Law Firm Files Class Action Lawsuit Against Mercedes Claiming ‘Defeat Device’ To Cheat Testing

Hagens Berman filed a class action lawsuit against Mercedes, in which he stated that the automaker had knowingly programmed its Clean Diesel BlueTEC vehicles to emit illegal, dangerous nitrogen oxide (NOx) levels under virtually all real driving conditions and to contain a “defeat device” that used to cheat tests.

Tests at freeway speeds, at low temperatures and at variable speeds indicate systemic non-compliance with emissions standards. For example, low temperature tests at freeway speeds revealed emissions that were 8.1 to 19.7 times the freeway emissions standard. The lawsuit adds that testing at low temperatures at variable speeds produced emissions 30.8 times the standard.

“In practically every road test, the emissions were hardly as Mercedes had promised, as” the cleanest and most advanced diesel in the world … “. Mercedes vehicles do not meet the emission standards under practically all real driving conditions, ”said the complaint.

The lawsuit alleges that the following Mercedes models powered by BlueTEC diesel engines are affected by Mercedes’ unlawful, unfair, misleading and otherwise inaccurate emissions controls.

Affected vehicles are:

Mercedes ML 320
Mercedes ML 350
Mercedes GL 320
Mercedes E250
Mercedes E320
Mercedes S350
Mercedes r320
Mercedes E class
Mercedes GL class
Mercedes ML class
Mercedes R class
Mercedes S class
Mercedes GLK class
Mercedes GLE class
Mercedes Sprinter

The original lawsuit, filed in the US District Court for the New Jersey District on February 18, 2016, accused Mercedes of misrepresenting its BlueTEC vehicles as “the cleanest, most advanced diesel in the world” with ” Ultra “were marketed. Low emissions, high fuel consumption and responsiveness ”, which cause“ up to 30% less greenhouse gas emissions than petrol ”.

Lawyers representing vehicle owners requested relief for those who had purchased the affected vehicles, including injunctive relief in the form of a recall or free replacement program and refund, including either recovery of the purchase price or overpayment or depreciation due to misleading statements and omissions by Mercedes in relation to the emission values ​​of its Clean Diesel BlueTEC vehicles. A settlement of $ 700 million is pending notification to class members.

How does the Mercedes BlueTEC exhaust system work?

– Initial reduction of nitrogen oxides (NOx) through the exhaust gas recirculation system (EGR).

– A diesel oxidation catalyst reduces the amounts of carbon monoxide (CO) and hydrocarbons (HC) that are released from the exhaust gas and helps to keep the particulate trap clean.

– A particle filter catches soot particles and stores them. The upstream diesel oxidation catalyst helps remove the particulate matter from the particulate trap, although the engine occasionally removes excessive particulate build-up by increasing the exhaust temperature.

– In some older model vehicles, a NOx trap is used to carry out the final removal of NOx from the exhaust gas before it leaves the exhaust.

– The vast majority of Mercedes in the USA equipped with BlueTEC use an SCR (Selective Catalytic Reduction) catalyst (instead of the NOx storage catalyst) to convert the remaining nitrogen oxides into nitrogen and water. A so-called diesel exhaust fluid (or “DEF”, a solution of urea and water) is injected into the exhaust gas flow to enable the conversion. To prevent vehicles from violating emissions regulations, the engine can switch to limp-home mode when the DEF tank is empty. The drivers are instructed to refill the tank if necessary. Some commercial vehicles are equipped with a demand or lockout switch that can be used to “postpone” DEF injection, as this can reduce power and temporarily increase temperatures. For example, when the vehicle is climbing an incline, it may be necessary to delay the cycle.

According to the complaint, diesel engines pose a particularly difficult environmental challenge because they have a trade-off between performance, fuel efficiency and emissions: the higher the performance and fuel efficiency, the dirtier and more harmful the emissions.

“Automakers have problems producing diesel engines that have high performance and desirable fuel efficiency, but also cleaner emissions,” the complaint said. “The answer from Mercedes to the challenge was the BlueTEC diesel engine.”

Compared to gasoline engines, diesel engines generally produce higher torque, lower power, better driveability, and much higher fuel efficiency. However, these benefits come at the expense of much dirtier and more harmful emissions, including NOx, which includes a variety of chemical nitrogen and oxygen compounds that only form at high temperatures.

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