UPDATE (November 25, 2015): EPA says “yes, please” to Audi’s proposal.
The California Air Resources Board (CARB) today said “yes, please” to Audi’s Monday proposal to clean up the automaker’s 3.0L TDI diesel exhaust emissions.
The we-saw-this-one-coming pronouncement and subsequent recall order come in the wake of accusations made earlier this month by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) the VW/Audi V6 was programmed with emissions test-cheating software similar to the kind that allowed VW’s 2.0L four-cylinder diesel appear to meet emissions regulations.
The CARB recall-and-repair order covers more than 15,000 vehicles sold in California between 2009 and 2015, and gives the automaker 45 days to submit its plan. That leaves VW, Audi and Porsche to work out how to deal with something like 70,000 3.0L TDI vehicles in the rest of the U.S., not to mention a few thousand Canadian vehicles.
Audi says its plan (following what we cannot imagine were enjoyable discussions between the automaker and the EPA and the CARB), is to reprogram the 3.0L V6’s engine management software, and–like a gradeschooler getting a second chance after being caught cheating on a test–document and submit those revisions to CARB and the EPA for approval. Audi says it “has committed to continue cooperating transparently and fully, (and) the focus will be on finding quick, uncomplicated, and customer-friendly solutions.”
Not to get too technical, but the EPA takes issue with three auxiliary emission control devices (AECDs) improperly declared in Audi’s original submission of the engine’s emissions performance when it was originally approved for sale in North America. The EPA has suggested that software controlling ‘temperature conditioning of the exhaust gas cleaning system’ (a sentence that only vaguely makes sense even to our auto-obsessed brains) is an emissions control defeat defeat device under U.S. environmental law.
Audi offers this engine in its A6, A7, A8, Q5 and Q7 model ranges but has extended its stop-sale of the diesel V6 until further notice, a move that also affects the Volkswagen Touareg TDI, and Porsche Cayenne diesel.
Last week, Volkswagen submitted to the U.S. government a recall plan for nearly a half-million cars sold there with the 2.0L four-cylinder TDI engine that was the original focus of the emissions scandal; the details of that plan have not yet been made public.