Audi Engineer Exposes Cheat Order

In an interesting turn of events last week in a German court, evidence has materialized that engineers were ordered to cheat emissions testing when developing automotive parts.

Last Tuesday, Ulrich Weiß brought forward a document that alleges Audi Board of Director members were involved in ordering a cheat for diesel emissions. Weiß was the head of engine development for Audi, suspended in November of 2015 but continued to draw more than half a million dollars in salary before being fired after prior to last week’s court testimony.

Volkswagen Group is the parent company of Audi and this all seems to have happened while the VW diesel emissions testing scandal we’ve covered since 2015 was beginning to come to light. Weiß testified that he was asked to design a method of getting around strict emissions standards in Hong Kong even though Audi knew their diesel engines weren’t capable of doing so legitimately.

According to Weiß, he asked for a signed order. When he received that order he instructed his team to resist following it. We have not seen a copy of the letter, but the German tabloid newspaper Bild reports that the letter claims approval by four Audi board members and was signed by the head of powertrain development at the company.

Hackaday was unable to locate any other sources reporting on the letter other than the Bild article we have linked to (also the source used in the Forbes article above). Sources such as Die Welt reference only “internal papers”. If you know of other reporting on the topic please leave a comment about it below.


88 thoughts on “Audi Engineer Exposes Cheat Order

        1. Only with caps only (there is no caps ß) or foreign forms. It also changes pronunciation. The vowel in front of a ‘ß’ is longer then usual then in front of a normal ‘s’ or ‘ss’. So ‘Maße’ is measurements / dimensions and ‘Masse’ is weight.

      1. It’s not a letter, it’s a ligature, which is a typographic means of combining two letters into a single character. In German, ‘Weiss’ and ‘Weiß’ are the same thing, just as ‘flat’ and ‘flat’ are in English. (Note that the first one is only three characters.) The difference is purely typographical, but we don’t use the ‘ß’ ligature in English.

  1. So had anyone been under the impression this whole ‘cheat the tests’ thing was something a bunch of low-levels cooked up over beers after work? Of course it came from the very highest reaches of the company.

    1. The question was whether it was done in the good old Thatcherian fashion of “make impossible demands, get stupid solutions” – in which case the engineers would have had been forced to cheat under the threat of losing their jobs.

      Or whether it was a direct order to cheat in the first place.

      1. I’ve never seen or heard of a legitimate case of ‘cheat or lose your job’ where either the cheater had no option or the job was worth keeping. The cases that I saw during my time in aviation generally boiled down to making management the goat for people that were violating the terms of their certification and licences. There is always a path out from these sorts of demands – in the end it takes two to tango.

        1. In aviation, when people cheat, other people die – so there’s that difference.

          But I didn’t mean they demanded them to cheat directly, but that the higher management said in a Steve Jobs fashion, “make it happen or get out”.

          The auto-industry is riddled with cheating anyhow, or should we say “creative workarounds to regulation” because the regulators are making ridiculous and technically contradictory demands like high fuel efficiency + low emissions when only one is achievable at a time, so it’s not so surprising. When the thumbscrew tightens year after year as politicians promise more and more, you either throw in the towel or you start cheating. Maybe if the EU states didn’t tax road fuels so friggin much, people wouldn’t find the need to buy polluting diesel engines.

          So, if you get a reputation as a whistleblower you can find it very hard to find employment in the field again. No car manufacturer wants to say “we can’t actually fill all the standards because it’s impossible”, because the others who -still cheat- but simply aren’t discovered yet will go “Ha! You lose!”

          1. To elaborate: the sales tax on vehicles depends on their Co2/km rating. They also have to pass emissions, so the car manufacturers have been cheating on both emissions and fuel economy by all “legal” means for decades.

            So if you’re honest about the performance of the vehicle, you can’t even sell it. It becomes too expensive for people to buy or it’s outright banned for emissions anyhow. That’s how tight the regulations have become.

