Details behind Volkswagen’s dieselgate-funded Electrify America initiative have finally been revealed, as the global auto manufacturer continues to settle with nations and states around the world with settlements topping $22 billion.
Volkswagen’s new Electrify America initiative aims to utilize the penalties levied on the automotive giant in response to the dieselgate scandal to install electric vehicle chargers and promote the adoption of electric vehicles. The first details of the program show a conflict in regards to where chargers should be installed. CARB officials are asking for the new chargers to be installed in disadvantaged communities where EV adoption rates are typically very low and the residents are most impacted by emissions. On the other side of the coin, VW is planning to install chargers in upper-class neighborhoods where it stands to benefit the most from sales of higher-end VW, Audi, and Porsche plug-in vehicles.
The dieselgate settlement in California alone totalled $800 million broken out into four 30-month-long waves of $200 million each. Before kicking off work for each wave, the plan must be reviewed with and approved by the California Air Resources Board (CARB) to ensure that it sufficiently balances the intent of the penalty — encouraging and supporting adoption of clean air vehicles — without giving the VW brand disproportionate benefit from the program.
VW’s plan for the first wave of funding was just published (PDF) and is broken out into three primary prongs:
1) Investing in electric vehicle (EV) charging infrastructure to increase availability of chargers, with construction starting in 2017. Our planned investments will focus on:
- Installing chargers locally in approximately 16 metro areas consisting of 300+ stations (L2 or DC Fast Chargers (50 to 150+ kW))
- Developing a high-speed, cross-country network consisting of 200+ stations (DC Fast Chargers)
Given the deployment versatility of EV chargers, locations could include:
- Multi-family homes (e.g., apartment complexes)
- Workplaces (e.g., office parks)
- Retail (e.g., stores, malls, restaurants, hotels, refueling stations)
- Communities (e.g., municipal parking lots, street parking spots)
Initially, we plan to focus on charger installation in metro areas that could benefit from increased charging infrastructure (e.g., densely populated) and highly trafficked cross-country highways.
2) Increasing awareness and fostering education about EVs, charging availability, and the benefits of electric mobility through various means such as ride and drives, multi-channel advertising, website, social media, and educational programs.
3) Launching a Green City initiative in a yet-to-be-named California municipality to pilot future concepts of sustainable mobility, such as a ZEV-based shuttle service, EV-based car-sharing program, or ZEV transit application.
The California deployment requires a thorough alignment with CARB and will proceed in parallel to the nationwide deployment of the program, which includes the full $2 billion settlement scope. The entire scope will happen under the Electrify America umbrella and is similarly tracking against the same themes as the California plan.
Source: Forbes | Electrify America
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