A week after news broke that the California Air Resources Board (CARB) found a cheat in some Audi models equipped with automatic transmissions, Volkswagen has come clean on it.
Reuters reports that Volkswagen issued a statement to German newspaper Sueddeutsche Zeitung due to a report done by the paper about the cheat. According to a confidential document obtained by the paper, the software controlling the transmission would quicken shifts and in a way that lowered emissions of CO2 as well as nitric oxides if it detected it was being tested.
"Adaptive shift programs can lead to incorrect and non-reproducible results" when the cars are tested, the company said in an email.
"Audi has explained the technical backgrounds of adaptive shift programs to the Federal Motor Vehicle Authority KBA and has made available technical information."
Volkswagen argues that adaptive shift programs can save fuel due to how a person drives. Drive a vehicle gently and the transmission will shift earlier, producing lower revs. Drive it like a madman and the transmission will hold on to gears longer, resulting in more fuel being used due to higher engine revs. The issue at hand is the programming of the software was specifically developed to detect emission testing - if the steering wheel did not turn more than 15 degrees, the cheat would activate.
The EPA has opened an investigation into this software and will be speaking with senior engineers about this next week. Not surprisingly, Audi. Volkswagen, and the EPA declined to comment.