2014 Audi A7 TDIEnlarge Photo
Sometimes there's no substitute for having a reporter right at a press event--with a smartphone.
David Shepardson, D.C. bureau chief for The Detroit News, attended a press conference held by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today.
At that event, the EPA revealed that some 3.0-liter V-6 TDI diesel engines used by Audi, Porsche, and Volkswagen also contain "defeat device" software that bypasses emission controls when the car is used on the road.
The vehicles affected are the 2014 Volkswagen Touareg TDI, the 2015 Porsche Cayenne Diesel, and five 2016 Audi models: The A6, A8, and A8L TDI sedans; the A7 TDI hatchback; and the Q5 TDI sport utility vehicle.
About 10,000 diesel luxury vehicles from the 2014 through 2016 model years are affected, according to the EPA and the California Air Resources Board, which also took part in the announcement.
The EPA said it had evidence that the affected vehicles used the software to evade emission limits, emitting up to nine times the legally permissible amount of certain pollutants--presumably nitrogen oxides, or NOx.
2015 Porsche Cayenne DieselEnlarge Photo
The full EPA "Notice of Violation" can be read here.
Unsold 2015 and 2016 vehicles will likely be subject to an immediate stop-sale order, meaning that dealerships will have to take both new and used models off sale until a fix can be developed, tested, approved, and installed--a process that could take many months.
Additional fines--beyond those due for the 482,000 diesel vehicles with the 2.0-liter TDI diesel engine that was identified six weeks ago--could total as much as $375 million.
The EPA said at the event that it was continuing to test all diesel passenger vehicles on sale in the U.S., but that to date, it had no evidence that any carmaker outside the Volkswagen Group used such defeat software.
The agency did not confirm a stop-sale order, though it said that if the vehicles were found to have violated the Clean Air Act, that would be required.
It confirmed that it was in talks with Volkswagen, but did not provide details. Nor would it say if any VW Group diesel vehicles that it had tested had passed their emissions tests successfully.
2014 Volkswagen Touareg TDIEnlarge Photo
The agency "declined to answer nearly all questions today," Shepardson tweeted.
The first version of Shepardson's story (linked above) up and live within 41 minutes of his first tweet.