The Environmental Protection Agency has accused Fiat Chrysler installing emissions cheating software in 104,000 vehicles equipped with its 3.0-liter EcoDiesel V6 engine and violating the Clean Air Act.
According to EPA regulators, FCA failed to disclose the presence of software in the vehicles that ensured they would pass government emissions test but later altered engine settings that resulted in more greenhouse gas emission being let into the air.
“The software is designed such that during the emissions tests, Fiat Chrysler’s diesel cars meet the standards that protect clean air,” EPA Assistant Administrator Cynthia Giles told NPR. “However, under some other kinds of operating conditions, including many that occur frequently during normal driving, the software directs the emissions control system to operate differently, resulting in emissions that can be much higher.”
Affected models 2014, 2015 and 2016 model year Jeep Grand Cherokee SUVs and Dodge Ram 1500 trucks with the 3.0-liter EcoDiesel engine. The vehicles were found to revert into a less environmentally friendly mode when driving at high speeds or when driving for extended periods of time, according to the EPA.
Fiat Chrysler released a statement in response to the EPA’s accusations saying it was “disappointed,” in the agency’s decision to issue the notice of violation.
“FCA US intends to work with the incoming administration to present its case and resolve this matter fairly and equitably and to assure the EPA and FCA US customers that the company’s diesel-powered vehicles meet all applicable regulatory requirements,” the automaker said.
“FCA US diesel engines are equipped with state-of-the-art emission control systems hardware, including selective catalytic reduction (SCR). Every auto manufacturer must employ various strategies to control tailpipe emissions in order to balance EPA’s regulatory requirements for low nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions and requirements for engine durability and performance, safety and fuel efficiency. FCA US believes that its emission control systems meet the applicable requirements.”
As of this writing, the EPA is till looking into the matter and affected vehicles remain legal to drive. Owners of affected vehicles are free to drive their cars and aren’t required to take any action at this time.