EPA Investigating Bosch over VW Diesel Cheater Software


EPA Investigating Bosch over VW Diesel Cheater Software

Dec 27, 2015

The world’s biggest automotive supplier is being investigated by the U.S. Department of Justice over its role in the Volkswagen diesel-emissions cheating scandal. Prosecutors have launched the investigation to find out whether Robert Bosch GmbH knew about or participated in the software-controlled cheat, which turned off emissions controls in real-world driving conditions.

A Department of Justice spokesman said they had so far found no evidence of Bosch breaking the law, but admitted the investigation was at an early stage. To bring charges against Bosch, he said, investigators would have to prove it knew Volkswagen was using its technology to cheat the U.S. (and EU) emissions tests.

While Bosch declined to comment on the investigation, it released a statement in the early stages of the scandal, insisting it only made components to the specifications delivered by automakers. “How these components are calibrated and integrated into complete vehicle systems is the responsibility of each automaker,” Bosch said at the time.

Bosch’s defense might be made more difficult by an admission to German Sunday newspaper, Bild am Sonntag, that it warned Volkswagen eight years ago that the cheat was illegal.

The paper said its sources had uncovered an internal communication between Bosch and Volkswagen, with Bosch insisting that the “defeat” code emissions test-cheating software was for test purposes and that to use it on production road cars would be against the law. Bosch nonetheless supplied Volkswagen with more than 11 million control modules fitted with the software code.

Another German Sunday newspaper, the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, said one of Volkswagen’s own engineers also blew the whistle on the cheat code in a 2011 internal communication, but was ignored.

Bosch, the world’s biggest automotive supplier, refused to comment, insisting only that its communications with Volkswagen were confidential, as they were with any other car company. Bosch has insisted throughout that it was not to blame, even though it supplied the complete fuel-delivery and metering systems for treating the exhaust gases for the 2.0-liter TDI, plus its common-rail fuel-injection systems. In a statement, Bosch insisted the responsibility for configuring the system “lies with Volkswagen.”

At the heart of all the affected cars is Bosch’s EDC 16 and EDC 17 engine-control module, which also regulates the emissions clean-up on turbo-diesel engines from Fiat, Mercedes-Benz, and BMW. Each car company has its own specification and software to manage the engine’s operation, with the control module providing the base.

One car-company engineer, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, insisted Bosch had to know the code was active in production models.

“I’ve had many arguments with Bosch, and they certainly own the dataset software and let their customers tune the curves. Before each dataset is released it goes back to Bosch for its own validation.

“Bosch is involved in all the development we ever do. They insist on being present at all our physical tests and they log all their own data, so someone somewhere at Bosch will have known what was going on.

“All software routines have to go through the software verification of Bosch, and they have hundreds of milestones of verification, that’s the structure,” he said.

“The car company is never entitled by Bosch to do something on their own.”

Bosch has been at the heart of the auto industry for more than 100 years, being the first company to adopt the magneto to cars to spark the air-fuel mixture and the first to deliver a commercially practical spark plug in 1902. It also sold the world’s first diesel fuel-injection system in 1927.

It employs more than 110,000 people in Germany with more than $1 billion in annual sales and has an unusual corporate structure. It is privately held and donates its profits to charity. The Robert Bosch Foundation charity owns 92 percent of the shares in the company but has no voting rights. The Bosch family owns seven percent of the shares and has eight percent of the voting rights, while other leading industrialists own just 0.01 percent of the company and have 93 percent of the votes.

Its unusual structure sees about 95 percent of its profits plowed back into research and development, while about four percent is disbursed in charitable payments with the rest going to the Bosch family.

(source: caranddriver.com)



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