The administrative court of Schleswig-Holstein in Germany has once again declared that the update for diesel engines Volkswagen proposed in the aftermath of dieselgate is also illegal. The homologation by the official German car agency Kraftfahrt Bundesamt (KBA) is invalid.
The German NGO Deutsche Umwelthilfe (DUH) has presented the update to the court and welcomes the court’s decision “because of the health protection for millions of people in our cities that are exposed to toxic gases emitted by diesel engines”.
Volkswagen has reacted to the judgment and finds it “incorrect and unfounded”. DUH believes that “millions of diesel cars” (the total number is unclear) have to be put on hold until new software for emission treatment has been installed. The Volkswagen Group and KBA are appealing the judgment.
The court has not ordered the cars involved to be stopped from being used until new software is installed. However, the court has ordered the KBA to take “appropriate measures” to resolve the case.
In 2016, after the diesel scandal broke out, the KBA approved a software called ‘thermic window’ to replace the fraud software Volkswagen had installed on some of its diesel engines (mainly the EA-189) to manipulate emission control tests.
Since then, car manufacturers and environmental organizations have fiercely argued about the new software. The manufacturers claim that this thermic window, which inactivates NOx filtering in emissions under a specific temperature, is necessary to protect the engine’s good functioning.
NGOs see the software as a way to dodge emission standards during homologation tests. There are other court actions of the DUH against similar homologated software in diesel cars from other manufacturers like Mercedes-Benz, Porsche, BMW, Fiat and some 15 other car companies.
Meanwhile, the case against former Volkswagen CEO Martin Winterkorn has been resumed after two years of delay because of the health problems of the accused. The main complaint against him is that he has omitted to inform stake- and shareholders of the upcoming problems, which ended up in dieselgate.