Here's Exactly How Volkswagen's Diesel Defeat Device Worked

Illustration for article titled Here's Exactly How Volkswagen's Diesel Defeat Device Worked
Photo: AP

Things got weird with Dieselgate when, last month, The New York Times reported that the company tested diesel emissions on ten monkeys. The development was a sad and somewhat ghoulish one and, in the end, pointless, since VW had defeat devices installed on many of their diesels. How did those work, exactly? Let’s go into the details.


By “let’s” I mean let’s watch Jason Fenske from Engineering Explained explain it. This video is a bit different from your usual Engineering Explained video, in that Fenske (rightly) goes in pretty hard on Volkswagen.

I’m impressed with just how elaborate the whole setup was, so much that it might have (probably was) easier to just play it straight. And as Fenske points out, pour one out for the employees caught up in the fraud who had no idea what was happening. Oh, and those poor monkeys!

News Editor at Jalopnik. 2008 Honda Fit Sport.



I may never understand the hate and vitriol expressed by so many toward VW about the emissions cheat device seeing as there are far more (by an order of magnitude) older diesel vehicles that pollute far more than the VW “clean diesels” did on their dirtiest days. The cumulative effect of the additional NOx into the atmosphere is the equivalent of one man pissing into the ocean - doesn’t add up to anything... while in the meantime, people had reliable, fun, and incredibly efficient transportation that wasn’t leaving a visible cloud of soot behind them everywhere they went.