Volkswagen has admitted that it knew Dieselgate was coming as far back as the Spring of 2014. But a new report from the AP says that despite all that, Volkswagen has now additionally confirmed it was getting ready to ship its 2016 diesel models with an “auxiliary emissions control device” software, completely separate from the already-existing defeat device software.
We heard last week that the EPA knew something was going on with a possible second layer of cheating, but we didn’t quite know the details. And while the official line for now is that regulators are trying to determine whether or not the new software code entails a “cheat,” that’s pretty much what it sounds like:
The newly revealed software makes a pollution control catalyst heat up faster, improving performance of the device that separates smog-causing nitrogen oxide into harmless nitrogen and oxygen gases.
VW spokeswoman Jeannine Ginivan said the new issue with the 2016 vehicles was first revealed last week to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and California regulators.
“Volkswagen has disclosed, in the application process for the model year 2016 2.0 TDI models, an auxiliary emissions control device,” Ginivan said. “This has the function of a warmup strategy which is subject to approval by the agencies. The agencies are currently evaluating this and Volkswagen is submitting additional information.”
There’s nothing inherently wrong with a control catalyst heating up faster so that it could do its job better. In fact, that’s pretty great. At issue here is whether that software was activated only during testing, and not during regular driving, and whether or not the software’s use affected other aspects of driving.
As of yet, it’s a bit unclear. But, as the AP points out, additional crap like this calls into question the Congressional testimony of the Volkswagen USA CEO, who said this whole cheating thing was really just the work of a few rogue engineers, and definitely not endemic policy throughout the company.
Maybe lots of people just decided to cheat individually?