Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) filed an emissions cheating case against Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) this week. What are the details surrounding the allegations?
Here is EPA’s notification of violation. The allegation singles out the following vehicles: 2014-2016 Ram 1500s and 2014-2016 Jeep Grand Cherokees that are equipped with the 3.0L EcoDiesel V6 engine. The EPA notification states “alleged violations of the Clean Air Act for installing and failing to disclose engine management software. The undisclosed software results in increased emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOx) from the vehicles. The allegations cover roughly 104,000 vehicles.”
Many states (including Colorado) test diesel vehicles for particulates emissions (aka. amount of black smoke), but most states do not require NOx testing and do not test diesel vehicle for nitrogen oxides emissions. Still, NOx emissions are considered harmful and this is tested by the EPA and the California Air Resources Board (CARB).
EPA used additional testing procedures that agency established after the Volkswagen emissions case on Sep 25th, 2015. EPA says that FCA failed to disclose the following Auxiliary Emissions Control Devices (AECD).
- Full EGR Shut-Off at Highway Speed
- Reduced EGR with Increasing Vehicle Speed
- EGR Shut-off for Exhaust Valve Cleaning
- DEF Dosing disablement during SCR Adaptation
- EGR Reduction due to Modeled Engine Temperature
- SCR Catalyst Warm-up Disablement
- Alternative SCR Dosing Modes
- Use of Load Governor to Delay Ammonia Refill of SCR Catalyst
What do all of these acronyms mean? EGR is Exhaust Gas Recirculation. DEF is Diesel Exhaust Fluid. SCR is Selective Catalytic Reduction. All these systems work together to reduce harmful emissions.
EPA claims that a combination of these AECDs cause the diesel-powered Ram 1500 and Jeep Grand Cherokee to behave differently during the standard EPA compliance testing procedures, than during real world operation. Hence, the need for additional testing that EPA performed.
We tested a 2015 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel on our extreme Ike Gauntlet towing test at high elevation and steep grades. Our testing does not include emissions testing.
And here is the Jeep Grand Cherokee on the same Ike Gauntlet run.