| WASHINGTON, April 26
WASHINGTON, April 26 Major automakers and other
groups are raising objections to the way Volkswagen AG
wants to spend $2 billion on electric vehicle
infrastructure and projects, as part of the German automaker's
atonement for diesel emissions cheating.
Volkswagen plans to install hundreds of EV charging stations
nationwide as part of the 10-year plan. About $800 million of
the total will be spent in California as part of a settlement
with the government after the German automaker admitted to
secretly installing cheating software in 580,000 diesel vehicles
allowing them to emit excess pollution.
The California Air Resources Board is considering whether to
approve the $200 million spending plan for the first 30 months
and is reviewing the 120 comments submitted, said spokesman Dave
Automakers object to the proposed locations of some charging
stations in areas that already have many electric vehicles and
have concerns about competitive advantages VW could get from the
program. An environmental group said more of the stations should
be built in low-income areas.
Also, Toyota Motor Corp, Honda Motor Co
and Hyundai Motor Co wrote a joint letter urging
California to require Volkswagen to spend a "significant
portion" of the money on hydrogen fuel cell fueling stations,
saying the current commitment by California to get 100 such
stations in place by 2020 is "not on track."
In its initial California spending plan, Volkswagen wants to
allocate $120 million to build more than 400 highway and
community EV charging stations by 2019 in high-traffic areas.
Several automakers said in their comments that they would prefer
that the new charging stations be installed instead in areas
that have little electric vehicle traffic.
Ford Motor Co said it "has reservations about having a
key electrification driver dependent on and ultimately
controlled by one automotive competitor." Ford added VW should
target areas where "demonstrated market interest does not
BMW AG said Volkswagen "should not be afforded an
implicit comparative advantage through its ability to control
day-to-day operations of consumer charging events" such as
waiting times, pricing and billing.
Under the agreement with California and the Justice
Department, funds spent on education and outreach must be
brand-neutral and cannot feature Volkswagen vehicles. Charging
stations must be accessible to all vehicles.
The three automakers who want Volkswagen to spend more on
building hydrogen fueling stations are trying to sell fuel cell
Volkswagen declined to comment on the automaker letters, but
said its goal is to "make it easy for as many (zero emission
vehicle) drivers as possible to enjoy the collective charging
The Sierra Club in a letter to California urged VW to
"rethink its infrastructure proposal to include more investments
in community-based charging in disadvantaged communities."
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency this month approved
VW's initial $300 million spending plan for EV projects outside
California through 2019, including having 450 charging stations
in place by then.
VW will also launch a $44 million "Green City" initiative to
pilot future concepts. It expects the city to be Sacramento.
In December, Volkswagen agreed to add three additional
electric vehicle models in California by 2020 and must sell an
average of 5,000 electric vehicles annually through 2025 in the
(Reporting by David Shepardson; Editing by David Gregorio)