Volkswagen’s recently approved $15 billion settlement with the U.S. government was seen by some as the final chapter in the carmaker’s “defeat device” emissions scandal, but officials in California may have found evidence that VW used a second device to skirt carbon dioxide emissions restrictions in certain of its Audi vehicles.
Forbes, citing German publication Bild am Sonntag, reports that the California Air Resources Board claims to have discovered the software in certain diesel and gasoline Audi vehicles with automatic transmissions during lab tests nearly four months ago.
Like the previous defeat devices, the new software — found in Audi A6, A8, Q5, and other models — kicks on as a “warm-up function” when the vehicles are undergoing official emissions testing. The car’s full emissions control systems will only operate while the vehicle is being tested.
According to Forbes, when the vehicles in question are not being tested, they consume more fuel and produce more carbon dioxide.
A spokesperson for Audi tells CNET that the company continues to work with regulators on an approved resolution for vehicles containing previously discovered defeat devices, but could not comment on the new reports.
CARB did not immediately return a request for comment. Reuters reports that German transportation authorities said they had not received information about the new defeat devices.
Still, CNET notes that Bild am Sonntag claims emails between Audi’s powertrain chief discusses the system, suggesting that executives in the company were aware of the devices. The report claims that several of these officials have already been suspended.
Audi previously confirmed that 2.1 million of its vehicles were affected by VW’s nitrogen oxide defeat device scandal. Those vehicles are subject to the recently approved settlement in which owners can sell their cars back to the carmaker. A fix for the defeat devices has not yet been determined.
CARB Finds New Audi Defeat Device, German Paper Digs Up Smoking Gun Document [Forbes]
Regulators allegedly find new defeat device in Audi transmissions [CNET]
Germany has no info from U.S. on reports of cheat device in Audi cars: spokesman [Reuters]
by Ashlee Kieler via Consumerist