Energy

Providing No Further Detail, Ca. Rejects VW’s Recall Plan For Lacking Detail

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Chris White Tech Reporter

California regulators rejected Volkswagen’s recall plan Tuesday, telling the company its plans for vehicles with so-called defeat devices “contain gaps and lack sufficient details” — the rejection letter itself gives no specifics as to what the automaker proposed.

The California Air Resources Board’s (CARB) rejection of the VW’s plan applies only to 75,688 California vehicles affected by the emissions cheating scandal. The federal Environmental Protection Agency agreed with CARB’s decision to reject the recall proposal, noting in a press statement Tuesday that VW “has not submitted an approvable recall plan to bring the vehicles into compliance and reduce pollution.”

CARB’s rejection letter gave no mention as to the solution VW offered. Instead, CARB gave a laundry list of reasons why the recall plan would not cut muster — chief among them, the letter specified, was the company’s proposed plans “do not sufficiently address impacts on the engine, the vehicle’s overall operation, and all related emissions control technologies, including the OBD [On Board Diagnostics] system.”

CARB’s letter goes on to notify VW that the mega-auto company will be slapped with state emission violations, including a “Notice of Violation for violations of California’s air quality statutes and regulations.”

CARB concluded the letter by confirming its dedication to solving the problem outright — noting further that regulators will continue its investigation “and technical evaluations with the EPA.”

“We plan to continue discussions with VW to evaluate options with the objective of expeditiously identifying a solution that protects the environment, public health, and consumers,” CARB added.

VW admitted in September it put software into 11 million vehicles designed to trick government emissions tests, which allowed its cars to emit up to 40 times the allowable limit of nitrogen oxides under normal driving conditions.

The Justice Department filed a lawsuit against the company earlier this month demanding upward of $50 billion in fines on behalf of the EPA.

In hopes of scraping together a solution avoiding the crippling fines and regulations it is facing, VW proposed last week buying back more than 115,000 of the vehicles, fearing both the cost of fixing each tainted vehicle and the fines would eventually sink the company.

The company also suggested on Monday recalling all the vehicles and fitting them with a new catalytic converter system.

“We have one (catalytic converter) in the works and we believe that will be a part of the technical solutions,” VW CEO Matthias Mueller told reporters Sunday at the Detroit auto show. Mueller went on to say he believes the converter will bring the rigged vehicles back into compliance with environmental regulations.

He added: “I think we can now offer a package that will come very close to what the EPA is expecting from us.”

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