Mercedes-Benz is in the news once again, and for the wrong reason. The German carmaker is being accused of installing cheat software in their vehicles so they could manipulate emissions testing and pass regulations. Authorities discovered that the carmaker’s Euro 6-compliant models used at least eight types of emissions manipulation devices.
The non-profit environmental organisation DUH or Deutsche Umwelthilfe said the devices are designed to detect when a car or van is in the lab for emissions testing. Though the device automatically caps the vehicle’s emission levels during tests, the vehicle reverts to emitting considerable amounts of nitrogen oxide when the vehicle is driven on real roads. DUH used the 2016n Euro 6-compliant Mercedes E350 4MATIC wagon with BlueTec engine in measuring engine and emissions data.
Euro 6-powered diesel vehicles have NOx emissions set at 80mg per km. NOx is a group of highly reactive gases that has adverse effects on human health and the environment.
According to DUH Executive Director Jürgen Resch, the cheat devices mislead drivers into believing that their cars are clean and environmentally safe. In reality, their vehicles release excess levels of NOx emissions by approximately 500%. Their vehicles are highly polluted and contribute to the increase of toxic air in towns and cities.
In 2017, Daimler, the parent company of Mercedes-Benz, had their offices raided in connection to the use of cheat devices. As a result, the vehicle manufacturer pulled out around 774,000 of the affected diesel vehicles for engine correction. KBA or Germany’s Federal Motor Transport Authority said Daimler installed illegal defeat devices in four-cylinder, diesel-engine Mercedes-Benz vehicles with an SCR filter. To lessen emissions, the carmaker used AdBlue.
As mentioned, a defeat device is used to determine when a vehicle is being tested for emissions regulations. It reduces emissions using artificial means, and, during tests, keeps the vehicle’s emissions within the WHO-mandated limits. As such, the vehicle appears fuel-efficient to authorities.
However, when taken out of the lab and driven on real roads, the vehicle shifts to its default mode and releases high amounts of NOx emissions. This makes the vehicle a pollutant, and, in essence, manufacturers lied to their customers about selling only environmentally friendly cars.
What happened during the Dieselgate scandal?
The Volkswagen Group, makers of VW and Audi diesel-powered vehicles, were found to have defeat devices installed in the engine of their diesel vehicles (over half a million in the US). VW initially denied the accusations but later on admitted that they knew about the defeat device. Since the diesel emissions scandal first broke out in September 2015, the carmaker has spent billions on fines, legal fees, and settlement payments. Vehicle recalls are also part of the company’s emissions compliance process.
A couple of years later, Mercedes-Benz received a notice from US authorities about their alleged utilisation of defeat devices in their diesel vehicles. US drivers of Mercedes vehicles also got together to file a class-action lawsuit against the carmaker. The German manufacturer has denied the allegations against them time and time again, but nevertheless continues to spend for fees, fines, settlements, and compensation.
Other carmakers are also involved in the scandal, including Renault, BMW, Peugeot, and Nissan.
What you should know about nitrogen oxide emissions
Nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions are the primary reason why the Dieselgate scandal has become one of the biggest problems within the global automotive industry.
NOx is a group of toxic gases and has nitrogen dioxide and nitric oxide as its main components. These easily react with other elements to produce environmental hazards such as smog and ground-level ozone.
Ground-level ozone has devastating effects on vegetation. Exposure to NOx emissions will stunt plant growth and make them more susceptible to extreme weather conditions like frost.
NOx emissions can also affect a person’s cognitive skills, which can lead to bigger problems, such as Alzheimer’s disease. Sometimes, it can also impact one’s mental health and trigger symptoms of anxiety and depression.
The most life-changing impacts NOx emissions can have are on a person’s health.
If a person is constantly breathing in low levels of NOx, they are most likely to experience health-related symptoms such as difficulty in breathing, fluid in the lungs, and asthma. Some people may also develop bronchitis or emphysema and other respiratory illnesses.
For a person who is continually exposed to high levels of nitrogen oxide emissions, the impacts can be serious. Common in the list is asphyxia, cardiovascular diseases, and vocal cord spasms. Premature death is also a huge risk, especially for those with pre-existing conditions, such as cardiovascular and respiratory illnesses.
Your manufacturer should pay for all the inconveniences that the defeat device has caused you. The only way to do this is for you to bring a claim against your carmaker.
How to start a diesel claim
How should I start my diesel claim?
There are requirements you need to verify first before plunging into the claims process. You’ll have to know if you are eligible to make the claim.
Over at ClaimExperts.co.uk, they have a panel of emissions experts. They know how to go about verifying your eligibility to make a diesel claim.