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Hydrogen Cars Just a Dodge, Argues Tesla Exec

Fuel-cell vehicles being used as props to dodge fuel-economy rules, says O’Connell.

by on Nov.20, 2015

Tesla recently launched its second product line, the Model X battery-electric SUV.

Fuel-cell cars are little more than expensive props used by automakers to dodge increasingly tough fuel-economy regulations and emission standards, declared a senior executive from the Tesla Motor Co.

Diarmuid O’Connell, Tesla’s Vice President of Corporate and Business Development, told the Automotive Press Association Friday, that fuel cell technology simply is not practical because it will require a huge investment in an entirely new infrastructure to provide the hydrogen gas those vehicles needed.

The Last Word!

Electric vehicles are more practical because they do not require anywhere as much of a new investment in public infrastructure, argued O’Connell, noting that Tesla has supported an expansion of high-speed EV-charging capabilities off its own balance sheet.


Battery Cars Could Soon Generate 25% of Audi Sales

German maker says battery prices are plunging; will make EVs cost competitive.

by on Nov.20, 2015

The Audi e-tron Quattro SUV Concept will be followed by a production model around 2018.

For now, it’s just a show car, drawing curious gawkers to the maker’s stand at the L.A. Auto Show, but in less than three years, Audi intends to have a production version of the e-tron Quattro Concept in showrooms around the world.

And with a range of more than 300 miles, the German maker is betting the electric SUV will charge up consumers, becoming a mainstream rather than niche product. The added range is just one of the positive factors, however. Audi is expecting a sharp decrease in the cost of batteries by the time the production SUV comes to market in 2018.

Auto Show News!

And, with a slew of additional e-tron models, both plug-in hybrids and pure battery-electric vehicles, or BEVs, in the works, Audi planners predict the technology could soon account for as much as a quarter of their U.S. sales. (more…)

VW Offering Diesel Owners Goodwill Gift Cards, Vouchers

German maker’s debt downgraded by two key ratings agencies.

by on Nov.09, 2015

VW owners won't lose their right to sue the company by accepting the goodwill offerings.

Owners of Volkswagen vehicles involved in a diesel cheating scandal are set to receive $1,000 in gift cars and vouchers, as well as free roadside service, as part of a goodwill gesture, the maker announced Monday.

The move affects owners of 482,000 vehicles equipped with VW’s 2.0-liter EA-189 diesel engines sold in the U.S. over a seven-year period. In September, the Environmental Protection Agency charged that the maker had used a so-called “defect device” to pass emissions tests, even though the vehicles produced far more pollution in real-world use, allegations the automaker subsequently confirmed.

A Global Perspective!

VW also revealed the suspect software was installed on a total of 11 million vehicles sold worldwide. And while the German maker plans to begin installing a fix as early as January, repairs could take significantly longer in the U.S. because VW has not come up with a solution accepted by the EPA.


Volkswagen Engineers Admit Cheating, Feared Failure

Senior VW execs may avoid U.S. travel.

by on Nov.09, 2015

Former VW CEO Martin Winterkorn created a climate of fear encouraging cheating, says paper.

As an internal investigation gets underway, several Volkswagen engineers have acknowledged rigging emissions tests, among other things by adjusting tire settings and using non-standard oil.

A culture of fear may have driven Volkswagen’s emissions test cheating, according to a new report in the German paper, Bild am Sonntag, Volkswagen engineers afraid of what would happen if they couldn’t meet former CEO Martin Winterkorn’s aggressive CO2 targets.

In the Know!

Meanwhile, a separate report out of Germany indicates some VW managers are now reluctant to come to the U.S. fearing they could get caught up in an ongoing criminal probe by the Justice Department. At least one employee reportedly had his passport taken during a visit to the States.


VW, Porsche, Audi Order Stop-Sale on High-Line Diesels

But German brands contend they didn't cheat with 3.0-liter diesel.

by on Nov.04, 2015

The Audi Q7 TDI is one of the numerous Audi, Porsche and VW models affected by the stop-sale.

Volkswagen and its Audi and Porsche brands have ordered a stop-sale on a wide range of high-end diesel vehicles accused by the Environmental Protection Agency of using hidden software to cheat on emissions tests.

But the German maker contends the code identified by the EPA was not intended to hide pollution problems with the company’s 3.0-liter turbodiesel but actually to further reduce emissions in real-world conditions.

Getting to the Facts!

“It’s an auxiliary emissions control device, not the defeat device used in the 2.0-liter diesel,” said Audi spokesman Brad Stertz, referring to the smaller diesel engine used in 11 million vehicles sold worldwide, including 482,000 sold in the U.S. over a seven-year period.


