Is Volkswagen in Hot Water Again?

11.22.16 - Audi A6

It hasn’t been that long, and all parts of the restitution aren’t even completed yet, since Volkswagen was found out and their diesel cars and SUVs were taken off the market. This affected Audi as well and to a lesser degree Porsche, but the 2.0-liter and 3.0-liter diesel engines from Volkswagen have caused a huge stink over the past year and the result is emissions that are severely over the allowable limit along with a costly program to reimburse those who have been wronged during this scandal, including the dealerships that lost sales because of this problem.

Now it seems there is a new way that Volkswagen has been cheating, and this time it may not seem as intentional as before. The cheat devices that were installed in the diesel engines were put there intentionally and for the specific purpose to detect when the vehicle was being tested so that the emissions control systems would engage and the car could pass the inspection. This new device is actually found in the transmission and is a small piece of software that could also be considered a cheat device, but that’s not its intended purchase as the original one was.

This item is found in Audi models that offer adaptive shift programs that make it difficult for the vehicle to produce the same emissions results each time. It appears this piece of software is in both gas and diesel models from Audi and it is actually able to detect testing conditions to change the shift patterns to offer lower CO2 and NOx emissions. This could be considered a deliberate cheat just as much as the original device found in the engines. The argument from Audi is that there is not an actual deliberate cheat for these transmissions; at least not in their view.

The explanation is that adaptive shift programs make it easier to offer a way for the vehicle to shift in a way that helps to adjust the shift points to suit the needs of the driver. This makes sense because we want vehicles, especially those from a luxury automaker such as Audi, to be able to adjust to our driving and make for a better overall ride, but if this software causes the vehicle to have a way to cheat the system it may need to be changed to take out the programming that detects when the vehicle is being tested.

So far there’s no word yet as to whether or not this means that these vehicles are putting out more than allowable emissions, just that the numbers are changed a bit. Certainly more information will need to be offered before we can decide whether or not this is an issue that needs to be addressed by the EPA and CARB, but this device has now started a new investigation to see whether or not these Audi engines are cheating on the emissions in a way that we had not counted on previously.

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