Mercedes-Benz has been in and out of the Dieselgate spotlight for years. Since 2018, it has gone through lawsuits, fines, and recalls. Towards the end of 2021, the carmaker was once again in the hot seat as they were alleged to have installed at least eight defeat devices on some of their vehicles. The focus this time was on Euro 6-compliant diesel engines.
A non-profit organisation in Germany said that Mercedes’ six-cylinder 3.0-litre BlueTec E-Class engines utilised a variety of illegal techniques to manipulate the treatment of exhaust gas. This led to a 500% increase in nitrogen oxides (NOx) emissions, which is way over the legal limits.
Thus, the vehicles pollute heavily by releasing voluminous amounts of NOx, endangering the environment and the lives of the city’s residents.
The non-profit took Daimler to court and the carmaker promised to make the necessary changes, but there have been no significant improvements so far. As such, authorities believe the best thing to do would be to recall the affected vehicles.
As in the past cases against them, Daimler continues to deny all the allegations.
How did the non-profit organisation discover the devices?
The non-profit chose a 2016 Mercedes E350 BlueTec 4MATIC model and measured its exhaust gas emissions. They also collected data from the engine software.
What the group found were six defeat devices fitted in the E350d’s SCR system. The illegal devices were used to bring down the quantity of the AdBlue fluid for cleaning. AdBlue is used for lessening the nitrogen oxides emission of diesel engines. It is a liquid mixture of deionised water and urea.
AdBlue is sprayed into the exhaust system of vehicles. When exhaust emissions and AdBlue combine, the mono-nitrogen oxides freely moving around in a diesel exhaust are broken down.
The remaining two defeat devices significantly affected the exhaust gas recirculation system of the six-cylinder turbodiesel.
A representative from the non-profit said that the defeat devices were clearly not intended for engine protection. Rather, Mercedes focused on maximising their profit in exchange for the compromised environment and health of city residents.
Prior to the call for recall, Mercedes-Benz performed a software update on the affected car. Nevertheless, the enhanced use of AdBlue was still noticeable.
What are defeat devices?
Defeat devices are the central issue of the Dieselgate scandal that originally involved only Volkswagen. The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) found defeat devices installed in several of VW’s diesel vehicles sold in the country.
The defeat devices are designed to detect when a vehicle is being tested so emission levels can be artificially adjusted to within World Health Organization limits. However, when the vehicle is taken out for a drive in real-world road conditions, the emission levels shoot up and go over the safe and legal limits. As such, huge amounts of nitrogen oxides are released into the air.
What is nitrogen oxide?
Nitrogen oxide or NOx is a group of gases, the most prominent of which are nitric oxide (NO) and nitrogen dioxide (NO2). On its own, NO is relatively harmless at ambient conditions; but when it combines and reacts with NO2, they become NOx and turn harmful to the environment and human health.
NOx is responsible for forming photochemical smog, especially in the summer season. It also contributes to the creation of acid rain. Combined with other pollutants and under sunlight, NOx produces ground-level ozone, which can destroy vegetation at high concentrations. Nitrogen oxide can reduce or stunt the growth of crop yields. It also damages foliage.
Exposure to nitrogen oxide has several significant effects on human health.
For starters, it can trigger asthma or aggravate asthma symptoms. In some cases, NOx can cause prolonged development of asthma. Other health effects include:
- Reduced lung function
- Lung tissue damage
- Low blood pressure (excess NO exposure)
- Diarrhoea and vomiting
- Inflammation of the airways
- Other respiratory ailments
Prolonged exposure to NOx can cause severe health effects, such as increased risk to cardiovascular diseases, irreversible respiratory system damage, increased risk to cancer, and aggravated chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
Constant exposure to excess volumes of NOx also can lead to premature death. Proof of this is the case of nine-year-old Ella Kissi-Debrah, a UK resident who died in 2013 after a severe asthma attack caused by exposure to air pollution. After an inquest, the coroner officially declared dirty air as the major contributor to Ella’s death.
What is an emissions claim?
If you are affected by the diesel emissions scandal, you have the right to file for compensation. First off, your manufacturer lied to you when they sold their diesel vehicle as clean and environmentally safe. Second, you paid a premium on a product that does not deliver what was promised. Third, the Mercedes emissions claim you will file is your way of protesting your manufacturer’s disregard for the safety of the environment and the human population.
It won’t be an easy process, so you should work with a panel of expert emissions solicitors who will help you file your claim. They will stay with you every step of the way, making sure you are going in the right direction. The panel of solicitors at ClaimExperts.co.uk is your best option for this job. They’re regulated, highly trained, well-experienced, and committed to helping you win your compensation. Get in touch with them now.