Skip to main content

Volkswagen could face criminal charges in the U.S.

vw moia mobility services division volkswagen emblem logo 1
If Dieselgate were a three-act play, we’d be close to the end of the first act. It’s not a drama, however, and certainly not amusing to any of those involved, which in an environmental sense includes us all. It’s more like a tragedy. Volkswagen Group’s diesel engine software rigging scandal is still in the first year of resolution in a process likely to drag on for several years.

In the latest development, the United States Department of Justice has enough evidence to bring criminal charges against the automotive giant as well as individual VW employees, according to Ars Technica.

Citing a Wall Street Journal article about the DoJ’s and VW, Ars Technica reported that the decision to prosecute has not been made. The attorneys are “torn” between taking Volkswagen to court to get a guilty plea or negotiating an agreement. The prosecution agreement would drop criminal charges against the group on the condition that VW sign a separate agreement to abide by specific settlement terms.

Reuters reported that a DoJ prosecution agreement with Volkswagen could involve “an independent monitor overseeing the German automaker’s conduct and significant yet-to-be determined fines for emissions violations.”

According to the Wall Street Journal, prosecutors aren’t sure which criminal charges to file, if they do decide to go that way. Choices could include misleading both regulators and consumers.  The newspaper said it expects Volkswagen would get some leniency for the $15 billion civil settlement deal via which the German company will offer to buy back diesel vehicles with the emissions test cheating software. Additional fines could still be levied as a result of a criminal case or agreed to as part of a prosecution agreement. The expectation is that add-on fines could be greater than the $1.2 billion Toyota paid in 2014 for not disclosing acceleration problems.

Regardless of whether the DoJ takes Volkswagen Group to court, there’s still a chance it will levy criminal charges against VW employees. Civil lawsuits have been filed against two dozen VW group employees involved with the software scheme by attorneys general in Maryland, New York, and Massachusetts.

Volkswagen Group still doesn’t have a final agreement on 85,000 3.0L diesel vehicles apart from the nearly 500,000 2.0L affected by the $15 billion settlement deal. Perhaps that deal for the 3.0 liter VWs, Porsches, and Audis will arise in Act 2.

Editors' Recommendations

Bruce Brown
Digital Trends Contributing Editor Bruce Brown is a member of the Smart Homes and Commerce teams. Bruce uses smart devices…
U.S. Navy’s robot submarines could carry out autonomous attacks
Orca sub

The U.S. Navy is in the process of developing armed robot submarines, which could theoretically be used to kill without direct human oversight.

The project is being developed by the Office of Naval Research under the name CLAWS, although it has not been made clear exactly what the acronym stands for. In budget documents, the autonomous underwater weapons system is described as being useful for increasing “mission areas into kinetic effects.” New Scientist, which was first to publish details of these documents, describes this as “military-speak for destroying things.”

Read more
U.S. military facial recognition could identify people from 1 km away
collage of facial recognition faces

Thanks to recent advances in machine learning, facial-recognition technology can pick faces out of a crowd with impressive accuracy. But just how far away from their subjects can cutting-edge facial-recognition systems work? According to a new report, a whole lot further than you probably think. So far, in fact, that the person identified may not even realize that they were caught on camera in the first place.

New Scientist writes that the United States military is in the process of funding the creation of a portable face-recognition device that's able to identify individuals from up to 1 kilometer away. That’s the equivalent of almost 11 football fields.

Read more
Nissan teams up with EVgo to provide free charging of Leaf vehicles in U.S.
2019 nissan leaf plus review 11

Nissan and EVgo have announced that they are providing new Nissan Leaf owners and lessees access to EVgo's U.S. charging network through a new program, called Nissan Energy Perks by EVgo. Nissan is hoping that the new program will encourage more U.S.-based drivers to switch over to an electric vehicle. Through the program, Nissan will provide $250 in charging credits to EVgo's 750 public charging station locations with more than 1,200 fast chargers. The program is for new or lease purchases of the Leaf or Leaf Plus made either on or after November 1, 2019.

"Nissan is a longtime leader in electric vehicles and this new partnership with EVgo will give Nissan Leaf owners confidence powered by tens of thousands of chargers across America," said Aditya Jairaj, director of EV sales and marketing for Nissan North America. "Convenient access to public chargers can be incredibly helpful for Leaf owners in their day-to-day lives."

Read more