Volkswagen’s Dieselgate Settlement Will Cost A Whopping $15 Billion: Report

Volkswagen’s Dieselgate settlement with American owners of its cheaty diesel cars will cost the company more than $15 billion, or five billion dollars more than was originally reported, according to Bloomberg. More than $10 billion of that is slated just to go to Volkswagen owners.

The reported settlement also leaves less than $3 billion left over in Volkswagen’s initial Dieselgate fund for pending legal actions and investigations in the rest of the entire world.

Here are the financial details of how it will work:

Car owners will get a total of $10.03 billion, which covers both the value of their vehicles before the scandal became public last September and compensation payments of as much as $10,000 apiece, two people familiar with the negotiations said. Those figures could rise if VW misses certain repair deadlines.

The compensation figure jumped over the past few days, these people said, as the parties changed their estimates on what it would take to get some 85 percent of owners to trade in their vehicles under the settlement.

The rest of the settlement includes $2.7 billion for the Environmental Protection Agency and the California Air Resources Board, and an additional $2 billion for research into clean-emissions technology, Bloomberg reported.

There’s a further settlement with individual states as well, possibly to the tune of another $400 million. There’s also no exact timetable yet for when any of this will come to fruition, or how VW owners will be able to make a claim for their cars.

But as we said earlier today, this is definitely not the end. There are still multiple lawsuits pending in many different countries, along with pissed off shareholders and regulators. Not to mention any lingering depression in sales that can be attributed to the scandal.

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In an attempt to assist drivers in ignoring their phone while driving, Irish student Andrew Irwin has designed an app which can mute your mobile and auto-reply to texts on your behalf.

Drive Safe is a free app currently available to download from the Google Play store which uses your phone’s accelerometer to detect when you’re driving and automatically put your phone on silent. By doing this the app helps reduce the temptation to check a text you receive while driving, while also allowing drivers to enable an auto-reply feature which alerts anyone who tries to ring or text you while you’re driving that you are unavailable.

By using the phone’s accelerometer instead of GPS tracking battery and data usage is minimised while the app is active, with the app also offering a built-in emergency feature ensuring that you won’t miss urgent matters. After a third consecutive call from the same person the app is de-activated, allowing the phone to ring at normal volume and alert the driver to the importance of the call.

Drive Safe creator Andrew Irwin, a 23-year-old student of Computing in Software Development in Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology, believes the app could make an immediate difference in changing driver behaviour. “Simply the goal is to save lives. With one tap Drive Safe could help prevent fatalities and serious car accidents attributed to mobile phone usage while driving,” he said.

“I’ve always strived to keep the app as simple as possible, so that anyone of any technical ability or age can use the app first time, with ease. I have also tried to keep as much language out of the app as possible, as Drive Safe is a global app, used all around the world.”

Since its launch the App has been a global success, having been downloaded over 30’000 times in 116 countries and boasts users from Barbados to Letterkenny. In the last 30 days alone drivers in 71 different countries have used the app to encourage safer driving habits.

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Second in National Tow Truck Photo Contest

Michael's Towing 2015 Ford F450

Michael’s Towing 2015 Ford F450

By Susan Larson. Photo provided by Michael’s Towing & Recovery

Fredericksburg, Virginia — Michael’s Towing & Recovery won second place for Light-Duty Tow Truck in the national Shine ‘n Star Tow Truck Photo Beauty Contest, hosted by Tow Times magazine and Ford Trucks.

The winning photo features a 2015 Ford F450 with Jerr-Dan MPL 40 eight-ton recovery boom towing equipment. It sports a custom green and white vinyl wrap, with hand-applied door jam striping. The Ford F450 winning tow truck also boasts a bumper extension for a Warn 12,000-lb. winch, aluminum wheels, visor, and stainless steel on the rear deck.

The photo was chosen from 550 entries submitted in five categories.

“The annual Shine ‘n Star Tow Truck Photo Beauty Contest taps into towing operators’ pride in their fleet, providing an opportunity to show off the beauty and brawn of their equipment,” said Tow Times’ Publisher Clarissa Powell.

Michael’s Towing was the Grand Prize winner in the 2014 Shine ‘n Star Tow Truck Photo Beauty Contest for a Kenworth T800 twin steer with a Century 1140 rotator.

Michael Powell is owner of Michael’s Towing & Recovery, which is located at 10934 Houser Dr. in Fredericksburg.

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This Innovative Tow Truck Can Steal Your Car in Under a Minute

This is both awesome and scary.

As a car owner, seeing your ride get towed away is one of the worst things you can experience. It’s your fault for parking in the wrong place, but still. Anyway, here’s a tow truck that’s so fast you won’t actually see your car being towed in the first place.

It was filmed outside an airport in Turkey, taking away an illegally parked Renault Clio. The Iveco Eurocargo carrier pulls up next to the Clio and two pillar lifts descend down to the road. The forks slide out and clamp the wheels, then raise the car above the truck’s chassis. Finally, the lifts slide across to the other side the chassis and the truck is ready to drive off.

The whole process takes precisely 60 seconds. Which isn’t even enough time to realize it’s your car’s alarm you can hear wailing. Instead, the owner will have emerged to find their car isn’t where they left it. Which is actually worse than seeing it being taken away. But again, it’s their fault for leaving it in the wrong place.

It’s an awesome piece of engineering – I haven’t been able to ascertain the manufacturer – but quite scary, too. Partly just because it’s so effective, but also because there’s not much you could do to stop criminals using it to boost cars.

I’m not aware of these being used anywhere other than Turkey; have you seen one in operation?

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