Volkswagen's emissions-cheating saga has gone on for more than a year now, but it doesn't look like there's an end in sight. The California Air Resources Board (CARB) has reportedly discovered a new emissions cheat in various Audi vehicles that used sneaky transmission programming to artificially lower carbon dioxide emissions when the cars were undergoing lab testing.
that CARB's discovery was first made public by German publication Bild am Sontag this past weekend. Apparently, the regulatory group discovered this cheat over the summer, but has yet to confirm it to the press.
The cheating software was reportedly installed on a number of older Audi A6s, A8s, and Q5s all equipped with the same eight-speed automatic transmission. These cars were programmed to trigger an emissions-limiting gear shift program only when the steering wheel was perfectly straight, as it would be in lab testing. If the steering wheel was turned more than 15 degrees in either direction, the transmission would revert to a "real world" shifting strategy, increasing performance, and therefore, carbon dioxide output.
Audi reportedly stopped using this software in May 2016, though it was installed in hundreds of thousands of gasoline- and diesel-powered vehicles. According to the report, CARB discovered the software shortly after its use was discontinued. Audi has suspended the group of engineers responsible, the German outlet reports.
VW is making progress fixing its cheating four-cylinder diesel cars in Europe, and buying them back in the U.S., but that's already an incredibly expensive endeavor. The company still has to deal with the 85,000 cheating 3.0-liter V6 diesels it sold in the US as well—VW Group still has not had a fix approved by US regulators.