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Fresh off agreeing to a nearly $15 billion settlement regarding a previous scandal involving trying to get around emissions tests, Volkswagen once again finds itself in the crosshairs of legal action. This time, the scandal involves a different type of emissions test circumvention allegedly committed by engineers with Audi, a VW subsidiary.
The previous VW scandal involved millions of VW and Audi vehicles that were allegedly outfitted with software that would fool emissions test equipment. The equipment was used to test for nitrous oxide emissions, and the vehicles in question would pass that test. However, in reality, those automobiles were emitting nitrous oxide at levels as much as 40 times those allowed by the government.
This time, the contaminant in question is carbon dioxide (CO2). Certain Audi models, according to a German newspaper, are equipped with software that lowers emissions once they are first turned on. When the steering wheel is turned 15 degrees or more, the software turns off the emissions-lowering program. The vehicle then emits much more CO2 exhaust as it goes back into normal operation.
During an emissions test, of course, a vehicle is stationary and there’s no one in the driver’s seat turning the steering wheel. That would make it relatively simple for a car equipped with “cheating” software to pass the test.
There could be hundreds of thousands of these vehicles on the road. The Audi models that were allegedly outfitted with this software include the A6, A8, Q5 and Q7. They all have automatic transmissions, 3.0-liter engines and run on gasoline.
A lot of people purchased these vehicles thinking they would save money on gas while helping the environment at the same time. It’s very possible that their vehicles will not only very likely lose a great deal of their value, owners may eventually face major expenses if their cars need to be modified in order to meet emissions standards.