Japanese carmaker Nissan has joined the lengthy list of automobile manufacturers implicated in the Dieselgate scandal. The carmaker is accused of allegedly installing unlawful defeat devices in their diesel vehicles.
Nissan’s diesel emissions story started after the DfT (The Department for Transport) reported inconsistencies in the carmaker’s emissions testing. Results were different when some of their vehicles were being evaluated in the lab and when they were driven on real roads. According to DfT, Nissan’s diesel vehicles released nitrogen oxides (NOx) at levels that were at least 15 times over the EU’s legal limits.
There are other reasons to include Nissan in the emissions scandal list. Before the DfT emissions testing, authorities ordered the carmaker to make some changes to their designs. Nissan allegedly never did. Additionally, around six years ago, South Korean law found the carmaker guilty of using cheat devices in 2017. Authorities ordered them to recall the affected vehicles, especially after the selling of some vehicles from certain manufacturers was banned in the country.
The list of affected models in South Korea included the Nissan Qashqai SUV (built in the UK) and Renault’s 1.6-litre diesel vehicles. Nissan and Renault have been in an alliance since 1999 and added Mitsubishi as a partner in 2017.
Nissan had to pay millions in fines as required by the law.
Authorities, however, have had their eye on Nissan since 2016, a year after the Volkswagen Group was first thrust into the spotlight in connection to the Dieselgate scandal.
Around 600,000 Nissan diesel-powered vehicles are allegedly equipped with defeat devices.
What’s the Dieselgate scandal?
It was in September 2015 when the Volkswagen Group was accused by US authorities of installing defeat devices in their diesel-powered vehicles. Some of their Audi and VW models exceeded emissions legal limits during real-world driving. Thousands of affected vehicles had to be recalled and the German carmaker had to pay fines and fees.
Over the years, Volkswagen has also had to spend billions as payoffs for compensation.
A vehicle with a defeat device appears safe and emissions-compliant when it undergoes regulatory testing inside a laboratory. Because of the way it has been engineered, the device can detect when the vehicle it’s installed in is undergoing regulatory testing. Once it does so, it caps emissions to within the legal levels.
However, the vehicle’s real-world emissions are exceedingly high. Sometimes, the levels are 40 times over the EU and WHO limits when the car is on real roads. This means the vehicle is only safe during testing conditions and is a pollutant. Allegedly, Volkswagen did not inform their customers about this, so they allegedly lied and misled the drivers into buying a quality-compromised vehicle.
Aside from Volkswagen and Nissan, other carmakers that have been accused of using illegal defeat devices include Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Renault, and Peugeot. Most of them, including Nissan, denied the allegations against them but still coordinated and continue to cooperate with authorities.
What makes nitrogen oxide harmful?
Nitrogen oxide contains nitric oxide (NO) and nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and is highly reactive when combined with other elements. It reacts by forming acid rain, smog, and a pollutant known as ground-level ozone. It destroys vegetation and exposes humans to various health risks.
When you are exposed to NOx emissions, there’s no guarantee that you won’t feel any inconvenience. Health issues can crop up one after the other.
Cognitive health may also be affected, and when this happens, dementia can set in, particularly Alzheimer’s disease.
Respiratory issues, including asthma, can hound you all the days of your life. Sometimes, this can turn into COPD or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. When your lungs are filled with fluid, you’ll suffer from pulmonary oedema.
Other health impacts include nausea and vomiting, asphyxiation, cancer, and laryngospasm. Your cardiovascular health may also be affected and in most cases, this leads to premature death. NOx emission, particularly air pollution, has become the primary reason for thousands of early deaths globally every year. It’s now more dangerous than HIV and AIDS, smoking, drug and alcohol addiction, and vehicular accidents.
Legal authorities believe that the carmakers should be held responsible for their unlawful actions. They allowed high-polluting vehicles to drive all over UK streets and this exposed drivers and the people around them to NOx emissions. Authorities encourage affected car owners to forward diesel claims against their carmakers.
Why is my diesel claim important?
A diesel claim is the best way for you to collect compensation from your carmaker. It is a legal process to which you are entitled. However, not all Nissan vehicles are affected by the scandal, so it’s important to first verify if you are eligible to file a claim and receive compensation. You can do this by visiting Emissions.co.uk as they have all the necessary information for verifying your eligibility.
Once you’re done, find an emissions expert and discuss your options with them. Should you file the case on your own or should you join a Group Litigation Order or GLO (similar to a class-action lawsuit in the United States)? It’s important to know that you know how you’re going to proceed with your emission claim before starting the process.