Fiat defends accusations of emissions cheat device

Fiat 500X

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ chief technical officer denies claims by German regulators that the 500X used software to circumvent emissions tests

A senior executive at Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) has denied accusations that the company employed a cheat device to circumvent emissions tests.

Harald Wester, FCA’s chief technical officer, defended the firm against claims from German authorities that a diesel Fiat 500X used unauthorised software during emissions testing. The Federal Motor Transport Authority made the accusation in May, saying the car’s engine management software switched off its exhaust treatment systems after 22 minutes, thus allowing it to pass Germany’s standard type approval test, which takes around 20 minutes to complete.

At a meeting of a European Parliament inquiry committee into emission measurements in the car industry, known as EMIS, Wester said he could not comment on the details as the matter is subject to mediation and litigation, but added: “The 500X meets the relevant Euro 6 limit in the regulatory NEDC test and does not detect that it is being tested.

“Contrary to allegations, 500X does not deactivate its emission control system…but uses control strategies which modulate the emissions control system solely to protect the integrity of the engine and the safety of the vehicle occupants in accordance with applicable regulations.”

However, EMIS members asked for more details and challenged Wester on technical and legal definitions around his justification of such a modulation system.

Wester was also questioned about French tests that showed emissions up to 15 times greater than those claimed. He said he would need more data about test conditions to explain this.

The parliamentary enquiry was set up in the wake of the Volkswagen dieselgate scandal and has been hearing from academic institutes, trade associations and non-governmental organisations since March.

Italian authorities have backed FCA against the German accusations and the European Commission is mediating between them. According to German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung, the German government is sticking to its guns. The German transport minister, Alexander Dobrindt, wrote to the EU on 13 October to reaffirm his government’s view that FCA used an unauthorised switch-off device, the paper reported.

Autocar has approached FCA for comment.

Phill Tromans

Source: Car

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