The German newspaper Bild am Sonntag is reporting that US investigators have found three pieces of software that work in concert to turn off the emissions control equipment in certain diesel models after a set period of time.

The engine in question, the 3.0-liter TDI turbodiesel, was found in certain Volkswagen Touareg, Audi Q7, and Porsche Cayenne models – the sale of which was suspended in the US late last year. Since most emissions compliance testing takes around 20 minutes, the software in the three VW Group models shuts off the emissions control equipment after 22 minutes, a straightforward end run around the testing.

Remember that the 3.0-liter TDI engines aren't included in the big buyback and recall program announced for the smaller 2.0-liter, four-cylinder TDI engines. The 3.0-liter engines will likely get their own program, but we don't know when to expect it or exactly what it will look like. Last month, California rejected a proposed fix for the larger TDI engines, and VW went back to the drawing board. Since the company is unlikely to create two fixes, one for California and one for the rest of the nation, the company can't really proceed until they figure out a solution California will accept.

The EPA hasn't officially commented on the report, and we don't know how Bild am Sonntag came across the information, but we'll be closely watching what emerges after this report.

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