Although an initial report from Reuters said the EPA will accuse Ram and Jeep of using emissions defeat devices today, that isn't quite the case. In a press release and a conference call, the EPA stated that the notice of violation sent to FCA is for the installation of eight undisclosed auxiliary emissions control devices on 2014 to 2016 Jeep Grand Cherokee and Ram 1500 models with the 3.0-liter turbodiesel V6. The violation applies to about 104,000 vehicles in total. The agency also explained that auxiliary emissions controls on vehicles are not necessarily illegal, but installing them without disclosing them to the EPA when having the vehicle certified is.
Though this initial notice of violation is for installing undisclosed software, the EPA may soon also classify these emissions devices as defeat devices, as it did with the software Volkswagen used. Depending on the outcome of the investigation, there could be fines of up nearly $45,000 per vehicle involved in the notice of violation. The agency revealed that the software alters how the emissions system performs in certain situations. In controlled testing, the vehicles are compliant, but in conditions such as high speed operation, the EPA found the vehicles would produce much higher levels of NOx emissions.
The EPA is continuing to investigate, and is waiting for FCA to explain why these emissions control devices are not cheating or defeat devices. In an official statement, FCA stated it is looking forward to explaining that the software does not constitute a defeat device, and has also proposed software updates to achieve compliance. During the conference call, EPA representatives also noted that the vehicles are still safe and legal to be driven, and that owners do not need to take any action yet regarding their cars. It should be noted there is no stop-sale on current models at this time. Additionally, 2017 versions of the 3.0-liter diesel FCA vehicles have not been emissions certified yet.