          2. For example, the target set by the EU commission on new cars is 95 g/km CO2 by 2020. That is equivalent to 54.5 MPG-US on gasoline. (65 MPG-UK)

            That’s just not achievable in a regular four door sedan. The physics won’t let you. That’s why the MPG gap is now up to 40% difference between tested/on-road. The only way to achieve the target is to start scaling back what people mean by “a car” – and that’s not what people want to buy.

            Of course the point is to “push” automakers into doing electrics and alternative fuel vehicles like hydrogen cars, but those technologies simply don’t work to consumer satisfaction at the price point, so the only outs are either to a) stop making cars, b) pay the penalty and increase prices, or c) cheat.

            If you think about it, it’s in the consumers’ interest that the automakers are cheating, because if they were being honest then you’d pay more for a car for absolutely no purpose and no gain to anyone. Whipping the industry by taxes has never made any technology go forward faster – all it has ever done is just make it more expensive.

          3. The rules covering culpability in safety matters are the same across modes in every jurisdiction I’m aware of. Yes this is not strictly a safety matter, but nevertheless the idea that you can be forced to break the law by your employer is just not a workable excuse. Whistleblowing will cost your career? Better that than jail time – even harder to find work after that. Furthermore, if you don’t want to rock the boat as a whistleblower, then just jump ship. I’ve done it twice in my career when I didn’t like the tone of what was developing and both those places closed within six months, but I wasn’t splattered when it hit the fan. “I have a good job, and I don’t want to loose it” is a fool’s view: you don’t have a good job if they are asking you to participate in a crime. The truth is you just hope someone else will take the fall.

          4. >”as a physicist i’m kinda not very warm about that last sentence :|”

            Automobiles have hit diminishing returns in terms or aerodynamics and rolling resistance because making them any better would compromize other features such as interior room and braking/handling and safety. Of course if you want a car where you have to wear a four point harness and a helmet because it won’t pass the NCAP requirements – which are also getting tighter every year – then sure, you can still improve.

            How much more efficiency do you think you can push out of a small piston engine on a budget and still maintain the necessary ~100 HP power margin? 10% 20%?

          5. >” the idea that you can be forced to break the law by your employer”

            But cheating on emissions itself isn’t actually breaking any law at least in the EU. Non-compliant vehicles simply cannot be sold, and compliance depends solely on whether it passes the test cycle. There’s no rules about cheating the test, and in fact certain cheats such as disconnecting the alternator to reduce engine load are permitted as they’re not specifically prohibited, and everybody uses them.

            This so called “cycle beating” has been going on since the introduction of the emissions standards. It may be immoral, but not illegal.

          6. “But cheating on emissions itself isn’t actually breaking any law at least in the EU. Non-compliant vehicles simply cannot be sold, and compliance depends solely on whether it passes the test cycle”

            That is a rather too fine a distinction you are trying to make. The places I left were not technically breaking the law either, both were engaged in high risk behaviour that was very likely going to lead to trouble, but more importantly was indicative of a culture where an illegal activity was more than possible.

            The point I’m trying to make here is that you are responsible for your own actions, not just legally, but morally and ethically too, and claims of being forced into compromising these because your employment is at risk are without weight regardless.

          7. @DV82XL:
            Morally or ethically I would not have much of a problem to pass test cycles with some creativity. As Dax said: E.g. in Austria you have really high taxes based on fuel consumption. Before Austria came to the EU it was called “luxury tax”, a value added tax of 32% (!) on cars. After it got to the EU this tax should be abolished, being somehow against EU regulations. Therefore it got a “green cloak” was lowered for low consumption vehicles and increased for higher consumption vehicles. So I am happy, that the datasheet values for consumption are lower than most people could achieve in daily driving. And as this is common knowledge, nobody should pretend to be surprised and even try to go to court about this.
            I think this “Greenies” have exaggerated influence at the moment.

