Volkswagen is now planning to invest $10 million of its own money into an electric vehicle (EV) infrastructure buildout, to support its upcoming electric car models.
This buildout includes the recent agreements with BMW & ChargePoint to develop DC fast charging networks along both coasts of the US, amongst other development.
Despite the company’s willingness to put its own money into the buildout, representatives recently noted that increased legislative support is probably necessary for EV adoption to start growing faster than it is now.
Volkswagen’s vice president for product marketing and strategy in America, Jörg Sommer, recently spoke at the 2015 Electric Drive Congress in Washington DC on February 10, stating: “Automakers have effectively delivered electric vehicles that can satisfy the needs of most American drivers. In addition to the investment we and other companies and industries are making, we would like to see federal financing support for establishing fast charging networks in urban areas and interstate corridors. We’d like to see more state and federal organizations commit to cleaner fleets by purchasing EVs and PHEVs. This should be a US Government priority, and federal purchasing guidelines should reflect that by giving fleet purchasers the flexibility they need. We need further congressional support with the mid-term review of the EPA’s greenhouse gas regulation to extend the multiplier credits for plug-in vehicles beyond MY21.”
Gas2 provides some thoughts on those comments:
Sommers’ comments raise the thorny political question of who should pay for the buildout of EV charger infrastructure. Tesla has taken on the entire burden of creating its SuperCharger network without government aid, and it’s been pretty much universally celebrated for being both fast AND free. As far as anyone knows, every manufacturer is losing money on the electric cars it builds. No one can expect the car makers to go on subsidizing the infrastructure push forever. You can’t buy apples for 50 cents a piece if you can only sell them three for a dollar and expect to make up the difference in volume.
I mostly agree with that sentiment. But… there are a lot of potential issues accompany greater levels of government support. While it could be argued that the environmental benefits of greater EV use justify the support — especially in large, dense, polluted cities (especially in China, India, etc) — there’s a lot of political/public-image baggage that accompanies it.
To the American mind, things are largely supposed to be able to stand on their own (yes, I’m aware that subsidizing “important” industries is quite common, but the public tends to largely look down on this when their favorite media outlets tell them to). Increased support gives the industry an appearance of weakness, and, possibly, an association with corruption — whether true or not.
What do our readers think? Greater levels of governmental support for electric vehicles?
Image Credit: Volkswagen
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