Volkswagen Up Against Deadline in Diesel-Emissions Scandal

Volkswagen had the engine software modified to turn on the vehicle’s emission control system when it was being tested in the lab, then turn it off when the vehicle was on the road, according to U.S. regulators.

The statement says the agencies will investigate and take appropriate action.

VW has denied that but Mary Nichols, chair of the California Air Resources Board in Los Angeles, told Reuters that regulators repeatedly saw the engines cycle through tests with a relatively low amount of emissions, only to see an increase in pollution a couple of seconds later.

Volkswagen in September admitted nearly 500,000 of its four-cylinder diesel cars in the USA had cheated on emissions tests thanks to a piece of software.

While the problems were first associated with 2.0-liter engines, the EPA announced earlier this month that certain 3.0-liter engines had problems as well.

VW executives met with officials of the EPA and CARB yesterday and informed them that the illegal “defeat devices” had been found on the additional models.

The supplied software controls how cars purify fuel before it is released out as exhaust. The figure is around €1bn less than the budget for the previous year.

The disclosure covers a total of 85,000 vehicles, the EPA said, including the diesel 2016 Audi A6 Quattro, A7 Quattro, A8, A8L and Q5; Porsche Cayenne; and Volkswagen Touraeg. In the third quarter, it set aside 6.7 billion euros to pay for the diesel recalls, noting that the full cost will probably be higher.

The vehicles affected by the inconsistencies in carbon dioxide emissions include the diesel variants of Volkswagen’s Polo, Golf and Passat models, as well as the subcompact A1 and the A3 hatchbacks of the Audi premium brand, Skoda Octavia, Seat Ibiza and Seat Leon.

Finally, Volkswagen of America CEO Michael Horn gave a lengthy, sometimes rambling recount of the scandal and VW’s attempts at “making things right”, including a $1,000 goodwill package that Horn said 120,000 VW TDI owners had already accepted as recompense. VW admitted such software was installed in up to 11 million diesel vehicles worldwide.

The CARB spokesman also confirmed that the agency’s head, Mary Nichols, had said Volkswagen might have to buy back a few of the older diesel models.

Volkswagen announced Friday it would slash spending on new projects next year by about $1 billion to offset the costs it will incur to address the emissions cheating scandal, The NY Times reported.

“California has a chance to find creative ways to ensure penalties benefit the communities most impacted by pollution”, said Joel Espino, Environmental Equity Legal Counsel at the Greenlining Institute.