          8. Actually tax on fuel is very proportional to emissions, regardless of how cars measure when under MOT,. I do understand that NOx emissions goes up with increased fuel economy, but CO2 decreases. As it is now care are devided into classes and various tweaked measuring standards favor newer cars even if it is obvious that a 50% larger utility family car can’t possible get 25% better mileage than a compact car from 10 years ago. So the cheating is also in the EU trying to substitute the car industry this way.

          9. >”Actually tax on fuel is very proportional to emissions”

            It’s unfortunate though that fuel consumption is inflexible, because those who consume most of the fuel are the working classes who can’t afford to buy new cars, nor give up driving. The simple basic cars that the working poor can afford, the great majority of them second-hand vehicles, don’t get stellar fuel economy, which is why jacking up fuel taxes is a sort of Dennis Moore tax, or a reverse robin hood: take from the poor, give to the rich.

            This proved to be very unpopular with the people, so the governments found a more “palatable” way to increase tax on transportation. They argued that the poor would prefer fuel-efficient cars anyhow so there’s no harm in taxing fuel-inefficient “luxury” cars. Trouble was again, the truth of the matter was opposite: you take a regular affordable car – a normal 4-door sedan like a 1995 Toyota Corolla with a simple cheap gasoline engine of ~100HP – and it wouldn’t pass the fuel economy standard, so it gets slapped with an extra tax. To pass the standards they had to introduce smaller lighter vehicles like the hatchbacks, and then the standard got tighter and tighter until even those started to fall out.

            Now it pretty much has to be a useless “smart car” or a plug-in hybrid that gets the combined fuel-electric economy, but those are again more expensive to buy and maintain, and the people tend to use them like regular cars anyhow because recharging spots are rare.

            But you take the same car and put a diesel engine in it, and whoops, now it passes the fuel economy standards with flying colors, sells at a cheaper price, and works on a cheaper fuel because the tax on diesel is lower due to trucks and the transport industry. The market share for diesel cars in Europe jumped from 10% in the 90’s to 53% today. Only problem is – now you got cities full of diesel cars putting out soot and toxic chemicals into the air, and thanks to the high price of the new cars that meet the new standards, people are opting to extend the life of the older more polluting vehicles. It’s gotten to the point where the authorities in Paris have started banning vehicles of 1995 and older vintage.

            So it’s true that tax on fuel is proportional to emissions – only the causality is backwards: the more tax you collect, the more emissions you get.

          10. @Dax – “It’s unfortunate though that fuel consumption is inflexible, because those who consume most of the fuel are the working classes who can’t afford to buy new cars,”

            Don’t forget that fuel consumption taxes also impact rural users far more than urban especially in North America, who don’t have public transportation options in most cases.

          11. Dax says:
            February 27, 2017 at 2:31 pm

            In aviation, when people cheat, other people die…

            Your statement indicates that ANY falsification in aviation leads to deaths. That is erroneous and imflammatory.

            “If I don’t do my job, people die.”
            “Those who eat steak get fat.”
            “People who ski break legs.”
            “All Frenchmen eat snails.”

        2. Because no employee ever has alimony, a mortgage, kids of any age, or other dept piled over their head. The world judges the blue collar workers of the world for their sins and laughs off the culpability of those at the top putting everyone below them in a difficult position. Those that speak up almost always get ignored at best, and often fired or “other reasons”. At worst, those reporting the most egregious offences are prosecuted for their efforts (Bill Binney, Chelsea Manning, etc.).

          1. Yes life isn’t fair. This, however does not licence anyone to break the law, or act unethically, and more to the point, the courts won’t buy it either. Yes, those with position and money can beat the system and this is wrong – all the more reason to cut your losses rather than be their tool and wind up taking the fall.

          2. @DV82XL:
            No it’s no license to break the law, that’s true. Moral and ethics are not that unified criteria. At the moment there are way too many and too strict rules made in the name “environmental protection” or “climate protection”. Therefore it is acceptable to design creative ways around them, as far as legally possible.

