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Monday, 21 September 2015

USA: 'Defeat device' recall ordered

On 18 September, the Environmental Protection Agency ordered the recall of 482,000 diesel-powered vehicles (five different models) sold over the past five years in the USA. The EPA's statement, with a link to more information on the Notice of Violation, is here). It alleges that they contain software to detect when the vehicle was being subjected to an emissions test. This so-called 'defeat device' software is said to switch on emissions controls, which would remain inactive in normal use allowing NO2 emissions up to 40 times the permitted level.
Reports (such as the Financial Times's) say that campaign groups have long suspected that defeat devices were being used, but only now has the California Air Resources Board (CARB) detected the volation. It declined to say how it had done so.
In Europe, the testing regime is considered to be outdated and reform is taking place. In the UK, the Committee on Climate Change reported this month that average on-the-road emissions in Europe were about 35 per cent higher than the lab results advertised by manufacturers.
VW, which was said to have been given an ultimatum - explain yourself, or lose EPA certification for all your 2016 diesel models - have apologised and ordered an external investigation (Financial Times).

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