Volkswagen suggests simple fix for emissions test cheating software in Europe

The Volkswagen Group this week suggested a fix to the issue of emissions test defeat device, due to which the company had found itself in the centre of an unseemly controversy recently. The fix may be very simple to implement in Europe, according to commentators.  This week, the company's small technical change and software upgrade found acceptance with the German authorities.

Several of the company's diesel vehicles globally had been outfitted with the device to cheat regulations. Two of the engines under investigation in Europe are a 1.6 litre and 2.0 litre diesel labeled EA 189. These came with engine software that could detect when the vehicle was being compliance tested and changed the output metrics to win approval.

These utilised engine software that detected when the vehicle was being compliance tested and changed the output metrics in order to win compliance. The recorded nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions were within limits even though these were much higher than allowed during normal use.

According to Volkswagen, a simple engine change and a software fix would force the two EA 189 engines to be compliant with European emissions regulations. The proposal had been approved by the German Federal Motor Transport Authority (Kraftfahrtbundesamt or KBA).

Meanwhile, the group would need to recall all vehicles sporting 3-litre diesel engines in California, due to an order issued by the California Air Resources Board (CARB).

The company has 45 business days to call back its models featuring software that the regulators think could distort emissions tests. The measure is aimed at VW, Audi and Porsche vehicles built in 2009 and later.

Audi accepted that its engines behaved differently during emissions testing, but did not confess to the cheating in the same manner as Volkswagen did when proof of software rigging emerged earlier this year.

"Audi, Porsche and VW are expected to take appropriate corrective action to remedy the nonconformity and return these vehicles to claimed certification configurations which meet required standards," said Annette Hebert, a division chief at the CARB.

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and CARB affirmed that around 85,000 Volkswagen, Audi and Porsche vehicles with 3-litre and six-cylinder engines had the cheat software installed.