Saturday, 19 September 2015

EPA accuses VW of 'defeat' emission devices


The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is issuing a notice of violation (NOV) of the Clean Air Act (CAA) to Volkswagen AG, Audi AG, and Volkswagen Group of America, Inc.
The NOV alleges that four-cylinder Volkswagen and Audi diesel cars from model years 2009-2015 include “defeat” software that circumvents EPA emissions standards for certain air pollutants.

Volkswagen has now admitted that its cars contain defeat devices and 482,000 cars will have to be recalled.

As described in the NOV, a sophisticated software algorithm on certain Volkswagen vehicles detects when the car is undergoing official emissions testing, and turns full emissions controls on only during the test. The effectiveness of these vehicles’ pollution emissions control devices is greatly reduced during all normal driving situations.

California is separately issuing an In-Use Compliance letter to Volkswagen, and EPA and the California Air Resources Board (CARB) have both initiated investigations based on Volkswagen’s alleged actions. There have been rumours that vehicle manufacturers may be fitting such devices to improve engine performance, with an associated impact on fuel economy.

“Using a defeat device in cars to evade clean air standards is illegal and a threat to public health,” declared Cynthia Giles, assistant administrator for the Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance. “Working closely with the California Air Resources Board, EPA is committed to making sure that all automakers play by the same rules. EPA will continue to investigate these very serious matters.”

“Working with US EPA we are taking this important step to protect public health thanks to the dogged investigations by our laboratory scientists and staff,” said Air Resources Board executive officer Richard Corey. “Our goal now is to ensure that the affected cars are brought into compliance, to dig more deeply into the extent and implications of Volkswagen’s efforts to cheat on clean air rules, and to take appropriate further action.”

According to the EPA, the algorithm allows cars in the laboratory or testing station to meet emissions standards, but during normal operation the “defeat” device allows the vehicles to emit nitrogen oxides, or NOx, at up to 40 times the standard.

The software produced by Volkswagen is a “defeat device,” as defined by the Clean Air Act.

The Clean Air Act requires vehicle manufacturers to certify to EPA that their products will meet applicable federal emission standards to control air pollution, and every vehicle sold in the U.S. must be covered by an EPA-issued certificate of conformity.

Motor vehicles equipped with defeat devices, which reduce the effectiveness of the emission control system during normal driving conditions, cannot be certified.

By making and selling vehicles with defeat devices allow for higher levels of air emissions than certified to EPA, the Agency declares that Volkswagen has violated two important provisions of the Clean Air Act.

                           Uncovered by independent analysis

EPA and CARB uncovered the defeat device software after independent analysis by researchers at West Virginia University, working with the International Council on Clean Transportation, a non-governmental organization, raised questions about emissions levels.

As a result of this, the agencies began further investigations into the issue.

This month, after EPA and CARB demanded an explanation for the identified emission problems, Volkswagen admitted that the cars contained defeat devices.

According to the EPA, NOx pollution contributes to nitrogen dioxide, ground-level ozone, and fine particulate matter. Exposure to these pollutants has been linked with a range of serious health effects, including increased asthma attacks and other respiratory illnesses that can be serious enough to send people to the hospital.

Exposure to ozone and particulate matter have also been associated with premature death due to respiratory-related or cardiovascular-related effects. Children, the elderly, and people with pre-existing respiratory disease are particularly at risk for health effects of these pollutants






1 comment:

Willy Persson said...

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