Will California Accept Volkswagen’s $800,000 Million Settlement?

By Roy L Hales

The California Air Resources Board’s (CARB) ruling on the proposed settlement, from the dieselgate scandal, will come very soon. The Volkswagen Group of America is proposing to invest $2 billion into the nation’s zero emission vehicle (ZEV) infrastructure over the next ten years. A significant portion of this investment is earmarked for California. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) approved the deal. Will California accept Volkswagen’s $800,000 million settlement?

Will California Accept Volkswagen’s $800,000 Million Settlement?

Brett Hauser, CEO of Greenlots, points out this is a good deal for California. Even though it is home to only 12% of nation’s population, California will receive 40% of the funds.

This recognizes that half of the nation’s EVs are there.

Hauser is the CEO of one  of the seven major charging providers urging CARB to accept this settlement .

” … The Volkswagen (VW) settlement decree represents a unique opportunity to accelerate the electric vehicle (EV) market in California. Expanding this market will create jobs and new economic opportunity, help California achieve its climate mitigation goals, and protect the health of disadvantaged communities who face the worst effects of tailpipe pollution. We urge CARB and the other parties to implement the requirements of the existing settlement as soon as possible … ” – from a joint letter signed by:

  • Brett Hauser, Chief Executive Officer, Greenlots
  • Dave Schembri, Chief Executive Officer EVgo
  • Mahi Reddy, Chief Executive Officer SemaConnect
  • Mike Anderson, Chief Executive Officer, Efacec USA, Inc.
  • Frank Meza, Chief Executive Officer, BTCPower Inc.
  • Kenneth Karklin, Vice President and General Manager Efficient Energy Systems, Aerovironment Inc.

Some Valid Concerns

“The California Air Resources Board has put forward some valid concerns. They want to ensure that areas like disadvantage communities are taken into account in the program. I think Volkswagen, or electrify America, has adequately addressed this and it is now time to move on with the program,” said Brett Hauser, CEO of Greenlots.

“CARB has proper oversight provisions in place to make sure that Volkswagen stays true to what has been agreed to. They will report back on an annual basis. Are there going to be things that need to be improved along the path? Probably. This is a 10-year program.  You can’t expect to be able to foresee everything that might be an issue in the future, but they have the proper provisions in place for governance.”

Don’t Think We Will Get A Better Deal

There are, of course, concerns about what could happen if CARB turns the deal down.

“I don’t think we are going to get a better deal under the Trump administration. I don’t want to risk having Volkswagen going back to the EPA, and Department of Justice, and asking them to reevaluate the deal. There is a wide variety of predictable, or unpredictable, outcomes.”

Investing in the EV infrastructure is good for the economy, stimulates jobs and, even though Volkswagen is providing the funding, it helps with the “Buy America; Stay America” campaign.

On the other hand, part of the push to adopt EVs comes from the need to reduce America’s emissions and a significant number of people in President Trump’s administration do not believe in climate change.

Important Links

Image Credits: Both photos – Courtesy AeroVironment Charger; Details of the settlement from a slideshow on VW’s California ZEV Investment Commitment

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