In the week that followed news of a diesel fume test that involved caged monkeys, Sir David King, who was the UK Government’s chief scientific adviser until 2007, said that the number of fatalities caused by NOx emissions produced by cars in Britain "is really very, very large" - and that even he wasn't aware of the gravity of the situation until recently.
His comments came in response to fresh details of a diesel test that was organised by the European Research Group on Environment and Health in the Transport Sector (EUGT), which was an organisation established by the trio of German car manufacturers along with parts supplier Bosch, that forced monkeys to breathe in exhaust emissions to illustrate that modern diesel cars are far cleaner than their predecessors.
The monkey test took place in New Mexico, US, in 2014, a year before the Volkswagen dieselgate scandal broke. The EUGT folded before the results of the test could be compiled.
Volkswagen has since suspended its chief lobbyist Thomas Steg for leading the tests. He said he "takes full responsibility".
Daimler stated that it is “appalled by the extent of the studies and their implementation”, while Volkswagen chairman Hans Dieter Pötsch said the tests were "totally incomprehensible" and that the incident must be "investigated fully and unconditionally”. BMW said it wasn't part of the study and that it has launched an internal investigation "to thoroughly clarify the work and background of the EUGT".