VW Busted by the EPA for Using ‘Defeat Devices’ to Manipulate Emissions Output

Volkswagen has been caught manipulating the emissions output of its diesel engines during lab testing.

The EPA says the “defeat device” is sophisticated software on VW cars that detects when the car is going through official emissions testing. When the software recognizes an official test is underway, it turns on full emissions controls to make it appear the emission standards are within the rules. Once the official tests are completed, the emission controls are decreased during normal driving.

The EPA estimates 482,000 diesel passenger cars are violating the Clean Air Act, an offense that can carry a penalty of $37,500 per vehicle. Holy $$$.

The offending cars were sold in the USA starting in 2008 and include:

  • 2009–2015 VW Jetta
  • 2009–2015 VW Beetle
  • 2009–2015 Audi A3
  • 2009–2015 VW Golf
  • 2014–2015 VW Passat

The government has temporarily blocked VW from selling any 2016 diesel inventory, and the automaker should expect a wave of fines and consumer blowback. This is going to get interesting.