Audi Volkswagen Korea, which has recently resumed business operations after one and a half years of store shutdown, was involved in an allegation over the illegal manipulation of exhaust gas emissions once again. It is expected that the company can hardly avoid a criticism from consumers that the German automaker resumed sale activities without even resolving the previous case because the allegation is a separate issue from vehicles recalled in connection with the so-called “Diesel-gate”in the second half of 2015.
The Korean Ministry of Environment announced on April 3 that the ministry tested 3000cc diesel passenger cars imported and sold by Audi Volkswagen Korea and Porsche Korea from August 2017 to March 2018 and found that 13,000 cars of 14 models including the Audi A7 were loaded with an illegal device (software) that lowers the function of a nitrogen oxide reduction device. The Audi Volkswagen car caught for rigging gas emissions by the Ministry of Environment in November 2015 is a 2000cc diesel passenger car. Then the ministry found rigging devices in 125,000 units of 15 models including the Volkswagen Tiguan, Audi A4 and Q3.
The software caught in this test is related to two things -- dual gearbox control and the degradation of exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) function in actual operating conditions. The dual transmission control software recognizes situations as actual operating conditions when the steering wheel’s rotation angle becomes large, and controls the operation rates of the transmission and the EGR device differently from an authentication test mode. To mention an instance, in an experiment in a laboratory, a test is carried out without the operation of the steering wheel so that the EGR device operates. However, in actual driving, the EGR device does not operate when the steering wheel turns. The amount of exhaust gas emissions from actual road driving was 11.7 times the indoor certification standard (0.18g/km). The target models are three models (the Audi A7 3.0L, A8 3.0L and A8 4.2L), all of which were sold between August 2012 and June 2014 and passed the European Euro 5 environmental standards.
The EGR system degradation software increases the utilization rate of the EGR system under certified experimental conditions and then constantly keeps on lowering the utilization rate. That is to say, the software operates the system for about 1.100 seconds only according to the certification and stops the system. When actually driving on roads, the test car emit more exhaust gas than the certification standard after about 1,100 seconds. The target models are 11 models, including the Audi A6, A7, A8, Q5, SQ5, Volkswagen Touareg and Porsche Cayenne imported from June 2014 to February 2017. All of these cars passed the European Euro 6 environmental standard.
The vehicles that the Korean Ministry of Environment caught are the cars that the German government already ordered the automaker to step selling and recall last year on charges of applying gas emissions rigging software. The Korean Ministry of Environment conducted its own investigation of the models in accordance with the administrative order of the German government and produced the same result this time.