          3. >”This, however does not licence anyone to break the law”

            Yet, cycle beating isn’t breaking any law. That’s the difference. The engineers who made the cheat device do not go to prison for it, nor do the company execs, because what they did is merely unethical – not illegal.

            And even the moral/ethics point can be moot because the test standards are impossible to meet, and the alternative would be making worse cars at higher prices. And crying about the number of people dead from air pollution is crocodile tears too. If you don’t want PM and NOx then lower the tax on gasoline. It’s damn if you do and devil if you don’t.

            No. The problem is that the “green left” is operating under a conspiracy theory that the auto-industry is deliberately and purposefully selling non-effcient and polluting vehicles – that the politicians and watchgroups know better what the best state of technology is than the very engineers who design them – and furthermore, that people are too stupid to understand that they’re better off sitting in a bus than in a BMW so private car ownership should be made impossible anyhow. Also, everyone should be wearing brown overalls because that’s efficient.

          4. >”Which has drifted so far from my original contention as to be pointless.”

            I disagree, because I for one think the cycle beating measures aren’t unethical. Quite the opposite – it’s the regulations that are unreasonable, and there is nothing unethical or wrong to break an unreasonable rule.

            See how they’re simpy honing off the last percentage of a percentage point with the standards? The actual impact of reducing emissions further isn’t justified by the cost of doing so, and all they’re doing is making cars and transportation more expensive for the people who depend on it for their living.

          5. @Dax – “I disagree, because I for one think the cycle beating measures aren’t unethical.”

            Perhaps not. but that wasn’t what I was asserting. I stated that the claim that an employee must break the law or violate their ethics or risk their job is not a viable excuse. Period. If this particular situation is interpreted as falling within the law and ethical guidelines then it is a matter of broad corpus delicti – no foul, no harm.

            However if that is indeed the case, I hardly see why this story is being told about engineers being ordered to cheat….

          6. >” I stated that the claim that an employee must break the law or violate their ethics or risk their job is not a viable excuse. Period.”

            But nobody said they were required to break any law, and their ethics are their own. The point is that the company culture is “Make it happen or we’ll find someone else to do it.” – and so it happens.

            >” I hardly see why this story is being told about engineers being ordered to cheat….”

            Because they were. The question is only whether they were explicitly told to _cheat_, or just to find a way to get the cars to pass the standard. The “cheating” aspect of it is up to interpretation: everyone cheats the test cycles in every possible way that fits within the letter of the rules.

            So where VW tripped is by trying the same cycle-busting in the US where the standards are set deliberately so high as to effectively prevent any competition from diesel vehicles. The relevant standards in this case between US/EU were 0.043 g/km vs. 0.180 g/km which makes the US standard 4 times tighter. That’s because the US automakers don’t want the more efficient diesel vehicles, because the government would instantly jack up the CAFE standards to reflect that, and that would effectively end the sales of SUVs and other popular vehicles. It’s a very protectionist market.

          7. @Dax – You can try to justify this particular incident as much as you want, but the fact that there is a question at all clearly shows that it isn’t that simple. At any rate, if the argument holds that they did nothing wrong in the first place, then they are obviously in the clear. On the other hand in cases where there is clear wrongdoing, attempting to justify any action on the bases of the claim that one was forced into doing so or risk being fired simply doesn’t fly. That was the only point I’ve been making here.

          8. Also, while defeat devices are subject of penalty in the EU:

            “Article 5 (2) of Euro 6 Regulation 715/2007/EC prohibits the use of defeat devices. Article 3(10) defines defeat device as any element of design which senses temperature, vehicle speed, engine speed (RPM), transmission gear, manifold vacuum or any other parameter for the purpose of activating, modulating, delaying or deactivating the operation of any part of the emission control system, that reduces the effectiveness of the emission control system under conditions which may reasonably be expected to be encountered in normal vehicle operation and use.”

