Volkswagen AG is in some hot water after multiple sources report the German auto giant cheated on its EPA emissions test in America by installing black-hat evasive software on nearly a half-million diesel cars to evade emissions tests, according to the federal government.
The Environmental Protection Agency cited VAG for installing software that infringed on the Clean Air Act, alleging some of the diesel cars produced 40 times the allowable level of pollutants from its models. Both the EPA and the California Air Resources Board are currently investigating the matter even further.
According to the violation, around 482,000 vehicles sold in the United States over the past seven years were altered with the black-hat software, including TDI versions of the Volkswagen Jetta, Beetle, and Golf, and even the Audi A3, betweem 2009 and 2015. The Volkswagen Passat TDI wasn’t left out either, specifically the 2014 and 2015 model year versions.
The emissions infraction poses no safety threat to current owners and drivers, except for those who have to breathe the slightly dirtier air from all the affected TDIs running about. But all the cars will be recalled for repair.
Should Volkswagen all the allegations hold to be true, the company could face some pretty massive fines, worth millions of dollars. As a refresher, Hyundai and Kia were fined by the EPA, around $300 million, for advertising false fuel economy figures.
So how was this discovered? An independent analysis on some vehicles, conducted by researchers at West Virginia University in partnership with the International Council on Clean Transportation, a non-governmental organization, found some inconsistencies with emissions and their findings.
The EPA said the software consisted of some clever algorithms that would detect when the cars would be tested for emissions, and would allow the systems to meet the tests, but when not being probed, the Volkswagen models would reduce the functioning efficiency of the system during normal driving.
– By: Chris Chin