Audi finds fix for V6 diesel engine problem; seeks approval

Audi has announced that it will seek approval of a software fix for 85,000 diesel-equipped vehicles. The diesel engines are part of the Dieselgate emission control scandal.

Following charges earlier this month that its three-liter diesel engine violated clean air laws, Audi yesterday said it will revise the problem emission control software on 85,000 luxury vehicles. Until the software is revised, the sales hold that has been put on new Audi diesel vehicles will remain in place. In a statement, the automaker said it will seek certification for the revised software. Once approvals have been received from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and California Air Resources Board (CARB), Audi will make the new software available for its products.

In a piece of good fortune for the automaker, vehicles in which its three-liter diesel engine is installed will need no more than a software update to fix this piece of the Dieselgate scandal. In contrast, the 482,000 two-liter diesels also involved in the emissions cheating scandal will require hardware changes along with software replacement.

Audi’s announcement follows a meeting last week between the automaker and regulators where changes were discussed. The carmaker plans, as a result of that meeting, to “revise, document in detail, and resubmit for U.S. approval” pieces of the questionable emissions control software.

According to Automotive News, the automaker indicated yesterday that it had failed to disclose three pertinent functions of the emissions control software. Called auxiliary emissions control devices, the automaker said that one of the three was the “defeat switch” that has been cited as central to the emissions scandal. In action, the software remains inactive as long as the vehicle is not placed into test mode. As soon as the software detects a test, the software activates a routine that begins “temperature conditioning.” As the routine progresses, emissions control software is turned on that limits the emissions of oxides of nitrogen, so the vehicle under test remains within limits. When the test is finished, the engine settings revert to pre-test mode and the vehicle’s emissions rise.

Meantime, Automotive News said, EPA and CARB investigations of the automaker continue. A spokeswoman for the agency indicated regulators will “continue to insist that VW and Audi develop effective, appropriate remedies as expeditiously as possible, and at no cost to owners.”

The three-liter diesel engine, developed by Audi, was used, starting in the model year 2009, in:

  • A6
  • A7
  • A8
  • Q5
  • Q7

The engine was also employed by Volkswagen in its Touareg SUV and the Porsche Cayenne. It has been used on these models since 2013.

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