Volkswagen said to use software to fudge emissions tests

Software in cars turned on full emissions controls only during testing

Volkswagen partners with Apple to create new iBeetle car. Credit: Volkswagen

Volkswagen partners with Apple to create new iBeetle car. Credit: Volkswagen

Volkswagen is being investigated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the California Air Resources Board for allegedly using software to game emission test results.

The so-called "defeat device" to evade clean air standards is allegedly a software algorithm on certain Volkswagen vehicles, which detects if a car is undergoing official emissions testing, and turns on full emissions controls only during the test, according to an EPA statement Friday.

A number of car makers including Volkswagen are increasing the software and automation in their vehicles, with some aiming at cars that could be driverless.

EPA and CARB said they uncovered the software after independent analysis by researchers at West Virginia University, working with the International Council on Clean Transportation, a non-governmental organization.

The agencies decided on further research after results raised questions about emissions levels. Volkswagen is said to have admitted to the use of the defeat devices when confronted with the emission issues.

The EPA's notice states that four-cylinder Volkswagen and Audi diesel cars from model years 2009 to 2015 have the software that circumvents its emissions standards for certain air pollutants. About 482,000 diesel passenger cars sold in the U.S. since 2008 are affected in the investigation.

These include the Jetta, Beetle, Golf and Audi A3 models from 2009 to 2015 and Passat models from 2014 and 2015. The cars met emissions standards during tests, but actually released nitrogen oxides at up to 40 times the standard in normal conditions, in violation of the Clean Air Act, according to the EPA.

Volkswagen may be liable for civil penalties and injunctive relief for the violations alleged and has been asked to fix the emission systems.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

John Ribeiro

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Tom Pope

Dynabook Portégé X30L-G

Ultimately this laptop has achieved everything I would hope for in a laptop for work, while fitting that into a form factor and weight that is remarkable.

Tom Sellers

MSI P65

This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.

Lolita Wang

MSI GT76

It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.

Jack Jeffries

MSI GS75

As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr

MSI PS63

The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Featured Content

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?