Fiat Chrysler Accused Of Cheating Emissions In 100,000 Diesel Vehicles

In the wake of VW’s Dieselgate scandal, the EPA is now targeting Fiat Chrysler (FCA) for cheat devices is more than 100,000 vehicles. The Jeep Grand Cherokee and Ram 1500 3.0-liter diesel are part of the 103,828 vehicles affected. If found guilty, penalties could be as high as $44,539 per vehicle, which works out to just over $4.6 billion in fines. An official statement by the EPA can be found below, or on the official EPA website. The total number of vehicles affected are as follows:

  • 2014 Dodge Ram 1500 – 14,083 units sold
  • 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee – 14,652 units sold
  • 2015 Dodge Ram 1500 – 31,948 units sold
  • 2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee – 8,421 units sold
  • 2016 Dodge Ram 1500 – 32,219 (projected units sold)
  • 2016 Jeep Grand Cherokee – 2,469 (projected units sold)

At least eight auxiliary emissions control devices (listed below) were not disclosed to the EPA when FCA certified the engines, suggesting violations of the Clean Air Act. The engines are said to meet emissions standards during normal testing, but software reduces the emissions system’s effectiveness at high speeds or when driving for extended periods. The eight devices produce results as follows:

  • AECD #1 (Full EGR Shut-Off at Highway Speed)
  • AECD #2 (Reduced EGR with Increasing Vehicle Speed)
  • AECD #3 (EGR Shut-off for Exhaust Valve Cleaning)
  • AECD #4 (DEF Dosing Disablement during SCR Adaptation)
  • AECD #5 (EGR Reduction due to Modeled Engine Temperature)
  • AECD #6 (SCR Catalyst Warm-Up Disablement)
  • AECD #7 (Alternative SCR Dosing Modes)
  • AECD #8 (Use of Load Governor to Delay Ammonia Refill of SCR Catalyst)

The U.S. trucks and SUVs in question have been on the market since 2014. According to the Vehicle and Fuels Lab in Ann Arbor, Michigan, the models “emit nitrogen oxide in excess of the standard,” due to implementation of the devices. The EPA says that there is no immediate action needed for owners, as the vehicles are safe and legal for people to drive while the investigation into the matter continues.

FCA has issued an official statement:

FCA US is disappointed that the EPA has chosen to issue a notice of violation with respect to the emissions control technology employed in the company’s 2014-16 model year light duty 3.0-liter diesel engines.

FCA US intends to work with the incoming administration to present its case and resolve this matter fairly and equitably and to assure the EPA and FCA US customers that the company’s diesel-powered vehicles meet all applicable regulatory requirements.

FCA US diesel engines are equipped with state-of-the-art emission control systems hardware, including selective catalytic reduction (SCR).  Every auto manufacturer must employ various strategies to control tailpipe emissions in order to balance EPA’s regulatory requirements for low nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions and requirements for engine durability and performance, safety and fuel efficiency. FCA US believes that its emission control systems meet the applicable requirements.

FCA US has spent months providing voluminous information in response to requests from EPA  and other governmental authorities and has sought to explain its emissions control technology to EPA representatives.  FCA US has proposed a number of actions to address EPA’s concerns, including developing extensive software changes to our emissions control strategies that could be implemented in these vehicles immediately to further improve emissions performance.

FCA US looks forward to the opportunity to meet with the EPA’s enforcement division and representatives of the new administration to demonstrate that FCA US’s emissions control strategies are properly justified and thus are not “defeat devices” under applicable regulations and to resolve this matter expeditiously.

Fiat Chrysler, as well as some of its owned subsidiaries are seeing stock prices drop dramatically (updated at 12:07 PM EST):

  • FCA – 16.14 percent drop
  • Ferrari – 1.06 percent drop 
  • Cummins – 1.98 percent drop 
  • Alfa Romeo – .74 percent drop

We will continue to monitor the situation, and update the story with more information as we get it.

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