A video posted on YouTube today by Volkswagen Group presents the company's plan for fixing its so-called EA 189 diesel engines — the 1.6-liter and 2-liter powerplants that make up the majority of vehicles embroiled in an ongoing emissions cheating scandal. The update VW is proposing consists of two steps: an engine control software update and the installation of a "flow transformer," a plastic grating that's supposed to help even out the flow of air going into the mass flow sensor. The mass flow sensor is the component of an engine that determines how much air is entering the intake, which then determines how much fuel should be injected.
The proposed plan, which is only for European vehicles at this point, contrasts with Volkswagen's strategy for its cheating 3-liter diesels, which the company says can be fixed with a software update alone. Even with the installation of the flow transformer, though, VW says the fix will be relatively quick — 2-liter models should be complete in 30 minutes or less.
There are still many questions left unanswered: the cars were originally designed to cheat emissions tests in order to get better fuel economy, so it's unclear how the update will affect mileage. And as Green Car Reports notes, American diesel regulations are stricter than the ones that Volkswagen needs to update most of its affected European vehicles to meet, so the US program might be far more complicated. And neither program has been approved by US regulators yet, though the proposals have been submitted and are awaiting a decision. In the meantime, Volkswagen, Audi, and Porsche are not selling vehicles equipped with either engine type in American dealerships.