Audi to revise emissions control software in U.S. vehicles with 3.0-liter engines

WASHINGTON — Audi AG said today that it will revise emissions control software used on more than 85,000 Volkswagen Group vehicles with 3.0-liter diesel engines that U.S regulators said earlier this month violated U.S. clean air laws.

Audi will submit new applications for U.S. government emission certification for the revised software, the VW luxury brand said in a statement. Once approved by EPA and California’s Air Resources Board, Audi will make the software available to be installed in the vehicles, the company said.

The VW Group also extended its U.S. market stop-sale on new models powered 3.0-liter diesel vehicles “until further notice.”

The plan indicates that the 85,000 or more Audi, Porsche and VW vehicles powered by 3.0-liter diesels can be made compliant with a software alone, allowing the automaker to avoid the type of costly hardware retrofits expected to be needed to remedy its nearly 500,000 2.0-liter diesels with illegal “defeat device” software.

Audi said its plans to “revise, document in detail, and resubmit for U.S. approval certain parameters” of its 3.0-liter diesel emissions software following a meeting last week between Audi executives and officials from the EPA and CARB about the issue.

Failure to disclose

In its statement today, Audi said that it failed to disclose three emissions control software functions, known as auxiliary emissions control devices, to the agencies as required by U.S. law.

“That will now be done with the updated software and the documentation,” Audi said in its statement.

One of the AECDs is “regarded as a defeat device” according to U.S. law, Audi said.

The software recognizes when vehicles are undergoing a U.S. emissions test and in turn activate a “temperature conditioning” mode that turns on pollution-control equipment, limiting nitrogen oxide emissions to permissible levels, according to the EPA.

In real-world driving, the controls are inactive, making the vehicles pollute far more than they were certified to be, according to the EPA.

An EPA spokeswoman said the agency and CARB’s investigation into VW’s emissions issues continues.

“The agencies continue to insist that VW and Audi develop effective, appropriate remedies as expeditiously as possible, and at no cost to owners,” the spokeswoman said.

More penalties?

The 3.0-liter diesel engine was developed by Audi and used in diesel variants of the A6, A7, A8, Q5 and Q7 starting in the 2009 model year. The engine was also used in the VW Touareg and Porsche Cayenne SUVs since model year 2013, Audi said.

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