U.S. investigators have found what could be illegal software modifications on Mercedes-Benz diesels intended to help the vehicles pass emissions testing. An engine management function called Slipguard recognized whether the car was undergoing testing procedures while another, called Bit 15, halted emissions cleaning after roughly 16 miles of driving. Together, the two pieces of software may amount to what is known within the industry as a “defeat device.”
When paired the software apparently enabled the cars to produce NOx levels up to 10 times higher than what is legally permitted. Interestingly, Mercedes-Benz issued a voluntary recall upon roughly 3 million European cars last month to reduce nitrogen oxide emissions by tweaking their electronic control units.
Volkswagen Group has until the end of the day Tuesday to submit its final plan to the Environmental Protection Agency regarding its illegally polluting 3-liter TDI engines, primarily used in Audi vehicles, reported Automotive News on Monday.
The deadline comes after an earlier proposal to fix 2-liter TDI vehicles was rejected by the regulatory agency and before Audi takes to the airwaves during Super Bowl 50 where we hope it’ll use the opportunity to tell us something more than just “buy this new, fancy, non-diesel car.”
Audi, a brand within Volkswagen Group that markets the majority of 3-liter diesel engines sold by the group in the United States, released a statement Monday detailing how it plans to fix vehicles that use a defeat device. The automaker also stated that three separate Auxiliary Emissions Control Devices — not just one — are used in 2009 and later 3-liter diesels used by Audi, Volkswagen (Touareg) and Porsche (Cayenne).
AECDs for those engines will “be revised, documented and submitted for approval,” Audi said in the statement.
Of the three AECDs, the EPA questioned the legality of a temperature conditioning procedure of the exhaust-gas cleaning system.
“One of (the AECDs) is regarded as a defeat device according to applicable US law. Specifically, this is the software for the temperature conditioning of the exhaust-gas cleaning system,” Audi said in a statement.
Update: Added background.
Volkswagen of America, in a bid to regain the trust of current diesel owners, will announce a prepaid card campaign on November 9, TTAC has learned.
The program, detailed to dealers Thursday in preparation of its public announcement, is aimed at current owners of affected TDI models regardless of whether they bought their car new or used.
Two prepaid cards will be offered to those TDI owners. The first one will be for $500 and has no restrictions on where it can be used. The second, which may be valued between $500 and $750, will be limited to use at Volkswagen dealerships.
Ferdinand Piëch, the man who ruled Volkswagen like the king of a Teutonic fiefdom, was likely the cause of the diesel scandal that’s erased billions of dollars of value from Volkswagen as it looks down the barrel of a gun loaded with further billions of dollars worth of recall work, fines and law suits.
Or, at least, that’s the claim made by Bob Lutz.
Former auto industry executive Lutz called Piëch’s leadership style “a reign of terror” before saying “The guy was absolutely brutal,” in his latest piece for Road & Track.
Tell us what you really think, Bob.
Volkswagen of America CEO Michael Horn testified to a congressional committee Thursday that he wasn’t aware until last month of the illegal “defeat device” installed on nearly 500,000 cars in the U.S. — approximately 11 million worldwide — and that the car company could take several years to fix its cars.
Horn testified in front of the U.S. House Energy and Commerce’s subcommittee for oversight and investigations for more than two hours.
“I would like to offer a sincere apology for Volkswagen’s use of a software program that served to defeat the regular emissions testing regime,” Horn said in a prepared response before answering questions from representatives.
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