Fiat Chrysler asks for approval for software updates to diesel vehicles hit with emissions irregularities by Spring 2018
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V. have said they are hoping for approval for their proposed “software updates fix” for 104,000 of their diesel vehicles already on the road with emissions level manipulating software installed.
In May 2017, the U.S. Justice Department sued the car maker for using software that broke U.S. emissions rules in a number of their vehicles. Whilst stopping short at labelling the software to be an illegal so-called “defeat devices” like those found in Volkswagen vehicles, Fiat Chrysler was thought to be using similar technology that ultimately had a very similar effect.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency accused Fiat Chrysler of using “management software” that “increases air pollution”. The automaker vehemently denied using the same devices VW used to cheat emissions testing, and voiced their disappointment in being compared to Volkswagen. However, when software that had a similar impact was found, they simply said that it was an auxiliary device used to protect the engine; claiming there was never an intention to create software to cheat emissions regulations.
The company was given approval from regulators to put their 2017 diesel cars on the market, even though their older cars were still being scrutinised for potentially being fitted with prohibited software. Fiat Chrysler now wants to upgrade their older models with the same technology used in their 2017 models to bring them up-to-speed with emissions regulations.
The carmaker asserted that the engine and emissions control software updates for the older vehicles would be “identical” to the ones used in their 2017 models.
The knock-on effect of the Volkswagen Emissions Scandal
All of this stems from the Volkswagen emissions scandal where the giant car corporation admitted to the use of programmed software that amounted to a so-called “defeat device”. The software allowed the vehicle to identify when it was subject to testing conditions so it could reduce the amount of NOx being produced, but outside testing parameters – i.e. on the roads – the real amount of NOx emissions being polluted was higher.
This essentially allowed vehicles to pass emissions testing while polluting way more emissions that went beyond the legal limits. The atrocity that shook the motor industry prompted authorities to probe other car-makers, and a number of potential other culprits were identified.
More to come?
We said from the start of all this that we wouldn’t be surprised if other car-makers were found to have been employing similar tactics to those used by VW.
Daimler – the parent company of luxury car manufacturer Mercedes-Benz – remains under investigation. They have not been charged by authorities but they have withdrawn a request for approval of 2017 model cars in the U.S.
If Fiat Chrysler’s proposed “fixes” are anything like Volkswagen’s, there may be a huge cause for concern as to the overall impact on the vehicle.
A number of Volkswagen customers who have had the “fix” applied have seen adverse impacts to their vehicle performance. The most common problems are the EGR valves and DPF filters suffering issues. In some cases, owners have experienced loss of power; an extremely dangerous occurrence when driving at 70mph on a busy motorway!
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