Them sneaky Germans.........
November 2, 2015 - 1:17 pm ET -- UPDATED: 11/2/15 2:02 pm ET - adds details
WASHINGTON -- The EPA said more Volkswagen Group vehicles in the U.S. have been found with illegal software that masked higher emissions than allowed by law.
The agency said several VW, Porsche and Audi nameplates with 3.0-liter diesel engines have been found with "defeat device" software. Previously, the probe had been limited to VW and Audi vehicles with 2.0-liter diesel engines.
The agency today issued a new Notice of Violation to Volkswagen, Audi and Porsche saying that the 2014 VW Touareg, 2015 Porsche Cayenne and 2016 Audi A6 Quattro, A7 Quattro, A8, A8L and Q5 crossover with 3.0-liter diesel engines contained the illegal defeat devices.
"The EPA's investigation into this matter is continuing," the notice said. "The EPA may find additional violations as the investigation continues."
In a conference call with reporters, EPA officials said the defeat devices found on the 3.0-liter diesel engines used by VW, Porsche and Audi models were discovered through the agency’s joint testing initiative with the California Air Resources Board to seek out “defeat devices” on diesel vehicles industrywide.
That testing effort has so far discovered defeat devices only on the VW, Audi and Porsche vehciles listed in the notices of violation issued today, and on Sept. 18, when the agency disclosed the defeat devices on VW’s 2.0-liter diesel, Janet McCabe, acting assistant administrator from the EPA’s Office of Air & Radiation, said on the call. While the agency, along with CARB, plan to test all light-duty diesel vehicles on sale now for defeat devices, it’s unclear whether any automakers have been cleared to date.
According to the EPA, software contained in the electronic control module of the affected 3.0-liter models could sense when the vehicle was undergoing formal U.S. emissions testing, and in turn would switch on a “temperature conditioning” mode of engine operation. In this mode, the emissions controls limited nitrogen oxide emissions to permissible levels.
Yet, according to the EPA, “exactly one second after” completing the initial phase of the U.S. test procedure, the engine transitions into a “normal mode” where NOx emissions increase up to nine times the level allowed by law.
In other emissions tests that don’t begin like the standard federal emissions test procedure, “emissions are higher from the start, consistent with ‘normal mode,’” the EPA said in a statement.
The EPA said the 3.0-liter diesel vehicles also contained one or more “Auxiliary Emission Control Devices” that the the VW Group failed to disclose to EPA. In general, such software is legal if its functions can be observed during testing and it is properly disclosed to the agency.
Spokespeople from Audi and Porsche did immediately reply to e-mails seeking comment.