The United States Environmental Protection Agency, whose NOx emission test was bypassed by the software installed in VW’s EA189 engines, has sent an open letter to vehicle manufacturers today. In principle the purpose of the correspondence is to advise car makers that the vehicles they send in for testing are likely to be returned with higher mileages than normal - but the letter also sends the clear message that the EPA is now determined to make it more difficult for any maker to use software and different vehicle modes to pass the testing procedure.
The letter reads, “The EPA may test or require testing on any vehicle at a designed location, using driving cycles and conditions that may reasonably be expected to be encountered in normal operation and use, for the purposes of investigating a potential defeat device.”
It adds, “Such testing can be expected in addition to the standard emissions test cycles when Emissions Data Vehicles and Fuel Economy Date Vehicles are tested by EPA. Manufacturers should expect that this additional testing may add time to the confirmatory test process and that additional mileage may be accumulated on the EDVs and FEDVs.”
Manufacturers are unlikely to put up any resistance to the additional mileage - although there may be concerns about the extra time taken to approve vehicles’ fuel economy figures, and whether that could delay potential launches and model roll-outs, particularly as the EPA gets up to speed on the new real-world test elements.
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