Oh, not again: US reportedly finds new secret software in VW diesels

You thought this was nearing a conclusion? We've only just begun!

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2016 Volkswagen Golf TSI S 2-door

I'm now operating under the assumption that this will never stop. I'll be retired in 2060 and they'll still be figuring things out.

Nick Miotke/Roadshow

It looks like Volkswagen's diesel scandal could keep rolling as reports claim that the automaker has three hidden software programs in its 3.0-liter engines.

Concerns about the German car manufacturers' 2.0-liter engines could soon reach a conclusion, but the discovery of the hidden software has thrown the future of 3.0-liter diesels into uncertainty.

That secret software in Volkswagen's 3.0-liter diesels can turn off the vehicles' emissions controls, Reuters reports, citing the German newspaper Bild am Sonntag. The emissions control system allegedly shuts off after 22 minutes, when most emissions tests take about 20.

If this software does exist, it likely resides in all 3.0-liter diesels that Volkswagen sells in the US. This includes the Audi Q7, Volkswagen Touareg and Porsche Cayenne SUVs. Approximately 85,000 of these cars are roaming around the US, and they're already under scrutiny for some software that VW "forgot" to tell regulators about.

"We continue to work closely with the EPA and CARB to try to secure approval of a technical resolution for affected vehicles with 3.0L V6 TDI engines as quickly as possible," Audi said in an emailed statement. "As stated in today's Court hearing, an updated proposal is undergoing thorough testing and analysis and we intend to submit this to the regulators in August. The Court has instructed the parties to report on the status of these discussions on August 25."

Previously, Volkswagen said it believed the 3.0-liter diesel issue could be solved with a software fix. Its 3.0-liter issues are being dealt with separately to its 2.0-liter diesels, which are covered under its $15 billion settlement with US authorities, which will include buybacks and one-time cash payments.

Volkswagen first ended up in this situation after it admitted to intentionally installing secret software in its 2.0-liter diesels. That software curtailed nitrogen oxide emissions in lab-testing environments, but once on the road, the diesels would pollute well in excess of legal limitations. It was allegedly used in response to ever-stricter emissions regulations.