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Ram 1500 diesel may return for 2017

by David Zatz on

Today, FCA US announced that it has filed an application to have its VM diesel-equipped Ram and Grand Cherokee certified for sale in the United States.

The 3.0 liter V6 turbodiesel’s certification had been revoked after on-road testing by third parties. These tests showed that unauthorized software was shutting down the emissions controls in real-world driving, but not in lab testing.  While there was no outright “cheat,” as in the Volkswagen-Audi setup that specifically detected lab tests, FCA failed to tell the EPA about the shutoffs (as required by law).

FCA has filed with both the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the far tougher California Air Resources Board (CARB) for the 2017 Ram 1500 and 2017 Jeep Grand Cherokee, with updated software. The filings indicate some confidence, since the 2017 model year is closing in a few months.

FCA claimed that the filing was  “the result of many months of close collaboration between FCA US and EPA and CARB, including extensive testing of the vehicles.” Existing engines from 2014-16 Rams and Grand Cherokees will be retrofitted with the updated software.

FCA’s action may resolve an ongoing Department of Justice investigation. The company wrote that the updates should not affect performance or fuel efficiency; though one analyst wrote that the vehicle may use more diesel emission fluid (DEF).

The 2017 Ram 1500 diesel and 2017 Jeep Grand Cherokee diesel have not been sold in the US or Canada since the EPA discovered the unauthorized software; Canada’s government withdrew fuel-economy ratings for the vehicles from its web site, until the new software was tested.

The action does not affect the Ram 2500, 3500, 4500, or 5500, which use a Cummins diesel engine. This engine was re-certified almost immediately, with no issues.

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