Federal judge approves Volkswagen 2.0-liter diesel settlement

Over a year after Volkswagen’s emissions cheating was revealed, a federal judge has approved a settlement covering 2.0-liter four-cylinder VW diesel cars with illegal “defeat device” software.

U.S. District Court Judge Charles Breyer granted approval yesterday to a settlement that was finalized at the end of July. The settlement covers approximately 475,000 cars, including multiple Volkswagen models and two versions of the Audi A3. It gives owners the options to take a buyback, or wait to have their cars modified to meet emissions standards. Owners are entitled to some cash payments in either case.

Buyback amounts are based on the National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) “Clean Trade-In” value from the day before news of the VW diesel broke in September 2015. That means specific buyback amounts will vary based on the model, options, and mileage. Certain lessees will be able to terminate their leases without penalty, and certain owners will also be excused from loan obligations, according to the Plaintiffs’ Committee for Volkswagen “Clean Diesel” Litigation.

Read more: VW and U.S. dealers reach proposed “Dieselgate” settlement

Owners who want to keep their cars can opt out of the buyback and wait for modifications to be approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and California Air Resources Board (CARB). There is some uncertainty about whether modifying all cars to meet emissions standards will be economically feasible, given the age of the some cars and the likely complexity of the alterations. In September, Elizabeth Cabraser, lead plaintiff’s attorney in the settlement, said most owners were expected to take the buyback.

Whether they take the buyback or keep their cars, owners are entitled to cash payments ranging from $5,100 to approximately $10,000. These payments will be made on top of the NADA trade-in value in the case of buybacks.

The settlement also requires VW to pay $2.7 billion for environmental remediation, and contribute $2.0 billion toward promoting “zero-emission vehicle technology.” The carmaker will have to pay additional penalties if 85 percent of cars haven’t been taken off the road or modified by June 30, 2019.

With the settlement approved, Volkswagen can now begin sending out buyback offers. It must wait for approval from the EPA and CARB before it can begin modifying cars. VW and regulators must also agree on a settlement for the 85,000 delinquent diesels equipped with 3.0-liter V6 engines.

Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: camera with A.I. director, robot arm assistant

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Cars

Tesla given go-ahead to start deliveries of Model 3 to Europe

Tesla has been given the green light to start deliveries of its Model 3 electric sedan to Europe, giving it the chance to compete more effectively with the likes of BMW, Audi, and Mercedes-Benz in the region's premium car market.
Business

Apple banned from distributing some iPhone models in Germany

Apple is following the FTC's lead and has sued Qualcomm for a massive $1 billion in the U.S., $145 million in China, and also in the U.K., claiming the company charged onerous royalties for its patented tech.
Cars

Muscle cars, trucks, and EVs roared into the subdued 2019 Detroit Auto Show

The 2019 Detroit Auto Show was the quietest edition of the event in recent memory, but that doesn't mean nothing significant happened inside the Cobo Center. Here are the new cars and concepts we saw at the show.
Cars

Worried about commuting in winter weather? Nissan has the answer

The Nissan Altima midsize sedan is now available with all-wheel drive. To advertise that fact, Nissan's Canadian division slapped some tank-like tracks on an Altima to create a one-off show car.
Emerging Tech

Too buzzed to drive? Don’t worry — this autonomous car-bar will drive to you

It might just be the best or worst idea that we've ever heard: A self-driving robot bartender you can summon with an app, which promises to mix you the perfect drink wherever you happen to be.
Cars

Lyft and Aptiv’s self-driving car program has come a long way (but not far enough)

Many companies talk about self-driving cars, but Lyft and Aptiv are already using a fleet of them to transport paying customers in Las Vegas. Hop in for a close look at the tech of autonomous cars, and the challenges they face.
Cars

Michigan OKs digital license plates with Rplate’s connected car platform

The state of Michigan approved the use of digital license plates on motor vehicles registered in the state. Reviver Auto, the manufacturer of the Rplate connected car platform, worked with Michigan's Department of State to pass the bill.
Cars

This Chevy Silverado pickup truck is made from more than 300,000 Lego bricks

To promote The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part, Lego and Chevrolet teamed up on a life-size replica of the automaker's Silverado pickup truck made from more than 300,000 plastic bricks.
Cars

Prices for using Tesla Supercharging just skyrocketed

Tesla is updating their Supercharging pricing based on local electricity rates and customer demand, which has lead to an increase in charging costs by as much as 33 percent in some regions.
Cars

Can electric motors finally make three-wheeled cars great?

Every few years, someone tries to sell a three-wheeled vehicle to Americans. Historically, it hasn’t gone very well. We’ve got our suspicions about why people don’t buy trikes, and they boil down to this: a trike is just not a real…
Outdoors

Is Uber planning to put its self-driving tech into bikes and scooters?

Uber reportedly has its eye on building autonomous electric bikes and scooters that ride to a user when summoned by an app. The technology could also be used to make its two-wheelers safer with obstacle avoidance systems.
Cars

Someone just paid supercar money for the very first 2020 Toyota Supra

The 2020 Toyota Supra made its long-awaited debut at the 2019 Detroit Auto Show. The resurrected sports car, famous for a role in The Fast and the Furious, goes on sale in the U.S. this summer.
Cars

Lincoln’s stately, limited-edition flagship sedan sells out in a month

The 1961 Lincoln Continental became a design icon thanks to center-opening "coach doors" (also known as "suicide doors"). Lincoln is bringing those doors back for a special edition of the 2019 Continental.