Volkswagen has confirmed to U.S. regulators that its 2016 diesel models run additional suspect software that potentially helps the exhaust systems run cleaner during testing.
Last week, the German automaker withdrew its EPA application for its 2016 diesel models and has now come forward saying that those vehicles are equipped with an “auxiliary emissions control device” that operates differently from the defeat device at the center of its scandal. According to a recent report, the newly revealed software makes a pollution catalyst heat up quicker, improving performance of the device that separates smog-causing nitrogen oxide into harmless nitrogen and oxygen gases.
Auxiliary emissions control devices are routinely used by various automakers, but they are required by law to disclose that they’re being used. U.S. regulators have not yet determined whether the new software is also a defeat device to cheat on emissions tests. It is also currently unclear whether Volkswagen broke the law by not disclosing the software in its 2016 application for emissions certification.
If it has been determined that the new software is a second defeat device, Volkswagen’s scandal could run even deeper than what has been disclosed. In a way, it would suggest that the German automaker had a multi-year plan in place to meet government emissions standards. For now, 2016 Volkswagen diesel models cannot be sold.
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