Volkswagen Promises Low-Emitting Cars…For Real This Time

Volkswagen car

Volkswagen, in the midst of a multibillion dollar diesel emissions cheating scandal, is promising to make its vehicle fleet more environmentally friendly.

The automaker yesterday announced plans to begin equipping various Volkswagen Group vehicles with gasoline particulate filters, which could cut emissions of fine particulate matter by as much as 90 percent. Exposure to fine particulates has been linked to heart attacks, bronchitis and other health conditions, according to the EPA.

Volkswagen in 2017 will start installing the filters in all direct injection TSI (turbocharged straight injection) and TFSI (turbocharged stratified injection) vehicles, including the Volkswagen Tiguan and the Audi A5. Within five years, as many as 7 million VW vehicles could be equipped with the filters annually.

Volkswagen also is pledging to install the latest emissions control technology in its diesel engine vehicles. The company last year admitted that hundreds of thousands of vehicles in the U.S. and millions worldwide were outfitted with defeat devices: illegal technology that allowed the vehicles to pass emissions tests despite emitting more pollution than allowed.

Dr. Ulrich Eichhorn, head of group research and development at VW, said the automaker is determined to reduce pollution from its diesel vehicles.

“In the future, all models will be equipped with the latest and most efficient SCR catalytic converter technology.”

The decision to use the defeat devices has been a costly one for Volkswagen: the company recently reached a tentative $14.7 billion settlement with the U.S. government and consumers. That settlement only addresses part of the diesel scandal, as the automaker faces additional state lawsuits and potential civil and criminal penalties by the U.S. government.