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VW submits diesel fix proposal

Breather easier: Volkswagen has taken the first step to remedy its emissions-contravening engines, with the official plan of attack now submitted in California.

Californian authorities receive recall plan for Volkswagen 2.0-litre diesel engines

25 Nov 2015

VOLKSWAGEN has lodged a proposal with the Californian Air Resources Board (CARB), outlining how it intends to reverse the defeat device software on its 2.0-litre diesel engines.

In consultation with Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), CARB has 20 business days to review the submission and decide if the measures are sufficient to remedy the thousands of non-compliant diesel VWs and Audis on United States roads.

The short press release from CARB does not disclose details of Volkswagen's proposed plan, but explains the elements that an official plan must contain, including projected timeline for completion, customer communication strategy and progress review plan.

In addition to fixing the prevailing problem of excessive emissions, CARB says the solution must not detrimentally affect other key features of the vehicle related to the engine.

“The remedy proposed in the recall must not only fix the violation in question, it must also address the safety, drivability, vehicle durability and fuel efficiency of the cars involved," it said.

Volkswagen has previously stated that a solution would be software-based in most cases, but would require hardware – most likely an ECU swap – in others, but it is possible that reducing the emissions could also slash performance and fuel economy in the process.

At this stage, the CARB submission covers only the 2.0-litre four-cylinder engines that initiated the scandal, and Volkswagen is yet to formulate a plan of action regarding the 3.0-litre V6 diesels that have recently been dragged into the unfolding picture.

If the strategy is approved by CARB, Californian residents who own affected 2.0-litre vehicles can expect to be contacted by Volkswagen with details of how the problem can be corrected.

The proposal also includes a list of all affected vehicles, how the vehicles will be altered to conform, how VW will identify impacted customers, what the customer needs to do and a description of how VW will guarantee the necessary parts and resources for the fix.

If standard performance, safety and/or economy is affected in any way, the proposal is also required to outline details, as well as the new emissions levels after amendment of software.

After correction, vehicles will have a label indicating it complies with local air-quality regulations.

When rectification recalls start, Volkswagen will be required to report on the progress of the plan for six consecutive quarters (18 months).

In a new twist, the German car-maker might be dealt another blow, this time regarding tax evasion in the company's native country.

German motorists are charged motor vehicle tax according to the environmental impact of their vehicles and, if certain VW models have been exceeding stated emissions levels, a higher tax rate may have applied.

If the charges stick, it is not known who will pick up the bill, but as German law states a company cannot be held liable, prosecutors will have to investigate individual Volkswagen employees.

According to US publication The Wall Street Journal, the prosecutors office in Braunschweig ,Germany, is investigating five Volkswagen employees following an admission by the company that it mislead authorities regarding emissions.

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