WASHINGTON -- The EPA said at least 85,000 vehicles from Audi, Volkswagen and Porsche with 3.0-liter diesel V-6 engines contain software allegedly designed to foil emissions tests, substantially widening the number of vehicles believed to be affected by the issue.
According to an EPA statement today, Volkswagen and Audi officials told the EPA on Thursday that the 3.0-liter diesel software that the agency says improperly manipulates emissions test values was present on all vehicles powered by the VW group’s 3.0-liter diesel V-6 engine since the 2009 model year.
The EPA and the California Air Resources Board “will continue to investigate and will take all appropriate action,” the federal agency said in its statement.
Previously, the EPA said the software was found on 2014-16 models with the Audi-developed 3.0-liter diesel, including SUVs from all three brands and larger sedans from Audi.
The EPA made its initial allegations on the 3.0-liter engines on Nov. 2.
An EPA spokeswoman said the additional model years covered 75,000 vehicles sold in the U.S. market, in addition to the roughly 10,000 units from the 2014-16 model years that were identified on Nov. 2. An unknown number of 2016 models with the 3.0-liter diesel also contain the software.
Audi, VW and Porsche halted sales of new models powered by the 3.0-liter diesels earlier this month in response to the EPA allegations.
Audi of America communications chief Jeri Ward confirmed that the EPA was informed that the software was used on all 3.0-liter diesels since the 2009 model year.
For Audi, the expansion affects only the 2009-12 Q7 SUV, Ward said, noting that the suspect device in the 3.0-liter diesels is different from the illegal software Volkswagen AG has admitted to installing on its 2.0-liter diesels in the U.S. market.
The EPA’s initial action on the 3.0-liters cited the 2014 VW Touareg, 2016 Audi A6 Quattro, A7 Quattro, A8, A8L, Q5, as well as the 2015 Porsche Cayenne powered by the automaker’s 3.0-liter diesel engine.
Ward said that in the meeting Thursday, Audi officials acknowledged to EPA and CARB personnel that the automaker failed to properly disclose the software at issue to the agency in its emissions certification applications.
The software recognizes when vehicles are undergoing a U.S. emissions test and in turn activate a “temperature conditioning” mode that turns on pollution-control equipment, limiting nitrogen oxide emissions to permissible levels, according to the EPA.
In real-world driving, the controls are inactive, making the vehicles pollute far more than they were certified to be, according to the EPA.
Ward said the software complies with European emissions law, yet was not disclosed to the EPA, which considers such software to be a defeat device.
“We are fully cooperating with the environmental authorities and working on concrete measures that will resolve this situation,” Ward said. “We’ll need some software changes in the future that will ultimately resolve this and there are more discussions that will be needed with the agencies.”