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Scandal: Exhaust gas fraud at Daimler

Eight defeat devices have been found in Mercedes-Benz's Euroclass 6 E-Class that disguise the true emissions of its cars.

Researcher and hacker Felix Domke has discovered that Daimler is cheating with its emissions software. This prevents the exhaust gases from being cleaned, so that the car never actually drives cleanly. The Federal Motor Transport Authority has already recalled a total of 34 Mercedes models. The motorists who have now sued Daimler have had a hard time proving the abuse in the past. With Domke's 30-page expert report, this could now be easier. Domke has proven in the past how Volkswagen, Opel and Porsche manipulate their software to maximise profits. Deactivation devices are used to keep the engine running smoothly in certain situations, but the pollutant emissions are increased and the limit values are no longer complied with. In some cases, nitrogen oxide emissions are up to 500 percent above the value permitted by law.

Nitrogen oxides should be rendered harmless with the help of AdBlue, a liquid containing urea. Also to save this agent, which has to be stored in a tank in the vehicle and refilled regularly, the engine automatically switches to dirty mode without cleaning the exhaust gases. The rule here is: the older the vehicle, the faster it switches to cheat mode. What is new is that vehicles of Euroclass 6 are affected by the cheating, a Euroclass that was mainly purchased by environmentally conscious users. It is also detrimental to the environmental zones, because despite a good Euroclass, it does not get any cleaner in the affected zones. The time when they will be abolished again is thus becoming a distant prospect; at best, the rules of the low emission zone will be tightened. In the worst case, even more zones will be added. Drivers thus unconsciously pollute the cities and think they are driving a particularly low-emission vehicle.

A spokesman for Daimler, however, does not consider the technology to be an illegal defeat device. Whether this is really the case must now be clarified in court.