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Lawsuit Accuses Ford Of Cheating Diesel Emissions On 500,000 Trucks

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A class action lawsuit was filed against the Ford Motor Company and supplier Bosch on Wednesday alleging that the former installed emissions defeat devices in its diesel F-250 and F-350 trucks, causing them to produce up to 50 times more oxides of nitrogen than allowed by law. This should sound familiar by now.


The lawsuit alleges that over half a million F-250s and F-350s from 2011 to 2017 included defeat devices built into their software that “[turned] down the emission controls when each vehicle senses that it is not in the certification test cycle.”

Ultimately, the lawsuit claims that “engineering experts” found that the reduced emissions controls effectiveness resulted in five times the allowable NOx output when in “normal” stop-and-go driving conditions. And in “modest” uphill driving or towing conditions, Ford F-250 and F-350s were measured to emit 30 to 50 times the standard set by the EPA.


This data leads the plaintiff to draw this snarky conclusion:

These vehicles should more properly have been called “Super Dirty.”

The suit was filed by four firms, including Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro LLP, which also lobbed a class action lawsuit against Volkswagen for diesel cheating.

The document goes on, describing Ford’s allegedly sales-driven motives, saying:

Increased sales, and thus increased profits, drove Ford to use at least adefeat device in its Super Duty diesel engines. By reversing the traditional order ofthe exhaust treatment components and putting the selective catalytic reduction(SCR) in front of the diesel particulate filter (DPF), Ford could obtain and markethigher power and fuel efficiency from its engines while still passing the cold-startemissions certification tests. This made Ford’s trucks more appealing andcompetitive in the marketplace, driving up sales and profits.


The lawsuit talks about how the trucks’ emissions vary greatly based on driving conditions, and that consumers should have been notified of this fact. The lawsuit also accuses supplier Bosch as being complicit, saying:

Bosch GmbH and Bosch LLC developed, manufactured,and tested the electronic diesel control (EDC) that allowed Ford to implement thedefeat device.


Bosch, as you may recall, has also faced its own lawsuits and investigations over apparent role in the VW diesel cheating scandal.

The plaintiffs in the lawsuit apparently conducted their own testing on a 2014 F-250 Super Duty in stop-and-go conditions as well as steady-state highway driving using “accepted testing equipment and protocols conducted by engineering experts.” More specifically, those experts relied on a “portable emission measurement system” similar to what CARB and the EPA use for heavy-duty truck emissions compliance, the lawsuit says.


To help give legitimacy to its research, the suit claims that these new studies are similar to research done on Fiat Chrysler’s 3.0-liter diesel prior to the EPA’s notice of violation:

OnDecember 2, 2016, Plaintiffs’ counsel, based on the same type of expert testing and investigation conducted in this case, filed a class action alleging that FCA’s DodgeRam and Jeep Grand Cherokee EcoDiesels were exceeding emissions standards and producing emissions beyond that a reasonable consumer would expect to be produced by “Eco” vehicles. On January 12, 2017, essentially confirming the work of Plaintiffs’ counsel, the EPA issued a Notice of Violation to FCA because it had cheated on its emissions certificates with respect to its Dodge Ram and Jeep Grand Cherokee.


Diesel emissions cheating is a huge deal. It cost Volkswagen billions of dollars and a huge blow to the company’s reputation, and allegations against Fiat Chrysler’s 3.0-liter diesels delayed certification of Ram 1500s and Jeep Grand Cherokees with those engines, and also did nothing to aid that company’s outward appearance.

As for Ford, we’ll have to wait and see if the data in this lawsuit is valid. I reached out to Ford for a statement, and the response vehemently denies the claims, saying: “All Ford vehicles, including those with diesel engines, comply with all U.S. EPA and CARB emissions regulations.” The comment continues, asserting: “Ford vehicles do not have defeat devices. We will defend ourselves against these baseless claims.”


Here’s the lawsuit in full: