How Monkeys Proved to VW That Diesel Can Never Be Safe

What do 10 long-tailed macaque monkeys watching cartoons have to do with making diesel safer?

Ideally nothing, but if you watched the recent Netflix (NFLX, +0.06%) documentary Dirty Money, you would see a lab outside of Albuquerque in 2014, where these primates are sitting in air-tight compartments while a Volkswagen Beetle’s diesel fumes are pumped inside. It was as part of an experiment paid for by the European Research Group on Environment and Health in the Transport Sector (EUGT), a German auto industry group.

But it’s actually worse than all that. The Beetle was 40 times the legal limit due to software that cheated the system. The tests proved that the VW car was polluting morethan an old, 1997-year Ford (F, -0.62%) truck, and the companies decided not to publicly release the test results.

The monkey experiment, conducted at the Lovelace Respiratory Research Institute in Albuquerque, was sponsored by EUGT. The goal was to create (bogus) scientific research proving that new technology had made diesel safe. EUGT received all of its funding from Volkswagen, Daimler, and BMW. It shut down last year amid controversy over its work.

Read more in Fortune Blog

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