File picture: Peter Steffen/dpa.

BERLIN - The scandal surrounding illegally manipulated exhaust emissions in Volkswagen's diesel cars is widening, German public broadcaster SWR reported on Thursday. 

According to SWR, Volkswagen also manipulated the emission thresholds of the EA 288 diesel engine, which is the successor to the EA 189 engine which was subject to the initial diesel scandal in 2015. 

SWR reported that Volkswagen had installed a so-called defeat device in the EA 288 engine, which detects if the car is being tested for its exhaust emissions. Volkswagen Internal reports would show how such a "cycle recognition" worked, according to the German public broadcaster. 

Until now, only the manipulation of engines with older emission standards than Euro 6 had come to light in the course of the diesel scandal. 

The EA 288 engine is widely used not only in Volkswagen cars, but also in cars of its subsidiaries like Audi, Seat and Skoda. According to SWR, "hundreds of thousands of diesel vehicles" had been equipped with this engine since its introduction in 2012. 

A Volkswagen spokesperson denied the accusations, however, and told SWR that "vehicles with the EA 288 diesel engine, in accordance with the currently valid exhaust emission standard EU6 in EU 28, do not contain cycle recognition".

However, SWR reported that Volkswagen's internal documents would describe the "use and recognition" of the New European Driving Cycle (NEDC) "in order to trigger the switchover of the raw emission data" depending on the stretch the vehicles is driving. 

Axel Friedrich, exhaust gas emissions expert and consultant for the German parliamentary investigation committee on the diesel scandal, told SWR that "the vehicle recognizes whether it is on a test bench" and only then a sufficient amount of the diesel exhaust fluid AdBlue would be injected. Under normal driving conditions on the road, however, "much less" of the fluid, which lowers the concentration of nitrogen oxides in the exhaust gas of diesel engines, would be used, added exhaust expert Friedrich. 

All inquiries by the SWR to the Germany's Federal Motor Transport Authority (KBA) as well as to the German ministry of transport relating to the EA 288 engine had not been answered at the time of writing. 

Xinhua