Posted on March 05, 2018 by Matt Pressman
Netflix has a new series, Dirty Money, and its first episode "Hard NOx" from Director Alex Gibney, is disturbing. Why should this be of interest to Tesla fans? Because it shows the lengths to which legacy automakers will work to maintain a fossil fuel future. You might've read something about Volkswagen, the world's biggest automaker, embroiled in an ever-expanding Dieselgate crisis. But, as bad as it is, it's actually far worse than many suspected.
Above: Netflix's talked-about new show, Dirty Money (Image: Netflix)
Car and Driver reports, "Alex Gibney’s Dirty Money series, which first aired on Netflix... described [VW's experiental] test as initially intended to expose a person pedaling an exercise bike to diesel fumes. The researchers intended to 'poke and prod that person later to determine what type of health effects they would see from this person being gassed,' said Michael Melkersen, a Virginia lawyer suing VW."
Did VW really gas humans to prove their innocence in Dieselgate? Allegedly. But originally, "the proposed human test subject was abandoned in favor of 10 monkeys... placed in airtight chambers and shown cartoons as they breathed fumes from a 2013 VW Beetle TDI running on a dynamometer. The comparison vehicle was an older diesel Ford F-series truck. Volkswagen indirectly paid [$730,000] for the study."
Above: A clip from "Hard NOx" on the Netflix series, Dirty Money (Youtube: Sunday Times Driving)
Furthermore, "another damning aspect of the revelations is that VW allegedly planned to use the study as part of its wider plan to manipulate emissions. The Beetle TDI was performing in the engine computer’s test-bench mode, according to the documentary, which was programmed so that the car would emit far less nitrogen oxide than it would while being operated normally on the road. The mode allowed the car to pass emissions regulations and is the cheat at the center of Volkswagen’s diesel-emissions scandal."
Not surprisingly, VW is working to delay trials related to the issue. Nevertheless, Volkswagen admitted in a legal statement to the New York Times, “The scientific methods used to conduct the study were wrong. Animal testing is completely inconsistent with our corporate standards. We apologize for the inappropriate behavior that occurred and for the poor judgment of individuals who were involved.” Ummm, yeah.
Above: On a more upbeat note, diesel sales are (fortunately) starting to taper off in Western Europe (Source: Forbes via AID Research)
There is a silver lining in the clouds. Countries and cities across the world are planning to ban diesel (and gas) cars. And just recently, according to CNN, "Germany's top court has paved the way for [its] major cities to ban diesel vehicles... The decision could fuel efforts to implement similar restrictions across Europe." Sure enough, following that news, reports surfaced that "Rome, one of Europe’s most traffic-clogged cities... plans to ban diesel cars from the centre by 2024."