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Regulator-approved fix for another 84,000 diesels could save VW some money

VW fixes must engage emissions control without dramatic performance loss.

On Friday, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and California’s Air Resources Board (CARB) announced that they approved a new fix (PDF) for 84,390 diesel vehicles that were caught up in the Volkswagen Group scandal that broke in 2015.
The fix applies to automatic 2.0L Passats from 2012-2014 (manual Passats do not have an approved fix yet). The approval is good news for VW Group, which is required to fix or buy back all of the 475,474 diesel vehicles that were caught using illegal software to circumvent nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions rules in 2015. The cars with the offending software belched many times the amount of NOx permitted by US regulators while being driven under normal driving conditions, but the cars passed emissions tests when hooked up to a dynamometer in a lab.
Although car owners can choose whether they want VW Group to buy back their vehicle or fix it, VW Group can’t resell any cars that aren’t in compliance with US emissions standards, even in countries where emissions standards are more lax. With the approval of a fix, VW Group doesn’t have to eat so much of a loss on those 84,390 cars.
The fix is meant to bring the cars’ emissions control system in line with regulations, while not degrading the cars’ performance too dramatically. Details on how VW engineers will do that in these Passats are sparse. VW Group released a fix for 67,000 newer, “Generation 3” vehicles in January, and that involved two waves of updates: the first, a software update that removed the defeat device software, and the second, a combination software-and-mechanical update that involves installing a new diesel particulate filter on the car.
According to Reuters, this month Volkswagen started reselling some of the fixed Generation 3 vehicles it bought back from owners.
VW Group has also settled a separate but parallel matter involving nearly 80,000 3.0L diesel vehicles. 20,000 of those vehicles are unable to be fixed and will have to be bought back from current owners. But VW Group has said it’s likely to find a fix for another 58,000 vehicles.

Other diesel crises

Fiat Chrysler also found itself in hot water this January when the EPA announced that software to thwart emissions controls had been found on 104,000 diesel Jeep Grand Cherokees and Dodge Ram trucks. Today, the automaker said that it would issue a minor software update to bring the cars in line with regulations, according to USA Today. The EPA has not yet approved this update, but Fiat Chrysler said the updates were developed in “close collaboration” with regulators.
Diesel has been in the crosshairs since the VW Group scandal. While diesel advocates extol those cars’ fuel economy and performance in high altitude, others say it’s too much of a challenge to mitigate emissions of NOx in passenger cars. This week, Volvo CEO Håkan Samuelsson said that his company will likely stop producing diesel engines and focus on electric vehicle development instead.
Regulator-approved fix for another 84,000 diesels could save VW some money Reviewed by Chidinma C Amadi on 10:08 PM Rating: 5

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