California Has Laid Out An Ambitious Plan For Its VW Dieselgate Settlement Cash
Marc Stern's picture

California, Just How Much Do You Think VW Owes You, Huh??

California laid out a menu of options it would like to fund with its trove of Dieselgate cash. Somehow, the list looks very ambitious for the state. Could it be that it expects the automaker to pay its settlement and a "fair share" or two more?
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Is anyone watching just how much they expect Volkswagen to spend? After reading the menu of options that California wants to be funded with the $800 million that VW must spend to build a zero-emissions infrastructure, you wonder if the state believes it has access to VW’s entire budget.

Here are a few of the ideas that California regulators laid out Thursday:

  • Installing electric car chargers (a new priority program in Europe, as well)
  • Introducing ride-sharing or ride-hailing services especially for zero-emission vehicles
  • Support the shift to electric transportation
  • Expand the state’s zero-emissions vehicle market
  • Boost access to those vehicles (electrics) in low-income and disadvantaged communities
  • Installing hydrogen stations for fuel-cell electrics
  • Public education awareness campaigns that wouldn’t be allowed to favor or feature VW

That would indeed seem to require funding that might be a tad more than $800 million, though, the California Air Resources Board (CARB), the regulatory panel that helped weed out the Dieselgate scandal was also to hold a meeting on Friday where they were seeking more input from the public. CARB also wants to set up a 10-year spending plan, divided into four 30-month spending cycles. “We urge VW to make early, visible progress in the beginning of the first 30-month cycle,” CARB said in a presentation. VW must submit a draft of its plans to regulators by Feb. 22.

VW, an item in Friday’s Automotive News indicated, has settled many of its legal issues since the diesel emission cheating scandal erupted more than 15 months ago. Called the largest single corporate penalty, the scandal has gone on to involve millions of vehicles and billions in penalties and settlements. Meantime, Volkswagen has committed more than $10 billion to buy back affected models and compensate drivers. The automaker still is not done yet as it is facing penalties and compensation payments for the 3.0-liter V-6 diesel, as well as Justice Department and Federal Trade Commission probes and possible sanctions.

In brighter news, Volkswagen Thursday reported its first sales improvement in the U.S. since diesel sales were halted by Dieselgate. At that time, diesels were 20 percent of VW’s deliveries.

Source: Automotive News


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