The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) said Fiat Chrysler installed and failed to disclose engine software that allowed about 100,000 Jeep Cherokee and Dodge Ram trucks to produce excessive emissions of nitrogen oxide. The EPA said Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV and FCA US LLC failed to disclose engine management software in 2014, 2015 and 2016 Jeep Grand Cherokees and Dodge Ram 1500 trucks with 3.0 liter diesel engines sold in the U.S., and issued a notice of violation to the company.
According to EPA enforcement head Cynthia Giles, the agency is not yet ready to call the software a “defeat device,” which is designed to evade testing. However, the investigation is continuing. The software is designed to allow vehicles to meet pollution standards under testing conditions, but lets the NOx levels increase at high speeds or during extended driving periods. The Fiat Chrysler enforcement action is the latest in a series of investigations into carmakers’ emissions engineering practices, including Volkswagen AG, which has agreed to pay billions of dollars to settle a defeat device scandal. Ms. Giles said:
This is a clear and serious violation of the Clean Air Act. There is no doubt the devices are contributing to illegal pollution.
California Air Resources Board (CARB) has also issued a notice of violation to FCA US LLC, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V., and Chrysler Group LLC after detecting the “auxiliary emissions control devices” in the Grand Cherokees and Rams. CARB also said the company failed to disclose the devices, which it said can “significantly increase” NOx emissions when activated.
The EPA said that under the Clean Air Act, vehicle manufacturers must demonstrate through a certification process that their products meet applicable federal emission standards to control air pollution. Automakers must disclose and explain any AECDs that can alter how a vehicle emits air pollution. The EPA said in a statement:
FCA did not disclose the existence of certain auxiliary emission control devices … despite being aware that such a disclosure was mandatory. By failing to disclose this software and then selling vehicles that contained it, FCA violated important provisions of the Clean Air Act. It said FCA may be liable for civil penalties and injunctive relief for the violations alleged in the notice of violation.
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