Mercedes Diesel Engine Possible Defeat Software Found During Investigation

With the flames of Volkswagen's Dieselgate scandal almost extinguished, it looks like the fire is about to ignite once more, this time closer to the South of Germany.
Mercedes-Benz GLK 220 CDI Blue Efficiency 1 photo
Photo: Catalin Garmacea
Once the Wolfsburg-based manufacturer was caught red-handed with its diesel defeat devices, a lot of people in the know said VW wasn't the only one to use them. Almost all major European carmakers have had to answer a few questions, but they weren't all faced with full official investigations.

Daimler and its Mercedes-Benz brand weren't as lucky, so U.S. investigators are still digging to find whether the diesel-powered cars sold in the country had special software installed that would limit the vehicle's emissions during lab testing.

According to Bild am Sonntag (via Automotive News Europe), the officials might have stumbled upon something. They say the engine management software had a function called "Slipguard" that was able to tell when the car was being subjected to lab tests, and while that isn't incriminatory in itself, it certainly raises a few questions.

Especially since it wasn't the only thing the investigators have come across. Another function, this time called "Bit 15," would cut off any emissions cleaning after 26 kilometers (16 miles) of driving, meaning the Mercedes-Benz diesel was just as clean as a similar vehicle from decades ago.

In fact, the publication says this software feature allowed the vehicles to emit up to ten times the allowed quantities of nitrous oxides into the atmosphere, and we all know NOx emissions weren't that strictly regulated before Dieselgate anyway.

Daimler officials have refused to comment on the situation citing the confidentiality of the ongoing investigation, but one spokesperson did say this: "The authorities know the documents and no complaint has been filed. The documents available to Bild have obviously selectively been released in order to harm Daimler and its 290,000 employees." Funny how they managed to slip the 290,000 employees in there, effectively using them as a human shield against any possible penalties. "You're not punishing the company, you're also hitting hard at 290,000 people who had nothing to do with it," they seem to be saying.

Nobody is in any doubt over whether carmakers actually care about how much their vehicles pollute, or they just do whatever it takes to pass the tests and don't bother with what happens once they end up in the real world. But if these allegations prove to be correct, depending on how wide-spread they are, Mercedes-Benz might suffer a fate similar to that of Volkswagen's.
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About the author: Vlad Mitrache
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"Boy meets car, boy loves car, boy gets journalism degree and starts job writing and editing at a car magazine" - 5/5. (Vlad Mitrache if he was a movie)
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