As the executives at Volkswagen continue to try to sort through the aftermath of their emissions-cheating software scandal, new developments have cropped up that may derail any headway they thought they’d made. While the fines, penalties, and costs for overhauling over 11 million vehicles that have the software and the illegal emissions-producing engines are nearly insurmountable on their own, new models of cars that previously weren’t included in the investigation have now been found to include the software.
There’s an interesting twists to the new discovery:
First, it’s not that new. The discovery itself was made sometime over the summer, but had to be thoroughly tested and confirmed before the California Air Resources Board (CARB) could announce their findings.
Second, it actually affects older Audi gas and diesel vehicles rather than newer diesel models.
Finally, this seems a lot like a precursor to the software that was discovered in the last year. The current scandal stemmed from software that could detect when it was being “scanned” for emissions and ultimately switch to a lower emission mode. The older Audis’ cheating setup actually involves the transmission, which switches to a reduced emissions mode if the steering wheel is held straight for a predetermined amount of time, as in, how it would be held in a lab test. If the wheel is turned more than fifteen degrees, it then switches out of safer mode and into a less efficient, more harmful mode.
The software is reportedly installed on hundreds of thousands of vehicles, and was only pulled from installation in May of this year. According to reports, Audi has already suspended a number of engineers over this new finding, largely because the time to bring it up might have been when they were tallying the number of vehicles they would have to pay for.