Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV is at odds with U.S. government officials this week over the company’s [non]compliance with federal fuel emissions regulations set on roughly 104,000 diesel-powered SUVs and pickup trucks.
Indeed, the US Environmental Protection Agency issued, on Thursday, a “notice of violation” which accused the automaker of failing to disclose the use of some software that the EPA says could be quite similar to the “defeat devices” Volkswagen AG was found to be using, devices that could cheat emissions tsesting on several million diesel cars.
Fiat Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne vehemently denied the accuracy of these accusations, commenting that drawing such a comparison is “absolute nonsense.”
He more thoroughly states: “There is nothing in common between the VW reality and what we are describing here. The dispute that is going on now between the EPA and the FCA is whether the calibration that was filed (during testing to certify emission requirements) was a calibration that met all regulations.”
At the center of this dispute is the accusation that the company used something called auxiliary emission control devices (AECDs), machines which automakers that can deactivate a vehicle’s emission control system, legally, in certain conditions. Furthermore, he attests that the company’s vehicles are in full compliance with all regulations, though Marchionne did not necessarily deny that some software the company uses may not have been disclosed to regulators.
He continues, “Anything which is undisclosed by definition is a defeat device, and if I use that standard, that would encompass our case and a gazillion other cases where so-called undisclosed AECDs have been established. There are defeat devices that are designed to defeat the test cycle. Those are two different things. And this software doesn’t look for anything. It just runs. All the time.”
Dan Carder is a director at West Virginia University’s vehicle emission program. He recently explained that a diesel engine produces 20 times more nitrogen oxides on the road than when idling; and a Jeep Grand Cherokee can produce up to five times more.
He notes, then, “It suggests different emission control versus what’s in the laboratory [and] when you get to five times that’s kind of eye raising.”