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Porsche Accused of Cheating on Emission Tests

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【Summary】German transport authority KBA (Federal Motor Transport Authority) announced last week that it was investigating luxury automakers Porsche and Audi about emission tests cheating.

Original Claire    Jun 05, 2017 1:49 PM PT
Porsche Accused of Cheating on Emission Tests

German transport authority KBA (Federal Motor Transport Authority) announced last week that it was investigating luxury automakers Porsche and Audi about emission tests cheating.

According to German economic publication Wirtschaftswoche, the probe will be focusing on a system which uses steering inputs to determine whether or not the car is being tested. Currently, Audi has recalled 24,000 vehicles, however Porsche denies any wrongdoing in regards to this matter.

"We can confirm for all Porsche models: We are not using steering movements for the sake of detecting a test bench driving cycle and reacting to it," Porsche said by email.

Last Thursday, The German Transport Ministry accused Audi of using illegal software on some A7 and A8 models. The vehicles will emit extra nitrogen oxide only when the steering wheel is turned more than 15 degrees, according to the ministry.

During normal vehicle emission testing, a vehicle's brakes are locked and the steering wheel straightened while the vehicle's wheels are rolled on the dynamometer to simulate driving at highway speeds to test the emissions. The KBA points out that if the affected cars measured a steering input of 15 degrees or more, they would emit excessive nitrogen oxide emissions, but when on the testing bed the emissions will be much lower as the the steering wheel has been blocked of changing angles. The nitrogen oxide emissions are different from Volkswagen diesel CO2 emissions and exceeded Europe's strict standards. Nitrogen oxides are also bad for humans. However, whether it has any impact on cars in the US is still unknown.

Both Audi and Porsche are divisions of Volkswagen. The German carmaker has already gained a bad reputation from emission test cheating discovered in 2015. The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) had found in September 2015 that Volkswagen had intentionally programmed turbocharged direct injection (TDI) diesel engines to activate certain emissions controls only during lab emission testing.

The programming was deployed in 11 million vehicles globally and 500,000 in the US, with models affected ranging from 2009 to 2015. After admitting to the emissions cheating Volkswagen announced plans to spend $7.3 billion on correcting the emission issues, and was ordered to pay a fine of $2.8 billion for "rigging diesel-powered vehicles to cheat on government emission tests" by a US federal judge in April this year.

If this new investigation turns out to be true, it will surely add one more blow to Volkswagen's already tarnished reputation.

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