— An EcoDiesel emissions lawsuit alleges 2014-2016 Jeep Grand Cherokee and Ram 1500 vehicles are equipped with illegal emissions software that deactivates emissions controls.
According to the proposed class-action lawsuit, Fiat Chrysler (FCA US) conspired with the Bosch company to fool regulators and consumers into believing the diesel trucks and SUVs were good for the environment and consumers.
The plaintiffs claim Chrysler concealed emissions software that allowed the vehicles to pass official tests while allegedly emitting illegal levels of nitrogen oxides during real-world driving.
The lawsuit references actions taken by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) which issued violation notices against FCA in January 2017 for failing to disclose eight auxiliary emission control devices (AECDs) in 2014-2016 Ram 1500s and Jeep Grand Cherokees.
According to the lawsuit, the EPA found the “principal effect of one or more of these AECDs was to bypass, defeat, or render inoperative one or more elements of design installed to comply with emissions standards under the [Clean Air Act.]”
In addition, the California Air Resources Board issued violation notices, with CARB claiming, “a major automaker made the business decision to skirt the rules and got caught.”
The EcoDiesel lawsuit also mentions a lawsuit against FCA filed by the government for violations of clear air regulations after claiming:
“One or more of these undisclosed software features, alone or in combination with one or more of the others, bypass, defeat and/or render inoperative the Vehicles’ emission control system, causing the vehicles to emit substantially higher levels of NOx during certain normal real world driving conditions than during federal emission tests.”
Contrary to advertisements promoting the benefits of the EcoDiesel engines, the plaintiffs allege Chrysler charged thousands of dollars more for diesel vehicles that polluted the environment.
By allegedly using illegal emissions software, the Jeeps and Rams allegedly emitted nitrogen oxides five times higher than standards and sometimes 20 times higher during highway driving.
According to the plaintiffs, Chrysler couldn't achieve the fuel economy and performance advertised unless it cheated on emissions by using software designed by Bosch.
Bosch allegedly created and tested the electronic diesel control units that allowed the Grand Cherokees and Ram 1500s to pass government emissions tests.
The lawsuit alleges Bosch claimed the “2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee features a Bosch emission system compliant with the most stringent emission regulations in the world. From fuel tank to tailpipe, Bosch is pleased to equip this vehicle with top technologies to give consumers a great driving experience requiring fewer stops at the pump.”
The EcoDiesel emissions lawsuit alleges Chrysler and Bosch violated the federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act by working together to fool consumers.
When automakers test their vehicles for emissions levels, the vehicles are placed on dynamometers (large treadmills) and then perform a series of specific maneuvers to simulate driving and test emissions in a controlled environment.
But according to the lawsuit, Bosch’s electronic diesel control units gave FCA the ability to detect test scenarios by monitoring vehicle speed, acceleration, engine operation, air pressure and the position of the steering wheel.
The plaintiffs say the steering wheel cannot be turned on a dynamometer, so Bosch allegedly programmed a sensor which detected whether or not the steering wheel turned. Once the test was complete, the software would then deactivate or reduce the emissions control systems.
The EcoDiesel emissions lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California - Nicholis Duncan, et al., v. FCA US LLC, et al.
The plaintiffs are represented by Heygood, Orr & Pearson.