U.S. regulators informed Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) in November 2015 that they presumed a few of the automaker’s vehicles were geared up with secret software allowing them to breach emission control standards, as per the e-mails revealed on Friday.
The United States Environmental Protection Agency and California Air Resources Board alleged Fiat Chrysler in January of using the software, referred as “defeat device,” to unlawfully permit excess diesel emissions in 104,000 U.S. 2014-2016 Jeep Grand Cherokees and Dodge Ram 1500 trucks.
Byron Bunker, director of the EPA’s Transportation and Air Quality compliance department, stated in a January last year e-mail to Fiat Chrysler, seen by Reuters under the Flexibility of Information Act, that he was extremely concerned about the unacceptably slow speed of the automaker’s efforts to explain high nitrogen oxide emissions from a few of its automobiles.
Nitrogen oxide is linked to smog development and breathing issues.
Bunker’s email noted the EPA had informed Fiat Chrysler authorities at a November 2015 meeting that a minimum of one auxiliary emissions control device on the automaker’s vehicles seemed to breach the company’s policies.
Mike Dahl, head of vehicle safety and regulative compliance for the automaker’s U.S. unit, responded in a different email that the company was working diligently and comprehended the EPA’s issues. He included that if the EPA identified Fiat Chrysler vehicles as containing defeat devices it would lead to possibly substantial regulatory and commercial consequences.
The documents redacted the automobiles named, but 2 officials informed on the matter stated they referred to diesel models.