In what is definitely gonna be a long and embarrassing episode, automobile giant Volkswagen has been accused by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and California Air Resources Board (CARB) of using a sophisticated software (a defeat device) to make its diesel powered US-spec models appear to be less polluting than they actually were.
The agencies found that certain diesel powered VW cars were so programmed to detect when they are being tested for emissions and alter their engine operation accordingly to pass the test. However, under normal operating conditions, the cars are found to be emitting a lot higher than the prescribed limit.
Around 482,000 diesel cars from both VW and Audi brands manufactured since 2008 have been plying the US roads with the defeat device. The software is paired to a 2.0-litre TDI diesel engine which has been promoted as the “Clean Diesel”. VW of USA has halted sales of certain 2015 diesel models powered by the aforementioned motor.
Various reports say that EPA would prompt the automaker to recall all the affected vehicles and implement a fix. The government organisation could also impose a fine of up to USD 37,500 per car which sums up to over USD 18 billion! However, it remains to be see if the government will enforce a penalty of such a high magnitude.
Reacting to this fiasco, Martin Winterkorn, CEO of VW, said:
I personally am deeply sorry that we have broken the trust of our customers and the public. We do not and will not tolerate violation of any kind of our internal rules or of the law. This matter has first priority for me.