Another energy rating scandal, Volkswagen style


Couple of weeks ago, Volkswagen admitted it had cheated US tests to make its diesel cars seem more green than they actually were. Later, ZME Science reported companies like Renault, Nissan, Hyundai, Citroen, Fiat or Volvo could be also cheating. Independent lab tests showed  some Samsung TVs were rigged to use less energy during official testing conditions than they do during real-world use. Now, famous British inventor James Dyson is accusing German companies Bosch and Siemens of doing the same thing – gaming energy ratings for their vacuum cleaners.

“Bosch has installed control electronics into some of its machines to wrongfully increase energy consumption when in use — to cheat the EU energy label,” said Dyson. “It seems that industry is rife with manufacturers engineering to find their way around tests, rather than engineering better, more efficient technology. This behavior is seriously misleading customers.”

James Dyson is the founder of Dyson, a company that sells vacuum cleaners, bladeless fans, hand dryers and other products in this range. Dyson says the German companies’ vacuum cleaners are actually using twice as much energy as they claim, based on independent testing. At home, these vacuum cleaners apparently use  1,600W of power, instead of the rated 750W. How? Well, Dyson says that all of these tests are made with the dust bag empty. Sensors inside send a signal to the motor once more dust gathers to turn up the power and make the vacuum cleaner actually useful. In this case, a rating of AAAA in test conditions could drop to an E or F in the home.

For Dyson, this kind of cheating also means a lot of lost business. Most of Dyson’s vacuum cleaners are below 1400W, but the best selling models use half as much energy – or so they’re labeled. Dyson says consumers choose these vacuum cleaners, not because they believe they’re better than Dyson models, but because they think they’ll save money on electricity bills. (Tiwi Puiu, ZME Science)