Repercussions from Volkswagen’s recently discovered “clean diesel” emissions scam continued today with an announcement by the California Air Resources Board (ARB) that it plans to conduct special new testing for light-duty diesel vehicles from all brands, not just Volkswagen.
ARB sent a letter to every vehicle manufacturer to inform them that the agency will begin using enhanced testing procedures on such vehicles to ensure they are in compliance with previously certified emission levels. The new testing is a direct result of the recently discovered scandal in which Volkswagen admitted installing “defeat devices” on several models of its cars. The devices were installed for several years in certain VW and Audi diesel engine equipped cars.
The devices were designed to turn off emission control systems unless the vehicles were undergoing an emissions test. As a result, vehicles so equipped emitted up to 40 times as much nitrogen oxides (NOx) than was allowed. NOx emissions combine with volatile organic compounds (VOC) to form photochemical smog, a pollutant of much concern to Bakersfield and other California residents who live in polluted areas.
In the letter, the manufacturers were told that they will have to supply the test vehicles and pay for the testing, including any additional testing that may be required afterwards.
Additionally, ARB said that it was working with Volkswagen and EPA to evaluate potential recall solutions for its non-compliant vehicles to ensure that emission levels in real-world driving are corrected back to or close to expected levels. The recall actions will also be looked at to determine if there are any adverse impacts on the consumers of the vehicles.
As work progresses toward final solutions, the public will be notified through the media and by formal recall notices from Volkswagen.
The scandal so far has resulted in the resignation of VW’s CEO Martin Winterkorn on Wednesday, with more heads anticipated to fall as the investigation into just who authorized and approved what continues. In announcing his resignation, Winterkorn said, “I am doing this in the interests of the company even though I am not aware of any wrongdoing on my part.”
Additionally, Volkswagen Group of America President and CEO Michael Horn said yesterday that the company, “… would like to offer our deepest apologies to those affected by our violation of CARB and EPA emissions standards. We will remedy the issue, and we will make things right in order to win back the trust of you, our customers, our dealers, the government, the public, and our employees. We kindly ask for your patience as we work very hard to address this complex issue, and we will share more information as soon as we can.”