The Mercedes Emissions Scandal – Explained

Mercedes-Benz is one of the most popular and successful vehicle manufacturers in the world. However, like any other company, they also experience problems along the way every now and then. One of the major fiascos that Mercedes continues to hurdle today is the Dieselgate Mercedes scandal.

The scandal involved the use of cheat devices that are programmed to manipulate emissions during regulated testing. Mercedes is just one of the manufacturers embroiled in the scam that rocked the automotive industry when it first broke in 2015. 

The VW Dieselgate scandal

The diesel emissions scandal started with only The Volkswagen Group involved. The US EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) and the California Air Resources Board sent the manufacturer a notice informing them that they violated US emissions regulations when they installed a defeat device in VW and Audi diesel vehicles.

At first, Volkswagen vehemently denied the allegations against them. Not long after though, officials admitted they knew about the cheat device. Authorities immediately acted on the case and required VW to pay fines, recall affected vehicles, and later on, spend on legal fees and compensation claims.

The defeat device found inside Mercedes is used to determine when a vehicle is in testing. As soon as the device detects the test, it will artificially bring down emissions levels to within the regulated levels of the World Health Organization (WHO). Thus, the vehicle will appear clean, environmentally safe, and emissions-compliant.

When the vehicle is taken out of the lab and driven in real-world road conditions, the vehicle switches back to its default settings. It releases massive volumes of nitrogen oxide emissions at levels that are at least four times over WHO and EU-mandated limits. The vehicle, therefore, contributes to the ever-increasing problem of air pollution.

Volkswagen cheated on their customers when they marketed and sold their diesel vehicles as high-performing and environmentally safe. Massive NOx emissions make the vehicle unsafe and dangerous for both the environment and human health. 

A few years after the diesel emissions scandal happened, US authorities alleged that Mercedes-Benz installed defeat devices in their diesel vehicles. Mercedes car owners in the US also joined together and started a class-action lawsuit against the carmaker.

The Mercedes emissions scandal eventually reached the UK and Europe shores. Authorities in Germany raided 11 of the company’s offices in various locations across the country about the cheating software scam. Prosecutors were looking for evidence that they could use in the case.

Thousands of affected Mercedes-Benzes were eventually recalled after authorities ordered the carmaker to do so. Recalled vehicles are corrected and improved so that they would be emissions-compliant. Thousands upon thousands of Mercedes vehicles have been recalled since then.

In 2019, at least five defeat devices were discovered in Mercedes diesel vehicles according to the ICCT or International Council on Clean Transportation. 

From the time when the scandal first broke until today, Mercedes and its parent company Daimler, deny all allegations against them. 

Nevertheless, they have already paid fines, faced a plethora of claims, and even entered a settlement deal.

Why are nitrogen oxide emissions dangerous?

High nitrogen dioxide emissions also affect the vehicle’s performance, maintenance costs, and fuel bills.  More importantly, NOx emissions contain two powerful gases – nitric oxide (NO) and nitrogen dioxide (NO2). Together, they have devastating impacts on the environment and human health.

The highly reactive NOx acts as a catalyst for the formation of smog and acid rain, which are both air pollution contributors. Nitrogen oxide also reacts with other chemicals to form ground-level ozone, a pollutant that makes vegetation vulnerable to the effects of the elements, slowing the latter’s growth.

Exposure to NOx emissions affects a person’s cognitive abilities, and this can develop into dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. Other mental health issues may also be triggered, particularly depression and anxiety. 

Additionally, a person exposed to NOx emissions can suffer from several health impacts, some of them life-changing and life-threatening. 

Low-level exposure makes a person susceptible to respiratory issues such as asthma, bronchitis, and emphysema. Other impacts include the formation of fluid in the lungs, vomiting and nausea, and breathing problems, among others.

High-level exposure to NOx emissions can change a person’s life. The impacts include vocal cord spasms, chronic lung function reduction, higher susceptibility to certain cancers, cardiovascular diseases, asphyxiation, and premature death. 

NOx emissions – and air pollution in general – have been identified as a primary cause of early deaths worldwide. There are thousands upon thousands of such cases every year, including the one that involved a young girl who lived near London’s South Circular Road. Ella Adoo Kissi-Debrah succumbed to an asthma attack in 2013. She had been in and out of the hospital for years due to unexplainable issues linked to respiratory problems. In December 2020, after the nine-year-old’s death, an inquest was opened. In the inquest, the coroner announced that her death was ruled as caused by air pollution.

These impacts, in addition to Mercedes’ deceitful act, are more than enough reasons for affected car owners to make a compensation claim.

Mercedes emissions claim 

You can potentially make a Mercedes emissions claim if your diesel vehicle has a BlueTec engine that was manufactured between the years 2008 and July 2018. There are other requirements, though, so you have to verify your eligibility to bring a claim first before starting the process. Get in touch with to find the help you need.

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