Volkswagen has launched a major independent electric vehicle initiative that will not only support the increased use of zero-emission vehicles (ZEV) but will also manage a $2 billion investment program into ZEVs and their infrastructure.
Electrify America will maintain the $2 billion ZEV infrastructure investment program mandated by the settlement of the 2.0-liter turbodiesel class action lawsuit last October. Leaders of the 10-year investment program are three industry veterans, Mark McNabb, Brendan Jones and Jan Vycital. McNabb is the chief executive officer, Jones is the chief operating officer and Vycital is the chief financial officer. McNabb reports to Francisco Javier Garcia Sanz, member of the Board of Management of Volkswagen AG.
Standalone Project Organization
Electrify America is a standalone organization that will direct a series of investments aimed at developing and building out an extensive ZEV network. It will include charging stations for current and future electric vehicles.
And, while much of its work and investment will be infrastructure development, another portion will target education. Electrify America’s educational mission hopes to build awareness of ZEVs in the U.S. The VW unit hopes the program will result in more ZEVs on the road.
Interestingly, an outcry from many competitors greeted the settlement announcement. They argued that if VW had a direct role in the settlement, it would have an unfair advantage in the market. Those fears have turned out to be groundless as Electrify America’s mandate is to make its campaigns brand-neutral.
In describing Electrify’s management team, Garcia Sanz said McNabb has “extensive knowledge of the U.S. automotive industry, broad experience managing small and large organization and strong leadership skills.” He continued that he was confident in McNabb’s ability to lead “Electrify America in its mission to power electric mobility from coast to coast.”
McNabb was a central figure in the intensive talks that resulted in the settlement that established Electrify America. A wholly owned subsidiary of Volkswagen Group of America, Electrify America is separate from VW’s car brands. The unit’s headquarters is in Reston, Va.
From its headquarters, Electrify America will direct a program mandated by the turbodiesel engine emissions settlement. Part of the agreement tells VW to direct $800 million to California, one of the world’s biggest ZEV markets. The deal also sends another $1.2 billion to programs across the country.
The VW subsidiary plans to work with partners across the country to develop, operate and maintain infrastructure and implement programs. Some of those programs include:
- Installing chargers in 15 metro areas. The charger clusters would consist of 300-plus L2 or DC Fast Chargers – 50 to 150-plus kilowatts
- Developing a high-speed, cross-country network of 200-plus stations – DC Fast Chargers
- Increasing awareness and fostering electric vehicle (EV) education, charging availability and the benefits of EVs
- Launching a Green City initiative in a California municipality to pilot future concepts in sustainable mobility, such as a ZEV-based shuttle service, an EV-based car-sharing program or a ZEV transit application
30-Month Investment Cycles
To accomplish these goals, Electrify America will use four 30-month investment cycles. The ZEV investment plans are subject to approval by the California Air Resources Board for California-specific programs and the Environmental Protection Agency for projects across the U.S.
The VW subsidiary is accepting proposals for the investment cycles on a rolling basis. Those interested in submitting proposals for seeking more about the program should visit Electrify America’s website www.electrifyamerica.com.