Shortly after West Virginia University’s Center for Alternative Fuels, Engines, and Emissions (CAFEE) announced it found diesel models from Fiat Chrysler Automobiles emit up to 20 times the legal amount of nitrogen oxide during on-road tests, the automaker is hitting back at the accusations.
In a statement, the automaker accused the tests of being commissioned by a law firm which is preparing to sue the company. FCA also says it asked CAFEE to discuss its testing methodology and share data with them but they have been unwilling to do so.
Regardless, the company believes the report tries to equate on-road tests to those conducted by the EPA under laboratory conditions. FCA says this raises a number of issues as the CAFEE tests were conducted at much higher speeds and with an additional 600-700 lbs (272-317 kg) of payload than the EPA tests. The company also notes on-road tests subject vehicles to various conditions, such as steep grades, and are not representative of EPA procedures.
The automaker goes on to point out there is no official protocol for conducting on-road emission testing and the report indicates the vehicles were modified in an attempt to replicate a previous recall.
The testing involved five Jeep Grand Cherokee and Ram 1500 models equipped with a 3.0-liter diesel engine. The CAFEE’s director, Daniel Carder, seemingly dismissed FCA’s complaint and told Automotive News “Our intent is to look at how these emissions controls systems are performing in the real world. We think that’s where it really matters.”
In the meantime, FCA is facing a lawsuit from the United States Department of Justice and the Environmental Protection Agency for using defeat devices and “software functions” that were not disclosed during the certification process. The automaker has said it “defend itself vigorously” but is committed to working with EPA to resolve the issue.