EPA Busts Volkswagen on Diesel Emissions “Cheat” Software
NOx Levels Up To 40 Times Allowable Standards
Emissions and fuel economy standards continue to tighten year by year, and although manufacturers grumble about heavy-handed government regulations, they comply with the standards -- or at least they’re supposed to. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today issued a notice of violation to Volkswagen Group of America, alleging the company knowingly installed a “defeat” device to help the vehicles meet emissions standards during specific test conditions by going into a test mode but operating outside of those parameters during normal operation.
The EPA identified a sophisticated software algorithm in the engine management system of 2009-2015 Volkswagen and Audi TDI models that allowed them to pass emissions testing by recognizing the standardized test protocol and adjust the engine operating parameters accordingly. When outside of this test mode, engines were found to produce as much as 40 times the level of oxides of nitrogen (NOx) emissions as allowed by federal standards. The EPA was tipped on the possible violation by researchers at West Virginia University. When confronted with the findings, Volkswagen admitted to the test mode software program. Altogether, 482,000 Audi and VW TDI models from 2009-2015 are potentially affected by the notice, including the Jetta, Beetle, Golf, Passat, and Audi A3.
The notice to VW says the company must initiate a process that will rectify the emissions violation. Owners can continue to drive, sell, and operate their vehicles normally until further notice.
Source: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency