Volkswagen are suspending 4,000 car sales in the UK in the latest development of the defeat device scandal.
The software device, used algorithms to detect through steering and atmospheric pressures, when a car was being tested for compliance with EPA standards and altered the emissions of diesel cars during emissions testing. During normal driving conditions, it would turn off to allow for maximum, but more polluting engine performance.
Sales will be temporarily halted across VW, Audi, Skoda and SEAT and represent about 3% of the VW stock in the UK. However, new vehicles with the most current, clean engine technology will continue to be sold.
Until this move, customers were still able to buy vehicles that had the emission altering software.
Volkswagen have confirmed there are almost 1.2 vehicles in the UK affected by the current debacle. Their owners will be asked to take their vehicles in for a service which experts warn, may reduce performance and economy.
Sales of vehicles with the implicated Euro 5 engine have already been partially suspended in Spain, Switzerland has also ordered a temporary sales halt on the vehicles affected, and in the US, where the problem was identified, VW has stopped the sale of all new diesel cars.
The announcement comes the same day the former Labour science minister, Lord Drayson announced he believed Labour should not have promoted diesel cars when they were in power as they were now, “killing people”.
As Chancellor under Tony Blair, former Labour leader, Gordon Brown, introduced a lower vehicle tax in 2001 for diesel cars, which is still currently in place, on the grounds they were less polluting.
Lord Drayson, whose business interests include clean energy, said, ”We have a much better understanding than we did just a few years ago of the health effects of the products of diesel, and they are literally killing people. It is is clear that in retrospect that it was the wrong policy.”
Diesel is less refined and more energy dense than petrol and converts more energy into heat which makes it more economical per litre. It also emits less carbon monoxide, hydrocarbons and carbon dioxide, but higher levels of lung disease causing of nitrogen compounds, and more particulates.