BREAKING: EPA Accuses Fiat Chrysler of Emissions Cheating; Over 100,000 Ram, Jeep Vehicles Implicated

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
breaking epa accuses fiat chrysler of emissions cheating over 100 000 ram jeep

The Environmental Protection Agency has accused Fiat Chrysler Automobiles of installing emissions software in 104,000 diesel Rams and Jeeps that violates the Clean Air Act.

According to the regulator, which made its announcement this morning, FCA failed to declare “eight auxiliary emissions control devices” during the EPA certification process. Those devices were installed on 2014, 2015 and 2016 Jeep Grand Cherokee and Ram 1500 vehicles equipped with the 3.0-liter EcoDiesel V6 engine.

The regulator has sent a notice of violation to the automaker.

During heightened EPA testing of domestic diesels that occurred in the year after the Volkswagen emissions scandal, the regulator discovered software installed on FCA vehicles created excess nitrogen oxide tailpipe emissions. NOx is the key ingredient in smog, which poses a danger to people with respiratory issues.

The findings show a “serious violation of the Clean Air Act,” said Cynthia Giles, assistant administrator of the EPA, during a conference call. “Some of the devices allow the vehicle to perform differently when being tested,” she added.

Giles said EPA is looking to FCA “to demonstrate why we shouldn’t conclude that these (devices) are defeat devices.”

Defeat devices installed on Volkswagen diesel engines were revealed to turn on emissions control functions when the vehicles were undergoing regulatory testing, while leaving them off during normal, day-to-day operation. In Volkswagen’s case, the NOx levels were up to 40 times the legal limit.

During talks with FCA, the regulator, which is working with the California Air Resources Board and Environment Canada, claims that the automaker didn’t offer a suitable explanation for the devices.

The certification process for 2017 model year FCA diesels remains on hold, pending the ongoing investigation. Owners of the two models needn’t take any action, however. The regulator claims that the vehicles, while in violation of pollution laws, remain safe to drive.

In a statement, FCA claimed it was “disappointed” in the decision to send a notice of violation:

FCA US intends to work with the incoming administration to present its case and resolve this matter fairly and equitably and to assure the EPA and FCA US customers that the company’s diesel-powered vehicles meet all applicable regulatory requirements.

FCA US diesel engines are equipped with state-of-the-art emission control systems hardware, including selective catalytic reduction (SCR). Every auto manufacturer must employ various strategies to control tailpipe emissions in order to balance EPA’s regulatory requirements for low nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions and requirements for engine durability and performance, safety and fuel efficiency. FCA US believes that its emission control systems meet the applicable requirements.

FCA claims it spent months responding to EPA requests for information. The automaker added that it has developed a possible solution to problem — a software update that “could be implemented in these vehicles immediately to further improve emissions performance.”

The 3.0-liter EcoDiesel engine allowed FCA to advertise attractive fuel economy figures in the face of stringent CAFE requirements. Ram claims the 1500 HFE sips diesel at a rate of 29 miles per gallon on the highway, while Jeep claims the diesel Grand Cherokee attains a 30 mpg highway figure.

[Image: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles]

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  • BigOldChryslers BigOldChryslers on Jan 12, 2017

    When this story broke and I saw the headlines elsewhere, I first presumed it was an update on the recent class action lawsuit over the emissions systems in 2007-12 Rams with the Cummins 6.7 diesel. That is also still ongoing AFAIK. The EPA's EcoDiesel investigation may be related to this class action lawsuit. The webpage describes the behavior of some of the alleged defeat devices:

  • FOG FOG on Jan 13, 2017

    #golden2husky: I’m amazed at how ignorant some people are thinking that eliminating the tools that gave us vastly improved air quality would be a good idea. Once again an instant response without any reflection on the content of the comment. I never said we don't need the EPA and I used sarcasm to make a point. The new administration may be able to return the EPA expectations to attainable levels and balance the tree hugger's attempt to use the EPA to get rid of ICEs all together with the clear understanding companies cannot make a profit when strangled by unrealistic EPA and CAFE standards.

    • See 6 previous
    • Vulpine Vulpine on Jan 13, 2017

      Those standards are not unrealistic if BEVs and FCEVs emit absolute no pollutants (in and of themselves) and achieve more than double the current fuel economy standards at the same time.

  • 56m65711446 Well, I had a suburban auto repair shop in those days.
  • Dukeisduke Yikes - reading the recall info from NHTSA, this sounds like the Hyundai/Kia 2.4l Theta II "engine fire" recall, since it involves an engine block or oil pan "breach", so basically, throwing a rod:"Description of the Safety Risk : Engine oil and/or fuel vapor that accumulates near a sufficiently hot surface, below the combustion initiation flame speed, may ignite resulting in an under hood fire, and increasing the risk of injury. Description of the Cause :Isolated engine manufacturing issues have resulted in 2.5L HEV/PHEV engine failures involving engine block or oil pan breach. In the event of an engine block or oil pan breach, the HEV/PHEV system continues to propel the vehicle allowing the customer to continue to drive the vehicle. As the customer continues to drive after a block breach, oil and/or fuel vapor continues to be expelled and accumulates near ignition sources, primarily expected to be the exhaust system. Identification of Any Warning that can Occur :Engine failure is expected to produce loud noises (example: metal-to-metal clank) audible to the vehicle’s occupants. An engine failure will also result in a reduction in engine torque. In Owner Letters mailed to customers, Ford will advise customers to safely park and shut off the engine as promptly as possible upon hearing unexpected engine noises, after experiencing an unexpected torque reduction, or if smoke is observed emanating from the engine compartment."
  • Dukeisduke In an ideal world, cars would be inspected in the way the MoT in the UK does it, or the TÜV in Germany. But realistically, a lot of people can't afford to keep their cars to such a high standard since they need them for work, and widespread public transit isn't a thing here.I would like the inspections to stick around (I've lived in Texas all my life, and annual inspections have always been a thing), but there's so much cheating going on (and more and more people don't bother to get their cars inspected or registration renewed), so without rigorous enforcement (which is basically a cop noticing your windshield sticker is out of date, or pulling you over for an equipment violation), there's no real point anymore.
  • Zipper69 Arriving in Florida from Europe and finding ZERO inspection procedures I envisioned roads crawling with wrecks held together with baling wire, duct tape and prayer.Such proved NOT to be the case, plenty of 20-30 year old cars and trucks around but clearly "unsafe at any speed" vehicles are few and far between.Could this be because the median age here is 95, so a lot of low mileage vehicles keep entering the market as the owners expire?
  • Zipper69 At the heart of GM’s resistance to improving the safety of its fuel systems was a cost benefit analysis done by Edward Ivey which concluded that it was not cost effective for GM to spend more than $2.20 per vehicle to prevent a fire death. When deposed about his cost benefit analysis, Mr. Ivey was asked whether he could identify a more hazardous location for the fuel tank on a GM pickup than outside the frame. Mr. Ivey responded, “Well yes…You could put in on the front bumper.”