            Following the description, the emissions control system itself is necessarily a “defeat device”, because it does all that during normal operation. It may need for example to reduce the injection of urea into the exhaust manifold when the user takes their foot off the gas pedal, because otherwise the sudden drop in exhaust temperatures would lead to emissions of ammonia out of the tail pipe. The law is written with the assumption that the emissions control technology is totally passive – such as a fixed filter or catalytic converter – so anyone with an active emissions controller can be arbitrarily accused of cheating and be subjected to penalties.

            It just depends on whether you want to throw yourself under the bus with them. In Europe, no car manufacturer wanted to blow the whistle because they were all guilty of the same “cheats”. In the US where diesel cars don’t have much of a market share – suddenly a wild whistleblower appears and everyone is morally outraged.

      2. From (a) horse’s mouth:
        “Ah, you like those?”
        “Yeah. I wish we could get close to that at Chrysler.”
        “I’ll give you the recipe. I called all the body engineers, stamping people, manufacturing, and executives into my conference room. And I said, ‘I am tired of all these lousy body fits. You have six weeks to achieve world-class body fits. I have all your names. If we do not have good body fits in six weeks, I will replace all of you. Thank you for your time today.’ ”
        “That’s how you did it?”
        “Yes. And it worked.”

  2. Even though this should have never happened, I am happy the head of development was smart enough to get the order in writing. If he hadn’t followed the order he would have probably lost his job, and even though the right thing to do was refuse, this is easier said then done when one has a job he likes and or a job that provides for his and his families life.

    1. I can’t help but wonder if those unrealistic regulations are based in part on the manufacturers claiming during the negotiations that they could do better engineering than the physics allowed, thus giving regulators reasonable hope that the stricter standards could be met. I don’t think it’s at all fair to put 100% of the blame on the regulators. It’s not like they just pick numbers completely out of a hat and say “meet this”, because if it really worked that way we’d have 1000mpg regulations.

        1. politicians pretend to be the ones saving the environment by make stricter regulations, manufacturers pretend to meet those regulations to sell cars and everyone is happy until someone spills the beans…

        2. Uh… no.
          Let’s get the facts straight.
          The cars had a special mode in the programming that would detect if it was being used for an emissions test and then adjust the performance parameters of the engine to meet the test. They COULD have used those parameters ALL THE TIME. But they didn’t, because they wanted to be able to claim and sell a higher performance car. But it was not possible for them to achieve their desired performance AND pass the test with their technology, so they cheated.
          The emissions standards are completely viable and realistic. Evidently, trying to meet those standards and get the performance they wanted to sell was the only thing that wasn’t. They cheated to make their product seem more attractive. Other car companies seem to comply with the regulations just fine.

          1. However it’s not just performance that suffers in “cheat mode”, there’s most likely higher wear&tear on the engine as well…
            For example if you want more power from the engine, you have to for minimize EGR (an emissions thing), less usage of EGR means the EGR valve will not get clogged so quickly, thus the engine can run longer service intervals before the part needs cleaning/replacing. Less EGR will also generally mean less crap elsewhere in the engine, including the oil, so again – longer service interval.

            “Other car companies seem to comply with the regulations just fine” are either using way more expensive methods of achieving so, or more likely – cheating as well in a different manner, the physics is just not on par with the demands.

          2. In the world of diesel, air/fuel ratio, NOx, and soot (particulate) are pretty much a balancing act. Running a leaner mix helps fuel efficiency, but increases combustion temps and results in more NOx. It also helps “passive” regeneration, which is essentially burning the carbon off the particulate filter under normal driving conditions. Running a richer mixture lowers temps and NOx, but uses more fuel and requires the particulate filter to regenerate more often which uses more fuel and reduces life of the filter.

            ALL other manufacturers have used DEF (diesel exhaust fluid, AKA urea) to get around the NOx issue while not affecting the particulate filter or fuel economy. However, I believe VW decided to pass and use the NOx “trap”, which we now all know doesn’t really work. I remember reading that it was a few hundred $ cheaper per car and less burden on the customer, so they went the cheat route.

