Volkswagen’s about-face embracing electronic vehicles was seen by many as a move to improve the company’s image in the aftermath of the diesel emissions scandal. However, could the company benefit from the diesel scandal? EV companies are lining up to make sure it doesn’t happen.
Part of the German automaker’s $14.7 billion settlement calls for it invest $2 billion into – $1.2 billion nationwide and $800 million in California – into zero-emissions infrastructure. Much of that is likely to go into charging stations for EVs.
However, there’s a problem: that could mean they can influence whatever chargers get installed, and that’s a big problem is your company is on the outside looking in when it comes to the selection process.
Thus, 28 companies, including ChargePoint, EV Connect and Electric Vehicle Charging Association, got together and penned a letter to the U.S. Department of Justice, demanding that an independent administrator be appointed to monitor the settlement, which the letter called a potential “game changer” for the industry, Reuters reported.
(Italian government latest to fine Volkswagen over diesels. For more, Click Here.)
The companies are concerned that VW could manipulate the investment to hurt competition. Ideally, some oversight would ensure this doesn’t happen.
“The agreement shouldn’t pick winners and losers, especially given that this emerging market transition will in no small part define 21st century transportation,” the letter said. “The program should be structured to benefit drivers in California and across the nation, not enable the settling defendants to enter or influence the markets for [zero-emission vehicle] charging and fueling equipment and services.”
(Click Here for details about VW’s surprise leap to the top of global auto sales.)
VW has not commented publicly on the letter. However, the group is clear that it wants to make sure that VW is actually punished, not simply finding a silver lining in a multi-billion dollar cloud.
“The program should be structured to benefit drivers in California and across the nation, not enable the settling defendants to enter or influence the markets for (zero emission vehicle) charging and fueling equipment and services,” the letter said.
(VW Q2 earnings hammered by diesel scandal. Click Here for the full story.)
In addition to asking for an administrator, the group asked that some of the $2 billion settlement go towards incentives for business and residential customers that install charging systems. At this point, the plant, which VW hasn’t released, is supposed to be overseen by the Environmental Protection Agency and the California Air Resources Board.