2015 Audi RS 5 Coupe Sport
Just when it looked like the Volkswagen Group was getting a grip on its diesel emissions cheating scandal that erupted in September 2015, a report has come out claiming the automaker has cars with a different type of “defeat device” used to hide emissions from regulators.
Germany’s Bild am Sonntag (via Reuters) on Sunday reported that the California Air Resources Board (CARB) discovered software in an automatic transmission used by Audi to hide emissions, this time in both gasoline and diesel cars.
According to the report, the software could determine whether a car was on a laboratory testbed based on how much the steering wheel was being turned and lower its carbon dioxide emissions to suit.
In a nutshell, the transmission enters a gear-shifting mode designed to deliver low CO2 whenever the car is started. The transmission only switches to a regular mode with higher CO2 levels if the steering wheel is turned more than 15 degrees, such as in regular driving. It’s only on a laboratory’s testbed where a car drives with zero inputs to the steering.
The Bild am Sonntag report claimed Audi stopped using the transmission-liked defeat device in May 2016 and that CARB found it in a vehicle built prior to this date.
The discovery, which was reportedly made in the summer, may explain why the Justice Department has told the VW Group to refrain from making public the results of law firm Jones Day’s independent investigation into the original diesel emissions cheating scandal at the automaker. The request by the Justice Department was said to be due to the desire to keep confidential details linked to other probes.
The VW Group is also yet to reach an agreement with regulators back in the United States over the 3.0-liter diesel engines with the original defeat device.