If you’ve been anywhere near a TV or laptop in the last weeks, you have undoubtedly heard about the VW scandal. It changed the market overnight. What actually happened?

In order to sell cars in the U.S, manufacturers of automobiles have to pass the Environmental Protections Agency (EPA) Acts and Regulations. Volkswagen needed to prove that their cars met the EPA standards and pass the ‘safety emissions test’. The EPA put the cars to the test and they decided that VW could sell their vehicles in the U.S without any restriction. A few weeks later, it was discovered that the vehicles were actually fitted with “defeat devices”. This means that when they tested the engines, the vehicle entered a “safe mode” and only released a very small amount of oxide pollutants. However, when driven on the street or in traffic, the car emitted 40 times more pollutants than in the “safe mode”. This, of course, makes the vehicles’ emissions well beyond the U.S limits set by the EPA.

What did VW say? They admitted that it was a mistake but has not commented on who approved the fitting of the “defeat devices” but say they were trying to regain the trust of their customers. This will be a fairly difficult thing to do since they will have to recall almost 500,000 vehicles. But things are not over yet! The EPA is allowed to levy a fine against VW of $37,000 for every vehicle sold in the US that fails the EPA standards. This could mean that VW may face bankruptcy. However, customers have the right to press charges, so the scandal is not over yet.