Volkswagen AG will be spending $2 billion, across 10 years, to advance the development of electric vehicles in the country, as part of its settlement plans.
The California Air Resources Board has unanimously voted to approve the 30 month plan to expand the infrastructure for green vehicles in the state. As part of the $800 million court settlement plan over its diesel emission scandal, Volkswagen will spend $200 million in the first tranche to this end.
Volkswagen will have to spend $2 billion nationwide spread across 10 years to advance zero emission vehicles, including the installation of charging stations, develop ride-sharing fleets and other such efforts to promote green infrastructure, as part of its court settlement.
Having an adequate number of charging stations spread across the state is central to the adoption of electric vehicles. Local and state governments are expanding the infrastructure, often, through partnerships with big automakers.
Onn Thursday, the California Air Resource Board approved the Electrify America plan which envisages the European carmaker allocating 35% of its investments funds in disadvantaged areas.
VW has also committed to spend $2-$3 million on partnering with groups with access to disadvantaged and low-income communities, as part of $20 million spending plan on brand-neutral public education throughout the state.
Of the $200 million, VW has allocated $75 million for installing a highway charging network of 50-plus stations; $45 million has been allocated for charging stations in more than 350 communities in Los Angeles, Sacramento, San Francisco, Fresno, San Diego and San Jose.
As per Abigail Ramirez, a policy advocate with the Leadership Counsel for Justice & Accountability, a strong commitment is required from VW to help rural areas in California’s Central Valley, where air quality standards are worst in the state.
“A lot of kids here in the valley suffer from asthma. When the air quality is really bad, they can’t play outside,” said Ramirez in an interview.
As part of its court settlement, VW is required to prepare written quarterly reports on its progress.
Earlier in December 2016, California had stated VW has agreed to sell an average of 5,000 EVs annually through 2025 in the state.