In a conference call with reporters Thursday morning, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says an investigation has revealed that diesel V6 Jeep and Ram vehicles made between 2014 and 2016 have “at least eight auxiliary emission control devices” that were not disclosed to the agency—an allegation of cheating that not only seems similar to what Volkswagen did but may have been caught because of the German automaker.
The software, according to the EPA, yields different tailpipe emissions (NOx, to be specific) when in real world usage versus in laboratory testing, and depends highly upon operating conditions. For example, the EPA says the systems “[reduce] the effectiveness of emissions controls when driving at high speeds.”
For those who have been following Volkswagen’s Dieselgate, that is very similar to what the Germans are accused of doing: implementing a system that would pass lab certification tests but put out more emissions in the real world for greater fuel economy and performance.
However, the agency says it is not ready to fully call FCA’s software a defeat device, just that they have sent Fiat Chrysler a notice of violation, asking the company to “show them why these controls devices do not constitute ‘defeat devices.’”
“This is a clear and serious violation of the Clean Air Act,” said Cynthia Giles, assistant administrator of the EPA’s Office of Enforcement & Compliance Assurance about the fact that these eight devices hadn’t been disclosed. The investigation remains ongoing, Giles says, “but there’s no doubt they’re contributing to illegal pollution.”
The vehicles covered by the notice of violation include 104,000 light-duty Jeep Grand Cherokees from model years 2014-2016, and Dodge Ram 1500 trucks with 3.0 Liter engines.
In a statement, FCA US said it was “disappointed” that the EPA issued a notice of violation, and that it’s aiming to work with the incoming administration of Donald Trump to address the situation.
“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,” the statement said.
And without explicitly saying it, Giles told reporters on the conference call that the EPA’s notice of violation stems from Dieselgate scandal. Since then, regulators have been far more vigilant about emissions testing.
“The NOV that we’re issuing today is based in part on vehicle emission testing that was performed ... after EPA’s announcement in late September of 2015 that we would perform additional testing beyond the normal testing procedures,” she said.
We’ll have more on this as it comes, but in the meantime, you can read the EPA’s Notice of Violation below.