Volkswagen of America Launches Zero Emissions Investment Group as Part of Its Punishment

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky
volkswagen of america launches zero emissions investment group as part of its

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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  • Garrett Garrett on Feb 07, 2017

    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.

    • See 6 previous
    • Never_follow Never_follow on Feb 08, 2017

      @Garrett 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.

  • Sceptic Sceptic on Feb 08, 2017

    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.

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    • HotPotato HotPotato on Feb 09, 2017

      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.

  • Redapple2 What is the weight of the tractor? What is the range at full load? What is the recharge time? Not a serious product if they are HIDING the answers.
  • Lou_BC "Owners of affected Wrangles" Does a missing "r" cancel an extra stud?
  • Slavuta One can put a secret breaker that will disable the starter or spark plug supply. Even disabling headlights or all lights will bring more trouble to thieves than they wish for. With no brake lights, someone will hit from behind, they will leave fingerprints inside. Or if they steal at night, they will have to drive with no lights. Any of these things definitely will bring attention.I remember people removing rotor from under distributor cup.
  • Slavuta Government Motors + Government big tech + government + Federal police = fascist surveillance state. USSR surveillance pales...
  • Johnster Another quibble, this time about the contextualization of the Thunderbird and Cougar, and their relationship to the prestigious Continental Mark. (I know. It's confusing.) The Thunderbird/Mark IV platform introduced for the 1971 model year was apparently derived from the mid-sized Torino/Montego platform (also introduced for the 1971 model year), but should probably be considered different from it.As we all know, the Cougar shared its platform with the Ford Mustang up through the 1973 model year, moving to the mid-sized Torino/Montego platform for the 1974 model year. This platform was also shared with the failed Ford Gran Torino Elite, (introduced in February of 1974, the "Gran Torino" part of the name was dropped for the 1975 and 1976 model years).The Thunderbird/Mark series duo's separation occurred with the 1977 model year when the Thunderbird was downsized to share a platform with the LTD II/Cougar. The 1977 model year saw Mercury drop the "Montego" name and adopt the "Cougar" name for all of their mid-sized cars, including plain 2-doors, 4-doors and and 4-door station wagons. Meanwhile, the Cougar PLC was sold as the "Cougar XR-7." The Cougar wagon was dropped for the 1978 model year (arguably replaced by the new Zephyr wagon) while the (plain) 2-door and 4-door models remained in production for the 1978 and 1979 model years. It was a major prestige blow for the Thunderbird. Underneath, the Thunderbird and Cougar XR-7 for 1977 were warmed-over versions of the failed Ford Elite (1974-1976), while the Mark V was a warmed-over version of the previous Mark IV.