VW Finds “Irregularities” With 800,000 More Cars

This time, gas and diesel engines affected.

by on Nov.03, 2015

VW says it may have "irregularities" in the emissions and fuel economy numbers on 800,000 vehicles.

Volkswagen has revealed an internal audit has found “irregularities” with the emissions – and possibly the fuel economy numbers — involving another 800,000 vehicles sold worldwide.

Significantly, the latest problem appears to impact gasoline vehicles, as well as those using diesel engines. According to the German maker, the cost of repairing the newly discovered problems could add another 2 billion euros, or nearly $2.2 billion, to the maker’s tab, on top of the $7.3 billion it has already set aside to cover the emissions cheating scandal first revealed in mid-September.

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“From the very start I have pushed hard for the relentless and comprehensive clarification of events,” said Matthias Mueller, who was named CEO after the crisis began. “We will stop at nothing and nobody. This is a painful process, but it is our only alternative. For us, the only thing that counts is the truth.”


VW Shares Take Another Tumble as Maker Accused of More Cheating

Investors worry cost of scandal continuing to mount.

by on Nov.03, 2015

VW could face hefty new fines if the latest allegations of emissions cheating prove true.

Volkswagen investors raced to sell off their shares again Tuesday as new revelations raise the specter that the maker’s already severe diesel emissions cheating scandal could grow worse – and far more costly.

By midday, European time, shares of Volkswagen AG were off about 3.5%, after plunging by 5% at the opening of the day. At the current level, around $109, shares in the German giant will be off by nearly 60% from their peak of $255.20 last March 16th, and the $167.80 they were trading at on September 17th, the day before the EPA first documented Volkswagen’s cheating.

Your Inside Source!

Yesterday, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency alleged VW had used a similar approach on a different diesel engine used in luxury cars such as the Porsche Cayenne and Audi A6 – a charge VW denies.


EPA Accuses VW of Cheating on Additional Diesel Models

Luxury products from Audi, Porsche also used “defeat devices,” feds charge.

by on Nov.02, 2015

The EPA claims VW also cheated on emissions tests involving luxury models like the Porsche Cayenne Diesel.

(The story has been updated to include a response to the EPA charges by Volkswagen.)

Volkswagen’s emissions cheating scandal was far broader than originally believed, according to allegations by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

The EPA is now accusing the German maker of using a so-called “defeat devices,” software designed to fool government emissions tests, on a variety of luxury models from the Audi and Porsche brands. The announcement comes six weeks after the feds charged VW took steps to cover up excess emissions on 482,000 vehicles sold in the U.S. over a seven-year period.

Breaking News!

“We have clear evidence of these additional violations,” said Cynthia Giles, assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance. “We thought it was important to put Volkswagen on notice and to inform the public,” she said during a conference call with reporters.


Volkswagen Drops $1.83 Bil into the Red for Q3

Senior exec apologizes for diesel emissions scandal during Tokyo Motor Show news conference.

by on Oct.28, 2015

The real battle for world dominance will be in China where VW is firmly entrenched.

VW only began to feel the impact of its diesel scandal during the third quarter.

Only starting to feel the financial pain from its diesel emissions scandal, Volkswagen AG reported a $1.83 billion third-quarter loss on Wednesday.

The German maker also announced that it saw a 1.5% year-over-year decline in vehicle sales for the first nine months of 2015, to 7,430,794. VW surged to first place in the global sales race during the first half of the year, but it has now slipped back into second, losing its lead to Toyota Motor Co.

In the Know!

Third-quarter sales and earnings were only partially impacted by the revelation that VW had cheated on diesel emissions tests by installing special software in 11 million vehicles sold worldwide – including 482,000 in the U.S. During an appearance at the Tokyo Motor Show earlier on Wednesday, a senior VW official bowed an issued an apology.


Public Relations Hits Keep Coming for Volkswagen

Automaker gives back nearly a dozen awards due to diesel scandal.

by on Oct.20, 2015

Michael Horn, head of VW of America, in better times for the automaker when it was winning awards. Now the company is returning them.

The fallout for Volkswagen is spreading behind its diesel-powered vehicles as a major automotive publication announced today it will not consider any VW or Audi vehicles for one of its major awards.

Ward’s Communications said it won’t be allowing any of the maker engines to be part of its annual 10 best engines competition. The automaker just gave back its car of the year award last week and it’s likely this is just beginning for the automaker.

Adding Perspective!

“We discussed it at length,” senior editor Tom Murphy told the Detroit Free Press. “What VW admitted to is very troubling, and it still hasn’t come clean with all the details. There are too many unknowns.” (more…)