MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — West Virginia University researcher Daniel Carden says Volkswagen quickly contacted the WVU research team he leads once information was released back in May that road testing of VW vehicles showed they were releasing more emissions than when they were when tested for certification in a lab.
“We spoke to them about, understandably, this was two vehicles out of millions of vehicles, would they like to look at others? That work never came to fruition,” Carder, the interim director of WVU’s Center for Alternative Fuels, Engines and Emissions, said Tuesday on MetroNews “Talkline.”
His appearance followed last week’s international story of how Volkswagen cheated to make its diesel-fueled vehicles meet emissions standards in the lab though they weren’t performing as well while being driven.
Carder and his team had thought the story had died out following their initial public release of the information in May but the federal EPA announced the test results on Friday.
“My cellphone starts ringing with a number of reporters and, you can imagine, reporters don’t normally want to talk with me,” Carder said.
WVU developed a way to test emission levels during real road driving back in the 1990s. The suitcase-like device was used in the VW testing after the WVU team was recruited by a California-based independent research group that was interested in Volkswagen emissions.
“We started to look at when the systems were active, when they weren’t active and it was fairly evident at the get-go that what was happening was it was Volkswagen trading fuel economy for emissions performance,” Carder said.
WVU found one vehicle had 15 to 35 times more emissions during testing and another five to 20 times.
“Very high pollution levels,” Carder said.
Volkswagen has admitted its wrongdoing and said it is working with regulators. The automaker faces fines and possible criminal charges. The company’s U.S. leader, Michael Horn, admitted at a Monday night gathering in New York the company “totally screwed up.”
“We must fix the cars to prevent this from ever happening again and we have to make this right. This kind of behavior is totally inconsistent with our qualities,” Horn said.
A recall is underway.
Carder was asked on “Talkline” if he believes Volkswagen purposely misled U.S. emission regulators.
“Yeah, one would have to think that now. I mean, originally we wouldn’t assume ‘purposely misled’ I think we would assume they didn’t do enough work in the field on drive calibrations,” he said.