The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today issued a notice of violation to Fiat Chrysler (FCA) over alleged violations of the Clean Air Act for installing and failing to disclose engine management software that changed the emission results of their vehicles – just like several other automakers over the past year.
While those ‘DieselGate’ scandals are disappointing for the light they shine on what is an unscrupulous corporate culture of cheating, they also clearly show that the best way to reduce emissions from vehicles is electric propulsion and not increasingly more deceivingly efficient diesel engines.
After Volkswagen and Mitsubishi, now the EPA is going after Chrysler over a similar cheat which they claim affect over 100,000 vehicles, including light-duty model year 2014, 2015 and 2016 Jeep Grand Cherokees and Dodge Ram 1500 trucks with 3.0 liter diesel engines sold in the United States.
Cynthia Giles, Assistant Administrator for EPA’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance, commented on the news:
“Failing to disclose software that affects emissions in a vehicle’s engine is a serious violation of the law, which can result in harmful pollution in the air we breathe. We continue to investigate the nature and impact of these devices. All automakers must play by the same rules, and we will continue to hold companies accountable that gain an unfair and illegal competitive advantage.”
FCA didn’t outright deny the claims, but it issued a press release saying that they are “disappointed” by the notice of violation.
The automaker said that they had been working with the agency for months to “explain its emissions control technology”, but apparently that was unfruitful. Chrysler has even proposed software changed to its system – implying that it needed changes:
FCA US has proposed a number of actions to address EPA’s concerns, including developing extensive software changes to our emissions control strategies that could be implemented in these vehicles immediately to further improve emissions performance.
CARB Chair Mary D. Nichols said that Chrysler’s cheat was a “business decision to skirt the rules”:
“Once again, a major automaker made the business decision to skirt the rules and got caught. CARB and U.S. EPA made a commitment to enhanced testing as the Volkswagen case developed, and this is a result of that collaboration.”
Volkswagen’s case clearly showed that the only way to keep reducing emission with diesel engines is to cheat the results and therefore, a new technology needs to be implemented in order to truly reduce vehicle emissions.
The German automaker has since taken a different approach and announced its plan to build 2 to 3 million all-electric cars a year and unveil 30 new models by 2025.
Hopefully, FCA and its CEO Sergio Marchionne, who has been known to make unpopular but frank comments about electric cars, including that electric vehicles are only useful for compliance today and the market is otherwise not important, will have a similar reaction and focus more on electrification.
The automaker recently unveiled a new all-electric and autonomous minivan concept with 250 miles of range and ultra-fast charging.