As part of its court settlement with the California Air Resources Board (CARB) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for the DieselGate scandal, Volkswagen agreed to invest $2 billion in electric vehicle infrastructure in the US.
The German automaker unveiled this week its plan for how to spend the money under a new subsidiary called Electrify America.
While charging infrastructure is an important part of the Electrify America program, it’s not all the electric vehicle infrastructure it plans to deploy under the settlement.
But the charging stations are definitely what we are most excited about – especially DC fast-charging. VW says that most of the stations will be DC fast-charging, including some with a power capacity over 150 kW:
- Installing chargers locally in approximately 15 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)
There’s no location announced yet, but we can expect that they will be a lot in California since VW is required to spend almost half the money in the state under the settlement.
The company will make four $500 million investments into Electrify America every 30 months and it must obtain approval from CARB and the EPA, if it still exist at that point, before spending the money.
The first stations will be installed in 2017 according to the company.
Additionally, some of the money will be spent for general electric vehicle awareness through “ride and drives, multi-channel advertising, website, social media, and educational programs.” It might sound trivial, but it could have a significant impact considering a lot of people simply don’t know that electric vehicles are an option. According to a recent survey, 60% of more than 2,500 American drivers said they were “unaware of electric cars”.
Finally, VW will also launch what it calls a”Green City” initiative to “pilot future concepts of sustainable mobility, such as a ZEV-based shuttle service, EV-based car-sharing program, or ZEV transit application”, in a yet-to-be-announced city in California.
A complete plan with more specific details will be submitted to CARB and the EPA by the end of the month and the money will start flowing says Volkswagen.
VW’s diesel cheat might end up to be the best thing to happen to EVs since Tesla, but it will depend on how well the money is managed. Execution on the deployment of those charging stations will be important. We will follow the project closely.