In the wake of VW’s Dieselgate scandal, the EPA is now targeting Fiat Chrysler (FCA) for cheat devices is more than 100,000 vehicles. The Jeep Grand Cherokee and Ram 1500 3.0-liter diesel are part of the 103,828 vehicles affected. If found guilty, penalties could be as high as $44,539 per vehicle, which works out to just over $4.6 billion in fines. An official statement by the EPA can be found below, or on the official EPA website. The total number of vehicles affected are as follows:

  • 2014 Dodge Ram 1500 - 14,083 units sold
  • 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee - 14,652 units sold
  • 2015 Dodge Ram 1500 - 31,948 units sold
  • 2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee - 8,421 units sold
  • 2016 Dodge Ram 1500 - 32,219 (projected units sold)
  • 2016 Jeep Grand Cherokee - 2,469 (projected units sold)

At least eight auxiliary emissions control devices (listed below) were not disclosed to the EPA when FCA certified the engines, suggesting violations of the Clean Air Act. The engines are said to meet emissions standards during normal testing, but software reduces the emissions system's effectiveness at high speeds or when driving for extended periods. The eight devices produce results as follows:

  • AECD #1 (Full EGR Shut-Off at Highway Speed)
  • AECD #2 (Reduced EGR with Increasing Vehicle Speed)
  • AECD #3 (EGR Shut-off for Exhaust Valve Cleaning)
  • AECD #4 (DEF Dosing Disablement during SCR Adaptation)
  • AECD #5 (EGR Reduction due to Modeled Engine Temperature)
  • AECD #6 (SCR Catalyst Warm-Up Disablement)
  • AECD #7 (Alternative SCR Dosing Modes)
  • AECD #8 (Use of Load Governor to Delay Ammonia Refill of SCR Catalyst)

The U.S. trucks and SUVs in question have been on the market since 2014. According to the Vehicle and Fuels Lab in Ann Arbor, Michigan, the models "emit nitrogen oxide in excess of the standard," due to implementation of the devices. The EPA says that there is no immediate action needed for owners, as the vehicles are safe and legal for people to drive while the investigation into the matter continues.

FCA has issued an official statement:

FCA US is disappointed that the EPA has chosen to issue a notice of violation with respect to the emissions control technology employed in the company’s 2014-16 model year light duty 3.0-liter diesel engines.

FCA US intends to work with the incoming administration to present its case and resolve this matter fairly and equitably and to assure the EPA and FCA US customers that the company’s diesel-powered vehicles meet all applicable regulatory requirements.

FCA US diesel engines are equipped with state-of-the-art emission control systems hardware, including selective catalytic reduction (SCR).  Every auto manufacturer must employ various strategies to control tailpipe emissions in order to balance EPA’s regulatory requirements for low nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions and requirements for engine durability and performance, safety and fuel efficiency. FCA US believes that its emission control systems meet the applicable requirements.

FCA US has spent months providing voluminous information in response to requests from EPA  and other governmental authorities and has sought to explain its emissions control technology to EPA representatives.  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.

FCA US looks forward to the opportunity to meet with the EPA’s enforcement division and representatives of the new administration to demonstrate that FCA US’s emissions control strategies are properly justified and thus are not “defeat devices” under applicable regulations and to resolve this matter expeditiously.

Fiat Chrysler, as well as some of its owned subsidiaries are seeing stock prices drop dramatically (updated at 12:07 PM EST):

We will continue to monitor the situation, and update the story with more information as we get it.

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The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today issued a notice of violation to Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V. and FCA US LLC (collectively FCA) for alleged violations of the Clean Air Act for installing and failing to disclose engine management software in 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. The undisclosed software results in increased emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOx) from the vehicles. The allegations cover roughly 104,000 vehicles. EPA is working in coordination with the California Air Resources Board (CARB), which has also issued a notice of violation to FCA. EPA and CARB have both initiated investigations based on FCA’s alleged actions.

“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,” said Cynthia Giles, Assistant Administrator for EPA’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance. “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.”

“Once again, a major automaker made the business decision to skirt the rules and got caught,” said CARB Chair Mary D. Nichols. “CARB and U.S. EPA made a commitment to enhanced testing as the Volkswagen case developed, and this is a result of that collaboration.”

The Clean Air Act requires vehicle manufacturers to demonstrate to EPA through a certification process that their products meet applicable federal emission standards to control air pollution. As part of the certification process, automakers are required to disclose and explain any software, known as auxiliary emission control devices, that can alter how a vehicle emits air pollution. FCA did not disclose the existence of certain auxiliary emission control devices to EPA in its applications for certificates of conformity for model year 2014, 2015 and 2016 Jeep Grand Cherokees and Dodge Ram 1500 trucks, despite being aware that such a disclosure was mandatory. By failing to disclose this software and then selling vehicles that contained it, FCA violated important provisions of the Clean Air Act. 

FCA may be liable for civil penalties and injunctive relief for the violations alleged in the NOV. EPA is also investigating whether the auxiliary emission control devices constitute “defeat devices,” which are illegal.

In September 2015, EPA instituted an expanded testing program to screen for defeat devices on light duty vehicles. This testing revealed that the FCA vehicle models in question produce increased NOx emissions under conditions that would be encountered in normal operation and use. As part of the investigation, EPA has found at least eight undisclosed pieces of software that can alter how a vehicle emits air pollution.

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