As things stand, "nothing illegal happened," a VW spokesman told the deutsche presse agency. He was responding to a report by SWR radio that newer diesel engines with the euro 6 emissions standard also have software installed that recognizes whether the vehicle is on a test stand, a so-called "cycle recognition". According to the SWR report, the successor to the scandalous EA189 engine, the EA288, is involved.
A VW spokesman explained that it is not forbidden to establish so-called "driving curves". In this process, certain properties of a car are set in such a way that, in principle, it can also be detected whether it is currently undergoing a test run. However, developers were not allowed to use these settings to influence the exhaust control system, for example. There are no indications that something like this could have happened.
Even when asked by SWR, the VW group denied the accusation: vehicles with the EA288 diesel engine did not contain "any cycle detection" and therefore no inadmissible defeat device.
In the fall of 2015, shortly after the VW emissions scandal with the EA189 engine at its center became public, suspicions arose that the newer EA288 unit could also be affected by manipulation. Even then, VW came to the conclusion "after thorough testing" that in both EA288 variants – with euro 6 and the earlier emissions standard euro 5 – "no software is installed that represents an inadmissible defeat device in the sense of the legislation". SWR now refers to internal VW documents from the end of 2015, in which it is described in detail how a "cycle detection" in the EA288 works.
The emissions scandal uncovered four years ago in the USA, which has already cost the VW group many billions of euros, is purely a technical matter of VW software recognizing that the car is being tested for emissions. The settings are then changed so that the benchmarks are reached. In everyday life, the values are then higher, and the values from the laboratory situation are clearly exceeded.