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Hardware Fixes Required For Many Volkswagen Diesel Cars

The bad news just keeps piling on for Volkswagen after the initial announcement of its crazy-high diesel emissions on its 2.0 liter diesel engines, followed up last week by another smackdown implicated its 3.0 liter diesel engine based cars in California.

One of the big outstanding questions in terms of remediation was, “How much of the problem can be fixed with a software update?,” and conversely, “How many of the impacted units require hardware fixes?” The first details of this split were shared this week by The Guardian, in a great piece detailing the specific impact and fixes VW is looking at in Germany, home to 2.4 million VW diesel-powered vehicles.


Image Credit: villorejo /

One key detail stood out — how many vehicles required hardware fixes vs just simple reprogramming at 540,000 vehicles, or a bit less than 25% of the total VW diesels in the country. This is both good and bad, as now we know that the vast majority of VW diesels can be fixed and again be running at or below the legal emissions limits but… that another half million vehicles will likely have to wait longer for the more expensive, invasive fix.

Stepping back from Germany, The Guardian lays out the macro-scale tally:

“The company is recalling 8.5m 2009–2015 models fitted with the software across Europe, starting next year, including the 2.4m in Germany. US officials say Volkswagen programmed the software into diesel engines on 482,000 cars.”


Image Credit: VW

These are mind-numbing totals and really speak to just how egregious this transgression was. It boggles my mind to think of what was going through the heads of VW’s leadership when they dreamed up the plan to bypass emissions testing standards across the globe. Did they think they wouldn’t be caught? Were they trying to save money? Improve performance? Was it worth it?

As reported on Gas2 earlier, VW announced this week that it will start handing out gift cards and vouchers to impacted owners, a small token for the extreme pollution its cars have been kicking out for the last 1–7 years and the embarrassment the drivers have had to endure since the news first broke. Like squirting a juice box onto a raging fire, I’m sure a few million gift cards will make things all better….

Greenpeace re-released its years-old take on VW’s commercials as well:

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Written By

I'm a tech geek passionately in search of actionable ways to reduce the negative impact my life has on the planet, save money and reduce stress. Live intentionally, make conscious decisions, love more, act responsibly, play. The more you know, the less you need. As an activist investor, Kyle owns long term holdings in Tesla, Lightning eMotors, Arcimoto, and SolarEdge.


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