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#dieselgate engulfs more Volkswagen, Audi and Porsche cars

The US EPA has issued a second notice of violation of the clean air act against Volkswagen, Audi and Porsche after a defeat device was found on VW Group 3.0-litre V6 turbo-diesel engines.

THE US EPA HAS issued the Volkswagen Group in America with a second notice of violation after its testing discovered the VW Group had also installed a defeat device onto its 3.0-litre V6 turbo-diesel engines. Vehicles available with this engine and sold both in the US and some here in Australia are the 2014 Volkswagen Touareg, the 2015 Porsche Cayenne and the 2016 Audi A6, A7, A8 / A8 L and Q5. The notice of violation (NOV) alleges the vehicles emit nine times the EPA standard for NOx emissions.

“The NOV covers approximately 10,000 diesel passenger cars already sold in the United States since MY 2014. In addition, the NOV covers an unknown volume of 2016 vehicles,” the US EPA said.

“VW has once again failed its obligation to comply with the law that protects clean air for all Americans,” said Cynthia Giles, Assistant Administrator for the Office for EPA’s Enforcement and Compliance Assurance. “All companies should be playing by the same rules. EPA, with our state, and federal partners, will continue to investigate these serious matters, to secure the benefits of the Clean Air Act, ensure a level playing field for responsible businesses, and to ensure consumers get the environmental performance they expect.”

Volkswagen AG issued a statement moments after the US EPA issued its NOV:

“The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) informed Volkswagen Aktiengesellschaft on Monday that vehicles with V6 TDI engines had a software function which had not been adequately described in the application process. Volkswagen AG wishes to emphasize that no software has been installed in the 3-liter V6 diesel power units to alter emissions characteristics in a forbidden manner. Volkswagen will cooperate fully with the EPA to clarify this matter in its entirety.”

Locally, Volkswagen Australia referred Practical Motoring to the above statement by VW AG, adding only that, “Regarding affected vehicles in Australia [in reference to those vehicles with a 2.0-litre TDI], VGA will continue to contact all affected customers to advise them of the next steps in the process and keep them updated”.

How’s the device work?

According to the US EPA in its NOV, “VW manufactured and installed software in the electronic control module of these vehicles that senses when the vehicle is being tested for compliance with EPA emissions standards. When the vehicle senses that it is undergoing a federal emissions test procedure, it operates in a low NOx “temperature conditioning” mode. Under that mode, the vehicle meets emission standards.

“At exactly one second after the completion of the initial phases of the standard test procedure, the vehicle immediately changes a number of operating parameters that increase NOx emissions and indicates in the software that it is transitioning to “normal mode,” where emissions of NOx increase up to nine times the EPA standard, depending on the vehicle and type of driving conditions. In other tests where the vehicle does not experience driving conditions similar to the start of the federal test procedure, the emissions are higher from the start, consistent with ‘normal mode’, the US EPA said.

“VW’s software on these vehicles includes one or more Auxiliary Emission Control Devices (AECD) that the company failed to disclose, describe and justify in their applications for certificate of conformity for each model. Every manufacturer must apply to EPA for and be approved for a certificate of conformity for each model, each year otherwise it is illegal to introduce the cars into commerce. An AECD designed to circumvent emissions test is a defeat device.”

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Isaac Bober

Isaac Bober