PhotoIt's not just the 2.0-liter Volkswagen TDI diesel engines that use illegal software to fool emission checks, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said today. 

The EPA says several VW, Porsche, and Audi models with 3.0-liter diesels have been found with "defeat device" software similar to that used on nearly half a million of the smaller TDI engines. 

The agency today issued a new Notice of Violation to Volkswagen, Audi, and Porsche saying that it found several models with the illegal defeat devices.

The models are:

  • 2014 VW Touareg;
  • 2015 Porsche Cayenne; and
  • 2016 Audi A6 Quattro, A7 Quattro, A8, A8L, and Q5 crossover. 

The notice includes only models with the 3.0-liter diesel engine.

"Once again failed"

"The EPA's investigation into this matter is continuing," the notice said. "The EPA may find additional violations as the investigation continues." 

EPA said the software on the 3.0-liter engines increases emissions of nitrogen oxide (NOx) up to nine times the legal standard when the car is not hooked up to emissions-measuring equipment. 

“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. EPA, with our state, and federal partners, will continue to investigate these serious matters, to secure the benefits of the Clean Air Act, ensure a level playing field for responsible businesses, and to ensure consumers get the environmental performance they expect.”

Both the EPA and the California Air Resources Board (CARB) are investigating the latest alleged violations. The new notice covers approximately 10,000 diesel passenger cars already sold in the United States since model year 2014. In addition, it includes an unknown volume of 2016 vehicles.

"On September 25, the California Air Resources Board sent letters to all manufacturers letting them know we would be screening vehicles for potential defeat devices,” said Richard Corey, Executive Officer of the California Air Resources Board. “Since then ARB, EPA and Environment Canada have continued test programs on additional diesel-powered passenger cars and SUVs.

"Serious concerns"

"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. 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," Corey said.

As in the 2.0-liter engines, EPA said VW "manufactured and installed software in the electronic control module of these vehicles that senses when the vehicle is being tested for compliance with EPA emissions standards."

"When the vehicle senses that it is undergoing a federal emissions test procedure, it operates in a low NOx 'temperature conditioning' mode, EPA said. "Under that mode, the vehicle meets emission standards. At exactly one second after the completion of the initial phases of the standard test procedure, the vehicle immediately changes a number of operating parameters that increase NOx emissions and indicates in the software that it is transitioning to 'normal mode,' where emissions of NOx increase up to nine times the EPA standard, depending on the vehicle and type of driving conditions." 

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