CARB announces partial Consent Decree for Audi, Volkswagen and Porsche 3-liter diesel vehicles
SAN FRANCISCO - California Air Resources Board (CARB) Executive Officer Richard Corey and the California Department of Justice today announced a partial consent decree for violations of the Clean Air Act caused by a “defeat device” in 3-liter diesel passenger cars sold by Volkswagen, Audi and Porsche. The model years affected are 2009 through 2016. The Partial Consent Decree was negotiated with the automakers by CARB, the U.S Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA), the California Attorney General’s Office, and the U.S. Department of Justice (U.S. DOJ).
A defeat device is an undisclosed Auxiliary Emissions Control Device (AECD) that reduces the effectiveness of the emission control system. Not disclosing the presence of such a device is a violation of California and federal vehicle certification requirements.
In this case, as in Volkswagen’s smaller 2-liter diesel vehicles, the defeat device was specifically designed to turn on certain emission control systems and strategies only when a vehicle was undergoing vehicle certification testing, and then turn them off when actually driven on the road. This resulted in additional emissions of nitrogen oxides above the California and federal certification limits.
As with the 2-liter case, it was CARB engineers who discovered some of these inconsistencies through diligent emissions testing and investigation.
"This settlement highlights the fact that cheating to get a car certified has consequences for air quality and the public’s health -- and that cheaters will be caught and held accountable,” said CARB Executive Officer Richard Corey. “Because California is able to enforce its vehicle regulations, CARB was instrumental in uncovering the cheating in the 3-liter, and before that, in the 2-liter, diesel engines. The mitigation in this settlement will now help California address its serious air quality and climate challenges with a focus on putting the very cleanest vehicles in disadvantaged communities where they are needed most.
To mitigate environmental harm from their actions, the companies must pay $225 million into a national mitigation fund. California will receive about $41 million of that money for mitigation programs in the state designed to address the additional NOx emissions released by the vehicles in question. This is in addition to $1.2 billion VW is already paying California for mitigation and zero-emission vehicle (ZEV) infrastructure as part of the 2-liter partial consent decree. There will be a public process to take input on what should be done with the money for mitigation including workshops, and public hearings.
Under the terms of the related separate California Consent Decree announced today and containing additional environmental relief for California, the companies also will be required to add a second “Green City” in California in addition to the one required under the ZEV Commitment in the previous Partial Consent Decree involving 2-liter diesel vehicles. The second Green City, which must have a population of at least 500,000 with many living primarily in disadvantaged communities, will receive concentrated investment in ZEV programs like car sharing, ZEV transit or freight services and infrastructure and public awareness efforts to support those programs.
This case affects almost 15,000 vehicles in California and about 83,000 nationally. The engines were built by Audi and used in all models manufactured by the three companies. Under the terms of the consent decree, the automakers are working on an emissions modification to bring some of these vehicles into compliance with federal and California emissions standards.
Any modification must be approved by both CARB and U.S. EPA. As with the 2-liter vehicles, there are several generations of engines utilizing different emissions control technologies. Some generations may be suitable for an emissions compliant modification, while others cannot be made emissions compliant. The automakers will offer to buy back or cancel leases on vehicles which cannot be modified. In addition, Volkswagen may propose a modification (to be approved by CARB and U.S. EPA) that reduces emissions for the remaining vehicles (though not to the levels to which they were originally certified).
The newer vehicles appear to be likely candidates for a successful emissions compliant modification. However, no modification has been approved, and if the manufacturers cannot provide one, these vehicles will become eligible for buyback or lease cancellation, as well. For more information about options for owners and those who have leases on these cars, see www.vwcourtsettlement.com
The separate California Consent Decree also requires the manufacturers to pay CARB $25 million dollars by July 1, 2017, to support efforts to make zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs) available to more Californians. This money will likely be used to expand programs such as replace-and-upgrade programs for high-emitting cars in disadvantaged communities (EFMP Plus-up) and the Clean Vehicle Rebate Project (CVRP), which provide rebates and financial assistance for purchase of ZEVs.
Also under the separate California Consent Decree, the manufacturers will provide at least three new models of electric vehicles for sale in California -- including at least one SUV model -- before 2019. The companies must add a second electric SUV model by 2020 and keep these electric models on the market through at least 2025. ZEV credits generated by placement of these vehicles in California cannot be sold on the ZEV credit market.
The consent decrees that document the settlement are subject to approval by the court following a public comment period on the national version.
What vehicles are affected
|2009||VW Touareg, Audi Q7|
|2010||VW Touareg, Audi Q7|
|2011||VW Touareg, Audi Q7|
|2012||VW Touareg, Audi Q7|
|2013||VW Touareg, Audi Q7, Porsche Cayenne Diesel|
|2014||VW Touareg, Audi Q7, Porsche Cayenne Diesel|
|2014||Audi A6, A7, A8, A8L, Q5|
|2015||Audi Q7, Audi A6, A7, A8, A8L, Q5|
|2015||VW Touareg, Porsche Cayenne Diesel|
|2016||VW Touareg, Porsche Cayenne Diesel, Audi A6, A7, A8, A8L, Q5|
You can view the national Partial Consent Decree here: https://www.epa.gov/vw/announcements-volkswagen-violations
The California-specific version is here: https://www.arb.ca.gov/msprog/vw_info/second-ca-cd-threeliter.pdf