Mercedes May Have Been Caught Using Defeat Devices Again

Daimler AG headquarters in Stuttgart, Germany

Daimler AG headquarters in Stuttgart, Germany
Photo: Thomas Kienzle/AFP (Getty Images)

After reaching a ten-figure settlement with the U.S. federal government last year, Mercedes-Benz is now facing new allegations of skirting diesel emissions regulations. Deutsche Umwelthilfe (Environmental Action Germany), a German environmental and consumer protection non-profit organization, published a report claiming that a diesel-powered 2016 Mercedes-Benz E-Class model is fitted with eight emissions defeat devices that were not previously known about.


The report claimed when tested the model in question emitted nitrogen oxide at levels 500% over the legal limit, according to Engine + Powertrain Technology International. Six of the eight alleged defeat devices are related to the vehicle’s selective catalytic reduction (SCR) system. The SCR system, marketed under the name BlueTEC, is meant to reduce emissions by converting nitrogen oxide to lower its total concentration that leaves the exhaust.

Felix Domke, an automotive software expert who helped assemble the report, stated that one of the defeat devices “significantly reduces the amount of AdBlue injected, which is urgently needed to neutralize the nitrogen oxides in the SCR catalytic converter.” AdBlue is a diesel exhaust fluid that dissolves in the hot temperatures of the exhaust gasses to convert the gasses’ composition.

In September 2020, the parent company of Mercedes-Benz, Daimler AG reached a $1.5 billion settlement with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Department of Justice and the California Air Resources Board over similar allegations also involving BlueTEC diesel engines. Mercedes also agreed to recall over 250,000 vehicles. After the settlement, the German automaker denied the allegations and pointed out that no determination was made on the existence of defeat devices in their vehicles.

The company’s stance on the claims made about the legality of their cars hasn’t changed over the past year. This will most likely be the start of another round of lawsuits filed against Mercedes-Benz, alongside more thorough examinations of their cars currently on the road.

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