          3. There’s an additional problem with urea injection in that if you inject too much or there’s not enough heat in the exhaust, the result is emissions of ammonia.

            So the other manufacturers who use urea (adblue) generally err on the side of caution, and inject too little. When the engine is just warming up, it belches out NOx, or when the load changes and the system can’t keep up, etc.

            But when a car with urea injection is put on a test bench, it is allowed to warm up to temperature, and the cycle profile is known in advance and the system tuned for that profile – well, same thing. Lower emissions on the bench, who cares what it does on the roads!

      1. At least in the US, the Diesel emission levels were a result of an industry company who had forseen the coming legal maelstrom, and worked ahead of it’s competitors to develop tech, so they knew what they could do, and the others couldn’t. When the EPA asked industry to collaborate, no company was willing to help, aside from that one. That company was more than happy to advise guidelines that it knew it could meet, but others couldn’t. I did work for that company for a while, and it was never publicly confirmed that that was how it went down, but it was very much hinted at.

    2. Smog regulations have drastically improved air quality since the 1970s. Peak ozone levels in the Bay Area, for example, was over 0.6 parts per million in 1968. By 1996, it was under 0.3.

      Other car companies meet these regulations. Volkswagen chose to stay with diesel. They tried to make it work, couldn’t, and then lied about it.

      1. Yes. This. i can’t find the reference, but the Clean Air Act has saved more American lives than any other single act of legfislation. And without legislation, car makers simply wouldn’t have made the effort to clean up.

        As far as I know, not one person from VW or their cheating subcontractors have served a day of jail-time. So it’s hard to think of the current regulatory regime as all that oppressive.

    3. Yeah damn those regulations requiring clean air. How could it possibly be that as we advance we take a technology that isn’t able to work cleanly off the market. Damn those regulations.

      Or maybe, just fuck diesel. If it can’t meet the regulations, don’t make diesel cars.
      Or maybe VW should have just put in the more expensive urea system that other car makers who didn’t cheat the tests have.

      Oh no that doesn’t fit your world view. Damn those unrealistic regulations.

      1. Yeah… Lets get rid of all those other things that pollute the air. Lets start with the entire battery industry, which produces a very significant amount of hazardous waste, including air pollutants. Oh, all your “clean energy” systems don’t work anymore and you have to pedal your electric car… Sorry to hear that.

        Do you know what the #1 source of air pollution is? It’s the hot air politicians spew day in and day out. Try getting rid of that first.

        1. “Lets start with the entire battery industry, which produces a very significant amount of hazardous waste, including air pollutants.”

          Got any references to back that up?

          “Do you know what the #1 source of air pollution is? It’s the hot air politicians spew day in and day out. Try getting rid of that first.”

          Ya got that right.

          1. That comment was based primarily out of personal experience, not any specific sources. That being said…

            Article on the toxic pollutants which can be released from poorly made batteries: (Via Google)

            As for the hazardous waste created by the battery industry, look up how lithium, among other metals, is mined and processed. Not to mention the hazardous waste of disposing of the batteries which have reached the end of their useful life. For a less modern look at battery waste, note that humans have not always been so good about how we handle lead-acid batteries… History as a good indicator of the future and all that.

            Just to clarify the point I was making previously is that all of the “green” technologies are not really much better than the current one at this point, the only difference is how far down the production chain you have to look before that fact becomes obvious. Even our ecological savior, the mighty solar panel, is produced in factories run off of electricity generated by fossil fuels, right along with all the mines and foundries which provide the raw materials and components for them. Its a common fallacy now days to presume that because you are not producing the pollution directly, that you are not causing any through indirect means. Ex. Electric cars are by and large charged by electricity produced by coal (no reference, its simple statistics).

