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France, Germany, U.K. Ponder Broader Diesel Emission Probes


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Environmental ministries in France and Germany say legal probes into possible diesel emission violations may expand in their countries, Reuters reports.

No carmaker except for Volkswagen AG has so far been found guilty of installing devices designed specifically to cheat on emission tests. But environmentalists notes that the European Union’s regulations allow diesel makers to idle emission controls under certain conditions to extend engine durability.

The allowance is intended to reduce the risk of condensation within a vehicle’s exhaust-cleaning catalytic converter system in certain cold-weather conditions. But German investigators say some carmakers have used this “thermal window” to switch off emission systems during most of a vehicle’s normal driving regimen.

Germany’s transport ministry says the country’s KBA motor authority has identified what it considers “unlawful switch-off facilities” in Fiat 500X mini-SUVs and other FCA models. Over the weekend it reiterated Germany’s demand that Italian regulators act on such evidence.

In France, Environment Minister Segolene Royal says judicial investigations of “anomalies” found in emissions from diesel-powered Renault and Volkswagen models may broaden. She notes that regulatory tests in April also turned up significant gaps between lab-test results and on-road emissions of carbon dioxide and nitrogen oxides for certain models from Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, Ford, Mercedes-Benz, Nissan, Opel and PSA.

Meanwhile, the U.K.’s Dept. for Transport tells Reuters it has asked for details about U.S. claims last week that FCA diesels used an unreported emission system device that caused pickup trucks and SUVs to exceed emission limits.

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