The EPA claims that cars equipped with the 3.0 TDI engine know when they are being tested for emissions, and their on-board computers switch into a mode designed to pass the stringent requirements in the United States for diesel exhaust. Vehicles sold in the United States with this engine include the 2014 VW Touareg, 2015 Porsche Cayenne, and 2015 Audi A6, A7, A8L and Q5. The EPA says there are 10,000 vehicles currently on the road with this second defeat device, along with an unknown number of 2016 models either on dealer lots or in the driveways of consumers.
According to the EPA, VW's 3.0-liter TDI, like the 2.0 TDI that was found to circumvent US regulations, has code in its computer specifically written to intentionally put the vehicle's engine into a mode that allows it to meet exhaust requirements. When the vehicle is unhooked from testing equipment, it will go back into a mode that emits nine-times higher nitrogen oxide emissions than is allowable under US law.
"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."
Richard Corey, Executive Officer of the California Air Resources Board, said in a statement, "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."
This story will be updated as new information becomes available.