After the VW Dieselgate scandal, the EPA is now targeting Fiat Chrysler (FCA) for fraudulent devices of more than 100,000 vehicles. The Jeep Grand Cherokee and the Ram 1500 3.0-liter diesel were among the 103,828 vehicles affected. If found guilty, the penalty could be up to $44,539 per vehicle, resulting in a fine of more than $4.6 billion. The official statement by the EPA can be found below, or at official EPA website. The number of affected vehicles is as follows:
- 2014 Dodge Ram 1500 – 14,083 units sold
- 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee – sold 14,652 units
- 2015 Dodge Ram 1500 – 31,948 units sold
- 2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee – 8,421 units sold
- 2016 Dodge Ram 1500 – 32,219 (projected units sold)
- 2016 Jeep Grand Cherokee – 2,469 (projected units sold)
At least eight additional emission control devices (listed below) were not disclosed to the EPA when the FCA certifies the engine, indicating a violation of the Clean Air Act. The engine is said to meet emission standards during normal testing, but software reduces the effectiveness of the emission system at high speeds or when driving for long periods. The eight devices produce the following results:
- AECD #1 (Full EGR Shutdown at Highway Speeds)
- AECD #2 (EGR Reduction with Vehicle Speed Increase)
- AECD #3 (EGR Shutdown for Exhaust Valve Cleaning)
- AECD #4 (DEF Dosing Disablement during SCR Adaptation)
- AECD #5 (EGR Reduction due to Modeled Engine Temperature)
- AECD #6 (SCR Catalyst Heating Deactivation)
- AECD #7 (Alternate SCR Dosing Mode)
- AECD #8 (Use of Load Governor to Delay Ammonia Refill from SCR Catalyst)
The US truck and SUV in question have been on the market since 2014. According to the Vehicles and Fuels Lab in Ann Arbor, Michigan, the model “exposes nitrogen oxides beyond the standard,” due to the application of the device. The EPA said that no immediate action was needed for the owner, as the vehicle is safe and legal for people to drive while investigations into the matter continue.
FCA has issued an official statement:
FCA US is disappointed that the EPA has chosen to issue a violation notice regarding the emission control technology used in the company’s 2014-16 model year light-duty 3.0-liter diesel engine.
FCA US intends to work with the forthcoming administration to present its case and resolve the matter fairly and equitably and to assure EPA and FCA US customers that the company’s diesel powered vehicles meet all applicable regulatory requirements.
US FCA diesel engines are equipped with advanced emission control system hardware, including selective catalytic reduction (SCR). Each automaker must implement various strategies to control exhaust emissions to balance EPA regulatory requirements for low nitrogen oxides (NOx) emissions and requirements for engine durability and performance, safety, and fuel efficiency. FCA US believes that its emission control system meets applicable requirements.
FCA US has spent months providing a wealth of information in response to requests from the EPA and other government authorities and has been trying to explain its emissions control technology to EPA representatives. FCA US has proposed a number of actions to address EPA concerns, including developing extensive software changes to our emissions control strategy that can be immediately implemented in these vehicles to further improve emissions performance.
FCA US looks forward to the opportunity to meet with EPA’s enforcement division and representatives of the new administration to demonstrate that FCA US’s emissions control strategy is properly justified and thus does not constitute a “defeat kit” under applicable regulations and to resolve this issue as soon as possible.
Fiat Chrysler, as well as several of its subsidiaries experienced dramatic share price declines (updated at 12:07 p.m. EST):
We will continue to monitor the situation, and update the story with more information as we get it.
The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today issued infringement notices to Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV and FCA US LLC (collectively FCA) for alleged violations of the Clean Air Act for installing and failing to disclose engine management software in model year light duty Jeep trucks. Grand Cherokees and Dodge Ram 1500 2014, 2015 and 2016 with 3.0 liter diesel engine sold in the United States. The undisclosed software results in increased nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions from vehicles. The charges cover about 104,000 vehicles. The EPA works in coordination with the California Air Resources Board (CARB), which has also issued a violation notice to the FCA. The EPA and CARB have started an investigation based on the FCA’s alleged actions.
“Failing to disclose software that affects emissions in vehicle engines is a serious violation of the law, which can result in harmful pollution of the air we breathe,” said Cynthia Giles, Assistant Administrator of EPA’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance. “We are continuing to investigate the nature and impact of these devices. All automakers must play by the same rules, and we will continue to hold companies that gain an unfair and illegal competitive advantage accountable.”
“Once again, major automakers are making business decisions to circumvent the rules and get caught,” said CARB Chair Mary D. Nichols. “CARB and the US EPA made a commitment to increase testing as the Volkswagen case was developed, and this is the result of that collaboration.”
The Clean Air Act requires vehicle manufacturers to demonstrate to the EPA through a certification process that their products meet applicable federal emission standards for controlling air pollution. As part of the certification process, automakers are required to disclose and explain any software, known as additional emission control devices, that could change the way vehicles emit air pollution. The FCA does not disclose the presence of certain additional emission control devices to the EPA in its application for certificates of conformity for the 2014 2015 and 2016 model year Jeep Grand Cherokees and Dodge Ram 1500 trucks, although it recognizes that such disclosure is mandatory. By failing to disclose this software and subsequently selling the vehicles that contained it, the FCA violated a critical provision of the Clean Air Act.
FCA may be liable for civil penalties and damages for alleged violations under NOV. The EPA is also investigating whether additional emission control devices constitute “defeat devices,” which are illegal.
In September 2015, the EPA instituted an expanded testing program to screen for defeat devices on light duty vehicles. These tests reveal that the FCA vehicle model in question produces increased NOx emissions under conditions one would encounter in normal operation and use. As part of the investigation, the EPA has uncovered at least eight classified software that could change the way vehicles emit air pollution.