The full extent of the fallout over Volkswagen's doctoring of emission testing is as yet unclear. PlasticsToday was aware of the suspect nature of diesel emissions testing before the news broke on September 18 (see our September 15 blog), but didn't fully comprehend that "cycle beating" essentially meant turning on an emission control system during lab testing that was off when the vehicle was on the road. The consequences of VW's downright cheating will be massive—starting with the resignation yesterday of CEO Martin Winterkorn—and may indeed force a total rethink of the role of diesel vehicles as environmentally friendly options.
In the 1990s, European governments implemented policies to boost adoption of diesel engines in cars because they emitted less CO2. The initiatives sought to regulate NOx and soot particle emissions later by steadily introducing stricter standards culminating with the recently introduced Euro 6 standard.