VW Emissions Scandal Widens as Defeat Devices Found in New Models

The Porsche Cayenne was one of the models found to be rigged with a 'defeat device.' (Photo: Kev Haworth Photography/flickr/cc)

VW Emissions Scandal Widens as Defeat Devices Found in New Models

"This is a very serious public health matter," said executive officer of California Air Resources Board

The Volkswagen emissions scandal grew on Monday as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) charged the auto manufacturer with installing so-called "defeat devices" in yet more cars, including several luxury Audi and Porsche models.

EPA issued its second notice of violation (NOV) of the Clean Air Act against VW, which owns Porsche and Audi, after the agency screened a handful of models from all three brands--including some which have yet to come on the market. Of those investigated, the EPA found that the following diesel models were equipped with devices rigged to beat emissions test: the 2014 VW Touareg, the 2015 Porsche Cayenne, and the 2016 Audi A6 Quattro, A7 Quattro, A8, A8L, and Q5.

"VW has once again failed its obligation to comply with the law that protects clean air for all Americans," said Cynthia Giles, assistant administrator for the Office for EPA's Enforcement and Compliance Assurance. "All companies should be playing by the same rules."

The Clean Air Act bans defeat devices and requires all car manufacturers to certify to the EPA that their products meet emissions standards to control air pollution. At last count, VW's engine rigging was estimated to affect 11 million cars worldwide.

"On September 25, the California Air Resources Board [ARB] sent letters to all manufacturers letting them know we would be screening vehicles for potential defeat devices," said Richard Corey, ARB's executive officer. "Since then ARB, EPA and Environment Canada have continued test programs on additional diesel-powered passenger cars and SUVs. These tests have raised serious concerns about the presence of defeat devices on additional VW, Audi and Porsche vehicles. Today we are requiring VW Group to address these issues."

"This is a very serious public health matter," Corey said. "ARB and EPA will continue to conduct a rigorous investigation that includes testing more vehicles until all of the facts are out in the open."

According to a study published last week in the journal Environmental Research Letters, the excess emissions from the rigging will cause 59 early deaths in the U.S.

The latest development bodes poorly for VW's new executive officer, Matthias Muller, who ran Porsche before taking over VW in September after then-CEO Martin Winterkorn stepped down. He vowed last week to be "ruthless" in punishing those involved in the emissions rigging and added, "We are leaving no stone unturned to find out what exactly happened and to make sure nothing like this ever happens again."

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