Volkswagen pays $2 billion to fund clean cars infrastructure
Volkswagen pays $2 billion to fund clean cars infrastructure. Image credit: Wall Street Journal.

On Tuesday, Electric vehicle charging companies called for independent oversight of the $2 billion Volkswagen AG is required to invest in clean car infrastructure. The Californian Air Resources Board and the US Environmental Protection Agency will oversee Volkswagen’s spending. 

As a consequence of VW installing cheating software to pass the tailpipe emissions tests on its diesel vehicles sold in the United States, VW agreed to invest $1.2 billion nationally and $800 million in California.

The letter also emphasized the importance of benefiting drivers in California and the whole country instead of influencing the market.

“The agreement shouldn’t pick winners and losers, especially given that this emerging market transition will in no small part define 21st-century transportation,” said in a letter twenty-eight companies, including ChargePoint, EV Connect and Electric Vehicle Charging Association to the U.S. Justice Department on Friday.

Volkswagen agreed to the biggest settlement in US History

Back in June Volkswagen accepted to pay as much as $14.7 billion for buybacks, damages, and penalties due to the automaker’s emission scandal.

Back in June, the court documents revealed VW would spend about $10 billion on buybacks and repairs of 475.000 polluting vehicles. The owners will also be compensated with a payment between $5.100 and $10.000. The scandal was called the biggest settlement in US history.

The scandal also forced Volkswagen to invest $2 billion in projects that will encourage Americans to expand the use of zero-emission vehicles in the future.

The electric charging infrastructure is not yet standardized, and the charging station companies are concerned about large corporations such as Volkswagen dictating terms the for everyone else. Charging station companies called VW’s money a potential game changer that can hurt the competition.

The lack of charging stations near workplaces and multi-unit departments is one of the main reasons electric cars have not been adopted massively.

Obama is pushing last hour regulations before his tenure ends 

Last month, the Obama administration announced a set of executive actions to accelerate the electric vehicle adoption in the US through the expansion of charging infrastructure. 

The most important announcement was the unlocking of $4.5 billion in loan guarantees for charging stations.According to the news, the government is going to work in close collaboration with private companies, including automakers, charging station manufacturers and operators. 

Tesla, General Motors, BMW, Ford, Nissan, EVGo, and ChargePoint have been pushing for the creation of Guiding Principles to Promote Electric Vehicles and charging infrastructure. 

If Volkswagen goes through, the company’s biggest scandal could end up starting a much-needed transition to electric cars which would change the automotive industry forever. 

Source: Reuters