VW’s U.S. settlement to grow to $15 billion in emissions scandal, report says

10Volkswagen AG’s settlement with nearly 500,000 U.S. diesel owners and government regulators over polluting vehicles is valued at more than $15 billion cash, two sources briefed on the matter told Reuters on Monday.

The settlement, to be announced on Tuesday in Washington, includes $10.033 billion to offer buybacks to owners of about 475,000 polluting vehicles and nearly $5 billion in funds to offset excess diesel emissions and boost zero emission vehicles, the sources said.

A separate settlement with nearly all U.S. state attorneys general over excess diesel emissions will be announced on Tuesday and is expected to be more than $500 million and will push the total to over $15 billion, a separate source briefed on the matter said.

Spokeswomen for U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Volkswagen declined to comment.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, due to court-imposed gag rules, the first sources said that owners of 2.0 liter diesel VW 2009-2015 cars will receive at least $5,100 compensation along with the estimated value of the vehicles as of September 2015, before the scandal erupted. Some owners will get as much as $10,000 in compensation, the first sources said, depending on the value of the car.

The $10.033 billion is the maximum VW could pay if it had to buyback all vehicles, but the actual amount VW will pay could be significantly less if a large number of owners take buybacks.

Prior owners will get half of current owners, while people who leased cars will also get compensation, said the first sources.

Owners would also receive the same compensation if they choose to have the vehicles repaired, assuming U.S. regulators approve a fix at a later date.

Downsizing and Turbocharging

8The two main benefits in downsizing an internal combustion engine are thermodynamic and mechanical. “From a thermodynamic point of view, the engine operation will move towards higher loads, at which the engine efficiency is higher,” says Rizzoni. “From the mechanical point of view, the positive aspect lies in the reduction of the friction in the piston units, together with the reduction of the number of cylinders.”

Downsized engines are lighter than conventional engines, thereby reducing vehicle mass and the improving vehicle fuel consumption. Turbocharging recovers the energy of the exhaust gasses to increase the inducted charge, therefore increasing the power-to-displacement ratio. “A downsized and turbocharged engine has the potential to have the same or better performance as a non-downsized, normally aspirated engine, with the advantage of a significant increase of fuel efficiency,” says Rizzoni.

Advanced Combustion Modes

Engineers are working to increase the efficiency of internal combustion engines by developing several advanced combustion modes. One of these modes is called (homogeneous charge compression ignition) HCCI. In the HCCI combustion, a highly homogenized mixture of air, fuel, and combustion products from the previous cycle is auto-ignited by compression. “This combustion mode aims at combining the advantages of modern diesel and gasoline combustion processes, namely low emissions and high efficiency,” states Rizzoni.

Another research trend targets ways to recover the energy that is normally dissipated through the coolant and the exhaust gas systems of automotive powertrains using innovative waste heat recovery devices. These systems can convert thermal energy into mechanical or electrical energy, thus increasing the overall efficiency of the vehicle. Organic Rankine cycle, thermoelectric systems, turbocompounding, and recuperative thermal management systems all have potential for significantly increase engine efficiencies.

A smaller but still significant aspect of fuel-efficiency research is called “intelligent energy management.” “This ability to more intelligently control the accessory loads in a vehicle—such as the alternator or power steering, etc.—will also contribute to better gas mileage,” says Rizzoni. “With smarter control of these loads and the addition of stop-start technology there can be significant increases in fuel economy, with small or no increase in total vehicle cost.”