Volkswagen (VW) has admitted that over 2 million Audi TDI cars were sold with illegal software designed to cheat emissions tests while marketing them as environmentally-friendly “Clean Diesel.”
What Audis Have a Device to Cheat Emissions?
Volkwagen (VW) has admitted using “defeat device” software on about 11 million vehicles worldwide since 2009. About 2.1 million Audi cars are affected, including 13,000 sold in the United States.
Audi TDI® “Clean Diesel” vehicles include:
What is the problem?
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that VW had admitted using software to cheat emissions in September 2015.
However, the scandal actually began much earlier, when an independent consumer group commissioned researchers at West Virginia University to figure out why the cars emitted more pollutants on the road than during emissions tests.
What they found was a “defeat device” — software that used the car’s speed, steering angle, barometric pressure, and other factors to determine when it was being tested for emissions, and temporarily reduce emissions to pass the test.
On the road, the cars emitted up to 40X more nitrogen oxide than allowed under the Clean Air Act.
Breathing in the toxic fumes can cause respiratory problems like emphysema and asthma. However, it is likely that many owners will resist getting their cars repaired because a software update may reduce the performance and fuel efficiency.
According to Reuters, the EPA and state officials confronted VW about the problem in December 2014. In April 2015, VW sent owners an “emissions service action.” According to spokesman Dave Clegern, “This is one of the fixes they presented to us as a potential solution. It didn’t work.”
It wasn’t until September 2015 that VW finally came clean and admitted intentionally using software to cheat emissions tests on millions of diesel vehicles. Within days, dozens of class action lawsuits were filed and the U.S. Department of Justice launched a criminal investigation.