Not as clean as claimed
Fiat Chrysler Autos and Cummins now in the dock alongside VW and Audi for cheating exhausts
IT is not just VW and Audi that are being sued for lying to buyers about the levels of toxic gases emitted by their cars in normal use.
Seattle law firm Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro has now filed a class action lawsuit against several American brands for alleged emissions cheating … and Mercedes may be next in their sights.
The lawyers, who were involved with the Volkswagen 2.0- litre diesel settlement, last week sued Cummins and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles ( FCA) on behalf of 500 000 big bakkie owners in America.
They are seeking reimbursement and damages to the tune of $ 3 000 ( R42 636) to $ 5 000, depending on the vehicle.
In its court papers, the company wrote Cummins and Chrysler had conspired to conceal illegally high levels of emissions in Dodge Ram 2500 and 3500 diesel pickup trucks manufactured between 2007 and 2012.
They explain how the two companies saw a golden business opportunity in 2001 to meet the Environmental Protection Agency’s ( EPA) stringent emissions standards for heavy- duty highway diesel engines, slated to take effect in 2010. The lawyers’ courts papers quote how Cum- mins had announced the new truck as the “strongest, cleanest, quietest bestin- class 2007 Cummins turbo Diesel. Leapfrogging the competition, the Cummins 6,7 litre turbo Diesel engine”, which is used exclusively in Dodge Ram 2500 and 3500 heavy duty pickup trucks to achieve what Cummins said was “the world’s lowest 2010 Environmental Protection Agency ( EPA) NOx standard” a full three years ahead of the requirements.
“In order to produce a diesel engine that has desirable torque and power characteristics, good fuel economy, and emissions levels low enough to meet the stringent European and United States governmental emission standards, FCA and Cummins ( collectively, the defendants) developed the 6,7 litre diesel engine with a sophisticated NOx adsorber. The primary emission control aftertreatment technologies include a diesel particulate filter ( DPF) and a NOx adsorber catalyst system.
“The DPF traps and removes particulate [ soot] emissions, while the NOx adsorber system facilitates the capture and reduction of NOx into less harmful substances, such as nitrogen and oxygen.
“In contrast to Cummins’s promises, real- world testing has revealed that the Dodge 2500 and 3500, equipped with the Cummins 6.7 litre turbo diesel en- gine, emit dangerous levels of NOx at many times higher than their gasoline counterparts; what a reasonable consumer would expect from the cleanest engine in its class; United States Environmental Protection Agency maximum standards; and the levels set for the vehicles to obtain a certificate of compliance that allows them to be sold in the United States,” the lawyers stated.
Thus Cummins’s “cleanest engine in its class” is far from clean, they added.
The lawyers said FCA and Cummins had “vigorously marketed the Adsorber Engine, and the Dodge Ram 2500 and 3500 with the Adsorber Engine, as the strongest, cleanest, quietest diesel engine in its class”.
In 2011, Cummins also stated that the “product has been in commercial use for over four years, delighting customers with its performance and durability, and delivering on Cummins [ sic] commitment to a cleaner, healthier environment”.
FCA’s advertising claimed the “cleaner diesels saved owners time, expense, and hassles, and that both the 6,7 litre Cummins Turbo Diesel in Ram Heavy Duty pick- ups met all 50- state emissions standards with no need for a diesel exhaust fluid system.
“These representations are deceptive and false. The affected vehicles routinely exceed applicable Federal and California emissions limits.
“The legal limit of NOx emissions for stop- and- go driving is 200 mg/ mile. When tested, Dodge Ram 2500s emitted 702 mg/ mile, and 2 826 mg/ mile at maximum emission. The California NOx limit for highway conditions is 400 mg/ mile. Testing for the 2500 shows an average of 756 and max of 2,252 mg/ mile,” thundered the lawyers.
When done with GM, the Seattlebased smoke- chasers look set to aim for the Mercedes- Benz, a relatively small player in America. For as they said, “the green bubble with respect to diesel vehicles has truly popped on September 18, 2015, when the EPA issued a Notice of Violation of the Clean Air Act against Volkswagen”.
ONLY IN THE U. S.: While lawyers are litigating against VW, Audi and now Dodge Ram, naysayers to climate change in North America have started ‘ coal rolling’, with several companies selling mechanisms with big exhausts and smoke stacks to send clouds of diesel smog into the atmosphere in defiance to laws aiming to limit toxic fumes.