The lengths at which German carmakers went in order to deceive the public when it comes to the emission levels seem unparalleled in the history of the industrialized world. With the Dieselgate fallout still looming and lawsuits popping up all over the world, new and more horrendous details emerge about the practices of some of the world’s most prestigious car makers.6 photosAccording to The New York Times, citing details from an ongoing lawsuit brought against Volkswagen in the United States, in 2014, a few months before the Dieselgate scandal broke, VW was engaged in an effort to prove that the emission of their newest car models were cleaner than ever before and ndidn’t cause cancer.
To defend that claim with facts, VW, through the European Research Group on Environment and Health in the Transport Sector, commissioned the Lovelace Respiratory Research Institute, an Albuquerque laboratory, to conduct an experiment that involved a diesel Volkswagen Beetle and 10 macaque monkeys. The goal was to compare the results of the Beetle emission to those of a 1999 Ford diesel pickup.
The test subjects were enclosed in sealed chambers, while in an adjacent room the Beetle was rigged to a treadmill. Exhaust from the pipes was sucked and pumped in the chamber where the monkeys were watching cartoons to keep them calm. For a period of four hours, the macaques were breathing TDI Beetle fumes.
The Beetle was of course rigged so that it recognized when it was on a treadmill and give false results. This didn’t affect the finding of the study, though, meant to rebuke a World Health Organization 2012 report that classified diesel exhaust as a carcinogen, claim Lovelace Institute researchers.
According to a statement in court by Jake McDonald, the overseer of the experiment, Volkswagen tweaked the car used in such a way that nitrogen dioxide was only a fraction of what it usually is during normal driving. Nitrogen dioxide is linked, among other things, to heart attacks and lung cancer. The results of the experiment were never published.
As a twist, NYT reports that the European Research Group on Environment and Health in the Transport Sector was funded by three major German manufacturers: Volkswagen, Daimler and BMW. The group was suspended last year.
Daimler and BMW deny any knowledge of Volkswagen’s attempt to rig the research on the carcinogenic effects of diesel fumes.