This hasn’t been a great week for diesel enthusiasts. Yesterday, the EPA said that FCA installed auxiliary emissions control devices in some of its diesel vehicles. Now Renault is under fire from French authorities who allege that the automaker purposely cheated on emissions testing in a similar way to Volkswagen, with early investigations showing vehicles putting out 10 times the legal limit of NOx.
According to the French outlet Le Figaro, Renault has “noted” the probe but stated that its vehicles comply with all emissions regulations. Three French judges will look into whether the matter is due to cheating by Renault. Unlike with Volkswagen, it appears Renault’s alleged cheat device is hardware and not software related.
It’s unclear why Renault specifically has been singled out, as a French commission previously performed emissions testing on 52 vehicles from Citroen, Peugeot, Renault, Toyota, Ford, and others. The group found that most vehicles exceeded the legal limit, though the severity of the violation varies. French laws allow for a tolerance of 2.1 times the limit, far lower than what some but not all of the vehicles put out.
This isn’t the first news of a possible Renault violation. Last fall, an independent lobbying group claimed the Renault Espace was polluting up to 25 times the legal limit. The claim was released in partnership with the University of Applied Sciences in Bern, Switzerland, and the International Council on Clear Transportation. Renault responded by say that the university’s tests weren’t the same as the government’s and that all of its vehicles comply with regulations.