          2. >”Even our ecological savior, the mighty solar panel, is produced in factories run off of electricity generated by fossil fuels”

            You don’t want to check out what process is actually used to separate silicon from silica. Hint, the chemical reaction is SiO2 + C = Si + CO2

          3. uh, we should be quite happy with the production of silicon ingots and their one-time release of CO2 and the creation of any device that will be cycled hundreds or thousands of times compared to a fuel that is continuously burned. It is an elementary exercise to run LCA on green technologies compared to fossil fuels. The results are not ambiguous.

          4. >”and the creation of any device that will be cycled hundreds or thousands of times ”

            It’s more expensive to recycle old solar panels for the silicon, which is why it’s simply not done right now. Same thing with lithium batteries: virgin minerals from the ground are less expensive, both in money and energy. Prices of both panels and batteries would have to go up instead of down to make recycling economically and practically viable.

            That’s the irony: the renewable revolution is marching on because fossil fuels are so cheap, and the Chinese don’t give a crap if the countryside gets polluted by silicon tetrachloride waste. As soon as you start to address these problems, trying to actually use renewable energy to make more renewable energy, the price goes up and the whole expansion halts.

        2. No kidding, any non zero source of waste is significant.
          No, agriculture or mining/energy generation is probably the “#1” source of air pollution rather than politicians breathing.
          Every industry produces waste, we can chose ones which produce less and manage those which are absolutely neccessary to minimise their impact on our health and that of the natural world.
          If that sounds too difficult for you maybe you should go have a sit down and let more qualified people handle this.

  3. Please note that BILD is NOT known for their good investigation or good articles, as they cover a lower social class.

    This does not mean that what they say is always wrong, but it’s mostly infotainement.

      1. Why should he be ashamed of a sharing a plain fact? Because it upsets someone’s sensibilities? Media companies have target audiences. They craft both language and content for them.

      2. “Lesser educated class” would probably be a better way of putting it. It’s a tabloid, much like the Murdoch owned titles such as the Daily Mail. Take what you read with a pinch of salt – they’re unsourced rumour-mills that write so much bullshit that the back page is basically dedicated to court enforced retractions of the previous week’s “stories”.

      3. In 2015 Bild raised the price to 0,80 Euros.
        Compare this to FAZ and SZ which currently cost 2,70 Euros.

        There is a famous blog dedicated to pointing out errors in the Bild.

        Every issue of Bild contains a picture of a, well…, voluptuous woman.

      1. I don’t think so. I completly agree that the BILD is crap, but for me it’s obvious that the “big bosses” @Audi/WV/whatever have something to do with all this scandal, they knewed (? – know) what was going on and i’m quite sure they explicitly told the engineers to do so. Some people will do almost everything for making money.
        Also the BILD-article is quite reluctant (i mean “zurückhaltend”), they say “angeblich” = supposedly and only tell what Weiß claims. But of course it’s possible that they say that Weiß said something he never actually did though (or something like this).

    1. Thanks, this is both true and IMPORTANT to notice. BILD should NOT be considered a reliable source. Neither should WELT, as it’s basically the same publisher (Springer). It is true, however, that BILD quite often does get information ahead of other houses, thanks to their “connections”.

    2. I wanted to post exactly that. Well of course someone was going to beat me to it :), it is not a secret by any means !
      With the amount of auditory that exists in developing anything for cars, I couldn’t have been any other way.

  4. i dont get the people saying that we cant make more efficient engines due to physics.
    combustion engines are notoriously inefficient, using roughly a quarter of the available energy for actual work and wasting the rest, it wouldn’t be hard to imagine a much higher efficiency from a given fuel, it might need a completely different type of engine but no one is forcing us to use the inefficient cylinder design of traditional combustion engines, just think about it, you are accelerating and decelerating mass for every single cycle, if there is something physics tells us it is that stuff like that will always be inefficient.

    1. >”combustion engines are notoriously inefficient, using roughly a quarter of the available energy for actual work ”

      Theoretical physical limit for an ICE that is burning gasoline at 550 K is about 50%. In practice, very large and slow diesel engines the size of houses achieve 55-60% efficiency, largely by eliminating convective heat transfer through the cylinder by insulation.

