Volkswagen to Update Exhaust System in New Diesels

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Volkswagen has announced plans to change the technology it uses for controlling diesel emissions in future models as it attempts to overcome the emissions scandal that has damaged its reputation and threatened its finances.

What’s the problem?

October 13, 2015 – VW said it will switch to a ‘selective catalytic reduction system’ to decrease exhaust from its diesel engines in Europe and North America, according to the New York Times.

The proposed system is conceptually similar to one VW considered until 2007, when it began using the TDI “clean diesel” system now implicated in the emissions cheating scandal. The selective catalytic reduction system, which is not part of its plan to fix vehicles affected by the current recall, was rejected by the company at the time as being too costly.

Volkswagen also announced this week that it will cut investments by 1 billion euros ($1.14 billion), which will hamper its ability to innovate at a time when automakers are competing for new technology.

The new exhaust system change involves adding a tank of urea-based fluid to filter emissions, according to the Boston Globe.

“Diesel vehicles will only be equipped with exhaust emissions systems that use the best environmental technology,” said Herbert Diess, CEO of the Volkswagen Passenger Cars brand, adding that the change will be made “as soon as possible.”

VW also appears to be moving away from diesel as its preferred clean technology, redirecting its efforts to the development of electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles such as the all-electric Phaeton limousine, which is expected in 2019 or 2020.

Last week, Volkswagen submitted a proposal to Germany’s Federal Motor Transport Authority regarding plans to remove “defeat device” software from vehicles in that country. The agency is reviewing VW’s proposal to fix the problem in its 1.2-, 1.6-, and 2-liter diesel engines. In testimony before Congress last week, Volkswagen officials stated that emissions retrofits would vary by country, given varying emissions regulations.

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