— More Volkswagen emissions recalls will be in order as the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has hit Volkswagen and its brands with a second notice of violation of the Clean Air Act that now includes Audi and Porsche cars.
In total, the notice of violation was sent to Volkswagen AG, Audi AG, Volkswagen Group of America, Inc., Porsche AG and Porsche Cars North America.
Although the first EPA notice of violation included 2-liter engines that emitted up to 40 times the legal limit of nitrogen oxides, the second notice of violation includes only 3-liter engines. Those engines are emitting up to nine times the legal levels of nitrogen oxides and all in model year 2014-2016 VW, Audi and Porsche vehicles.
Volkswagen issued a statement denying the vehicles have hidden software to cheat emissions tests.
"Volkswagen AG wishes to emphasize that no software has been installed in the 3-liter V6 diesel power units to alter emissions characteristics in a forbidden manner."
The EPA says the vehicles added to the second notice are the:
- 2014 VW Touareg
- 2015 Porsche Cayenne
- 2016 Audi A6 Quattro
- 2016 Audi A7 Quattro
- 2016 Audi A8
- 2016 Audi A8L
- 2016 Audi Q5
The EPA accuses VW of adding illegal "defeat devices" to the cars to alter emissions readings during official government tests. The devices are illegal software used to fool the machines only while the cars are undergoing emissions tests. Once out of the testing lab, the emissions are no longer "defeated" and the cars emit illegal amounts of nitrogen oxides, gases that cause various severe health problems.
The EPA says the sophisticated software waits exactly one second after the standard test procedure to immediately change operating parameters that increase nitrogen oxide emissions. At that second, the software transitions to “normal mode,” where emissions increase up to nine times EPA standards.
In other tests where the vehicle does not experience driving conditions similar to the start of the federal test procedure, the emissions are higher from the start, consistent with “normal mode.”
The EPA and the California Air Resources Board (CARB) have been investigating VW to determine how many U.S. vehicles have the illegal software. Previous estimates include 482,000 VW cars affected, but that number will now rise by thousands.
Based on estimates gathered from affected vehicles sold since 2014, the EPA believes at least 10,000 more cars will now be considered illegal.
Authorities discovered the additional altered models after the EPA started testing all 2015 and 2016 light-duty diesel models available in the U.S using updated testing procedures specifically designed to detect potential defeat devices.
Those testing procedures were started after researchers at West Virginia University discovered VW models emitting too much nitrogen oxides and told the EPA about the problems. The government has yet to say why it didn't catch the problems during a seven year period.
The EPA says the emission testing facilities used to find these latest defeat devices were the EPA’s National Vehicle and Fuel Emissions Laboratory, CARB’s Haagen-Smit Laboratory and Environment Canada’s River Road Laboratory.
Any charges or penalties related to this second notice of violation will be in addition to the current maximum $18 billion fine VW could receive.
CarComplaints.com has complaints about the Audi, Porsche and VW vehicles with emissions defeat devices: