Automaker is working with CARB and EPA to find a fix.
U.S. environmental officials have confirmed that no agreement has been reached during the meeting with Volkswagen Group CEO Matthias Mueller regarding fixing nearly 600,000 diesel-powered vehicles that emit up to 40 times the legal amount of pollution. The meeting between Mueller and EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy — which also included Herbert Deiss, head of the Volkswagen brand –happened one day after the California Air Resources Board (CARB) rejected the plan Volkswagen submitted in December, deeming it “inadequate” and too slow, a position the EPA agreed with.
Volkswagen commented that it appreciated the time that McCarthy took to meet with them and that they “will continue to fully cooperate” with environmental officials in the U.S. However, the automaker declined to answer questions regarding the meeting. While no timetable was given for approving the fix, Chris Grundler, head of the EPA’s Office of Transportation and Air Quality, said that the agency wanted a solution as soon as possible.
During his first visit to the U.S. since the diesel emission scandal’s outbreak in September 2015, Mueller has been meeting with government officials in Washington. Volkswagen said that it would present a reworked plan to the EPA during the meeting this past Wednesday and has been in talks with both CARB and the EPA to come up with a solution to repair the vehicles affected by the emissions scandal. Evaluations for fix proposals submitted by the automaker will continue to be evaluated by the EPA and CARB.
U.S. politician Tim Murphy of Pennsylvania who is also the chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee’s investigations subcommittee met with Mueller this past Tuesday and said he urged him to “deliver the documents that he said were tied up by German privacy rules.” Murphy said he wants to find out what happened and isn’t pushing for a heavy fine on Volkswagen.
Tougher emissions standards are the reason why Volkswagen hasn’t found a fix for vehicles affected in North America, and why it began using software to cheat. European officials have already approved the fix proposed by the automaker for the 8.5 million cars affected. These fixes include software updates and added mesh to regulate air flow. Germany was the first to approve the proposal, which included fixing cars using an array of diesel engines including the 2.0-liter unit found in U.S.-spec Volkswagens and Audis.
Requirements in the U.S. go beyond developing an effective repair for the non-compliant four-cylinder engines and require Volkswagen to document any adverse impacts they have on the vehicles and consumers. In addition to the 2.0-liter four-cylinder, Volkswagen also needs to fix 85,000 cars equipped with the 3.0-liter diesel V-6, which includes the Porsche Cayenne, Volkswagen Touareg, and Audi‘s A6, A7, A8, Q5, and Q7 models. Because sophisticated software was involved in creating a defeat device to cheat U.S. emissions regulations, the EPA and CARB must test the fix before it can be rolled out to owners.
Source: Automotive News (Subscription required)