      If we hold 60% as an absolute theoretical maximum, then a car the size and performance of a 1997 Toyota Prius could do 82 MPG or 2.85 L/100km. How much you have to pay to reach it would be a different question, as the 1997 Prius already got 31% engine efficiency.

      The general law of diminishing returns is that halving your difference to perfection doubles your cost, so that reaching perfection is going to cost you infinite resources – it’s not attainable. That’s why, making cars that are significantly better than today will be significantly more costly, and since money means economic activity, which means energy/resource use and pollution, you actually save nothing. At some point you’ll start polluting the environment more to pay for the cars that pollute less.


        For an otto cycle engine with a compression ratio of 10, the theoretical maximum efficiency is 46%

        Modern gasoline engines are already 2/3 of the way there, so there’s actually not much of a room to improve, especially considering that increasing the compression ratio much beyond 10 starts to produce NOx pollution. That’s why there’s a contradiction in the emissions and fuel regulations: the politicians think both are achievable at the same time, and apply sanctions when the auto-manufacturers fail to do the impossible.

        1. you missed the point;

          ICE’s of the reciprocating cylinder type will always be less efficient than alternatives, that point was made to point out that people are staring themselves blind in the automotive industry, one of the least innovative industries i know about, there are plenty of alternatives and to be honest, with the amount of resources the world has wasted on ICE’s we should be a lot closer to the theoretical maximum of any engine type we have historically used, the money used opn space travel is probably vanishing in comparison to ICE development through history.

          1. Unfortunately, there is no easy replacement for the endurance/fuel mileage ICE engines achieve. Battery tech is still a ways off, and generally won’t last even a quarter of the lifespan of a ICE powered vehicle. These are not roadblocks either, to be sure, they will be overcome, but not right now.

            There is an easy way to increase overall efficiency: Diesel-Electric or Hybrid. Diesel Locomotives burn immense amounts of fuel on the face of the statistics, but what most people fail to include in the calculation is how much tonnage they move.

            ICE engines in automotive applications need to be a balance of a couple things: Ease of Maintenance, Simplicity of Construction, and Overall Lifetime Endurance. There is not a lack of innovation in ICE engines for lack of innovative ideas, but lack of general application of those three things. Its what killed things like Rotaries.

          2. i was talking specifically of reciprocating cylinder type ICE’s

            i never said that ICE’s, especially historically, could have been done without, only that the way we have done it makes little sense today, if the amount of resources we have spent on very very very iterative reciprocating cylinder designs had been used on exploring opportunities we might have had practically better options already.

  5. What is with all the hate of environmental regs? I don’t think they were unreasonable, and Audi/VW DID have an option that would make them pass emissions, the same option Mercedes and others used to pass: Urea. It works.

    Unfortunately, we need these regulations and pushes for higher fuel efficiency. Its best we stop trying to pretend that they are just a roadblock instead of an engineering hurdle that can and should be achieved as we face a growing concern with a warmer planet.

    1. industry propaganda, there is plenty of actual evidence that fossil fuel companies have known about man made climate change themselves since the 80’ies, a lot of their research is even available and part of modern climate change science, not that they would admit to that.

    2. I agree. People popping up from Trumpland. It’s often the regulations, which drive industry to change. It’s a basic matter of fact that just continuing to do as we always did isn’t going to work. Neither energy nor room for pollution are infinite on a finite planet.

  6. There is a song in Germany which mentiones the BILD. It says it consist of fear, hate, tits and the weather report.
    Don´t give a fuck about what they write. If there is no other source, then it is most likely fake.

  7. The board people and top exec will probably never even see a court room..

    I’m pretty sure there have been massive amounts of scenerious like this in the auto industry over the last half century..

  8. Good to know the US is not the only place forced unethical engineering tasks are mandated. Too bad here you just get fired, lose your house, and have to work as a technician for the rest of your life…

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