By on February 7, 2017

Volkswagen VW Badge Emblem Logo

Volkswagen AG has announced a new U.S. unit that will manage its hefty court-mandated investments in zero-emission vehicle infrastructure and green awareness programs.

Electrify America LLC, located in Reston, Virginia, is supposed to be entirely separate from Volkswagen Group’s automotive brands and owned as a subsidiary of VW of America. It will oversee $2 billion in initiatives to promote the use of zero emissions vehicles in the U.S. over the next ten years as part of VW’s diesel emissions settlement.

Reuters reports that Electrify America will make four $500 million investments every 30 months, but must obtain spending approval from the California Air Resources Board and the Environmental Protection Agency. Volkswagen must submit the first round of those drafted plans to the regulators by February 22nd.

According to VW, the initial plan involves installing over 500 charging stations in the U.S., with at least 300 stations situated in 15 metro areas. The remaining stations will be used to establish a cross-country quick-charge network that will help to facilitate long-range driving. There is also to be a “Green City” initiative in a currently unidentified Californian city to test future concepts. Volkswagen anticipates rolling out services like a zero-emissions shuttle service or an EV car-sharing programs.

The company may also decide to spend the money on green education and environmental outreach programs — however, that material is required by the courts to be brand neutral. Volkswagen has also promised the state of California that it would add least three additional electric vehicles to its lineup by 2020 and that it would sell an average of 5,000 electric vehicles per year within state by 2025. It plans to sell 3 million EVs globally within that same time frame.

The world’s largest automaker is expected to plead guilty on February 24th on three felony counts, part of a plea agreement with the United States Justice Department over charges that it knowingly installed emissions-cheating software in U.S. vehicles and falsified testing data.

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16 Comments on “Volkswagen of America Launches Zero Emissions Investment Group as Part of Its Punishment...”


  • avatar
    Demon Something

    Y’know, I’ll believe Vee-Dub’s mass electrification when I see it. Of course, I’m not in BosWash-ifornia, so that’s a five year penalty right there. Even then, 2021 for 25% electric?

  • avatar
    mason

    The oil smudge on the emblem is really cute.

  • avatar
    Garrett

    While the investments may produce an economic value greater than burning $2B in small bills to help generate heat, I’m sure there will be minimal long term positive gain from the expenditures.

    Forcing someone to invest in a manner acceptable to bureaucrats is only marginally better than having the bureaucrats attempt to manage the money themselves.

    • 0 avatar
      Sceptic

      Yes, most of this money will be wasted on failing startups.
      Also, another point. For the new electric vehicles the need for gas/service stations will be drastically reduced. People will do home charging and neighborhoods could install shared fast charge stations for residents.
      VW is being punished for the government’s incompetence! They could not even properly test the emissions!

      • 0 avatar
        VoGo

        Septic,
        The federal government doesn’t do this testing, it was outsourced to the free market, in accordance with conservative economic principles.

      • 0 avatar
        brettc

        The government didn’t test TDIs for emission compliance. It was a self-certification. VW basically said “hey our car meets Tier 2 Bin 5 emissions compliance, here are the numbers” (which of course came from the test loop – which the defeat device was programmed for).

        The government said “Cool, good job, here’s your certification, now you can sell those awesome TDIs because why would you lie to us?”

        • 0 avatar
          Sceptic

          So, as you say, VW was selling compliant cars. They passed the test. Then all of a sudden tables were turned on them. That is fundamentally unfair.

        • 0 avatar
          Garrett

          See, this is my big problem: if you optimize for the test, it wouldn’t be considered cheating. You are following the letter of the law.

          Getting smacked for not following the spirit of the law is an abuse of government power. It’s not VW’s fault that the government can’t create a proper testing protocol.

          • 0 avatar
            never_follow

            That’s the real problem, isn’t it? Cars are designed around passing tests, making them worse in real life.

            It’s much like the real fuel economy difference between a manual and an automatic. Manufacturers have gamed the shift points so that it looks like the auto is now more frugal than the manual. It never pans out that way in reality.

            VW just took the hypocrisy to it’s logical conclusion, and they get to pay the price for it.

  • avatar
    Sceptic

    Exactly. Those TDI cars were designed to satisfy the requirements. Very smart software was developed to overcome the technological challenges. They passed to test. VW could not read EPA honchos’ minds. That was their folly.

    • 0 avatar
      VoGo

      As part of the settlement, the EPA and CARB should have required VW to renounce all rights to your brain.

    • 0 avatar
      HotPotato

      No, they were not designed to satisfy the requirements, they were designed to cheat on the test. Nowhere in the requirements does it say you can turn on the emissions controls only for the test; in fact it says the opposite.

      It’s not like they lacked the engineering chops to do it right. In fact, the latest round of TDI VWs, with controls designed to actually remain on, is the cleanest set of diesels in Europe.


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