPS data and weather conditions. Therefore, emissions equipment could be set up to adjust itself to the local environment and law. Therefore, they have installed this breakthrough technology before their competitors.

    Or something like that.

  28. GRP Says:

    Where there is smoke, there is fire. I find it hard to believe VW is the only one that figured this out.

  29. Kit Gerhart Says:

    21 It looks like Nissan is creating a bit of a niche for itself by keeping the V6. It looks like the coupe is gone, though, and the manual transmission is gone. You get a CVT, whether you want it or not.

  30. Wim van Acker Says:

    Does anyone know which supplier delivers the VW 2.0 L Diesel engine management system?

    And whether the OEM’s engineers can make changes to the software of such system?

  31. Kit Gerhart Says:

    27 Using GPS data to adjust emissions control sounds like a great idea. Yes, seriously. Make them really clean when in urban areas, where that is important, and as efficient as possible in rural areas. It would complicate some things, though, including establishing mpg numbers.

  32. Kit Gerhart Says:

    29 I’m pretty sure it’s Bosch.

  33. HtG Says:

    29 I read today that Bosch said they only supplied the hardware, and that vw did the integration and management

    31 I know, right? :) That may be what happens in all kinds of categories, not only emissions.

  34. Rob Says:

    #29 although it is likely the software was contracted out to a supplier it becomes property of VW and they would have the rights and ability to alter it. I doubt the suppier would alter the management system because they would not have anything to gain.

  35. Wim van Acker Says:

    31, 32, 33: thanks

  36. G.A.Branigan Says:

    Maybe I’m missing something here.The news says that when in normal operation,the vehicles in question put out more pollutants then allowed.Right? But when hooked up for emissions testing then all the stuff works correctly,which means these vehicles HAVE the proper stuff on them already.How about just a simple reprogram to enable the stuff to operate all the time? No muss,no fuss,and no big lawsuits.

  37. HtG Says:

    35 Then why did vw take such a big risk?

    leasing vw

    I read that 45% of vw units are leased. So maybe half the TDI drivers will get to walk away from the mess.

  38. Rob Says:

    #35 I think you understand it correctly and yes the simple fix is to have the vehicle operate as they do during testing. However the problem is that there is probably a significant loss in power and maybe even MPG. It could be so underpowered it struggles to get up a hill with 4 passengers. Who knows?

  39. G.A.Branigan Says:

    “Significant loss in power”,I have to wonder just how much of a loss.

  40. MJB Says:

    35. Like I said (26).

    37. Or, it could just make them mortal.

    Kryptonite, anyone?

  41. G.A.Branigan Says:

    @ HtG: I’m thinking more of avert bragging,as in ‘class leading’mpg’s.Nothing more.

  42. Kit Gerhart Says:

    35, 37 I’m guessing we will find out “how much” power and/or mpg loss in the fairly near future.

  43. MJB Says:

    My guess is they won’t lose more than 3 to 4 mpg. Which may not seem like a whole lot, but when you have auto companies spending hundreds of millions in R&D just to shave 2mpg, that can be huge.

  44. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Maybe VW can talk the EPA into letting them install those GPS controls, to adjust NOx control on an as-needed basis. No, that is probably a few years away.

  45. Brett Says:


    Can’t be worse than the VW Dasher diesel wagon I drove back in about 1983.

  46. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I still haven’t heard what is actually being turned off for non-test mode, but if it’s EGR, as seems likely, it might hurt power more than mpg.

  47. Kit Gerhart Says:

    turned on for test mode, that is

  48. pedro fernandez Says:

    I guess using urea to treat the exhaust is the way to go with Diesel in the US?

  49. HtG Says:

    Here’s a piece from ARD in Germany. An interview with a prof. of auto economics. One thing he says is that there are other carcos whose emissions are out of whack too.

    “Bratzel: Independent testing of ICCT, who brought the ball rolling, already show that not just Volkswagen vehicles are affected, but also provide other brands had striking differences between the test results and the real results. You have to now look very closely to see if there is something in it, or whether in fact – so it is alleged – the deviations to the environmental conditions are. I believe that even a certain danger that this practice is not limited only to Volkswagen.”

    you may have to use Google translate to read the whole interview…


  50. HtG Says:

    A WaPo piece on how the vw debacle is a national embarrassment for Germans. Personally, I’ve got the giggles. That’s Schadenfreude kids.

  51. Kit Gerhart Says:

    48 It apparently takes more than the urea. Some of the cars on “the list,” 2015 Golf and Jetta, and I think all of the Passats, have urea. The ones that pass, as I’ve read BMW does, must do something different. I’m guessing intercooled EGR, but could be wrong.

  52. Joe Engelhardt Says:

    Comment 6 finally a breath of fresh air, thank you. Everybody needs to see AD 1705 comment 119, that means you John, you should already know this!

  53. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Joe, maybe you aren’t old enough to know, but there is a reason for emissions regs in general, and NOx regs in particular.

  54. XA351GT Says:

    Hmmm , I wonder if Ferdinand Piech Secretly put a bug in someone’s ear to get back at VW for siding with Wintercorn over him. Got to think he is calling up saying how do you like me now.

  55. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Here’s another article on how VW got caught, and the likely fix. If the article is right, the “fix” might hurt mpg more than performance.

  56. HOJOLO Says:

    I think that there may well be a fundamental problem with the VW diesel engine in question if you run the pollution stuff full time as needed. Hence the cheat is needed. Why are they are turning off all pollution stuff and dumping 40x the NOx that sort of says to me the engine will not survive the expected life if you ran the pollution stuff full time esp. the EGR system. Without the egr system running the engine runs a lot cooler, the engine will last a lot longer Therefore costs for warranty go way down and you get happy customers and even more profit. The EGR system and EGR coolers are the biggest problem points in the diesel world. If I am correct the way I read the CARB letter to VW, VW had already submitted a software fix for this problem to them for testing and it had failed. Based on that and the way I understood it I would guess VW really has no easy or acceptable fix for the engine and that my leave only 2 options 1)detune the engine to unacceptable levels and/or do major hardware rework to the engine to make it compliant or 2)force VW to take the cars off the road at least in California. Either way I would not touch one of these things with a 10 foot poll. I could be dead wrong but I fear they will be nothing but trouble for the owners of the effected cars. I see a fire sale on a bunch of diesel VW’s coming and they may well all end up in some country with no pollution laws. This is a major problem for VW they have knowingly thumbed their noses at the world and at the laws many countries we have put in place to protect the planet. Don’t get me wrong I am not a tree hugger but this was done in a deliberate and cynical way just to make money.

  57. HtG Says:

    “I am not aware of any wrongdoing on my part,” Winterkorn said during his statement on Wednesday.

    Uh oh, that doesn’t sound right

  58. jmann Says:

    #20: Yep. This is likely the start of the end for internal comb. engines of all sorts. Too complex to manage. So it goes. 50 years from here will be a whole new transportation system. Brave New World.

  59. Brett Says:


    The normal progression is for something to become obsolete the moment it reaches it’s highest level of development. Just look at steam locomotives.

    It’s sort of the Peter Principle for technology.

  60. HtG Says:

    Audi and Porsche heads to roll.

    Oh boy do I got the giggles

  61. HtG Says:

    If Audi gets nailed for widespread cheating, I’d say their investment in LeMans has been shot to shit.

  62. G.A.Branigan Says:

    I’m just laughing my ass off at all of this with these giant car corps weaving and dodging.This is great.

    @ 58: Don’t hold your breath,instead buy a leaf.