WASHINGTON Feb 7 Volkswagen Group of America on
Tuesday announced a U.S. subsidiary that will manage $2 billion
in investments in zero emission vehicle infrastructure and
awareness programs over a decade as part of a court settlement
over its excess diesel emissions.
The world's largest automaker by sales said the unit plans
to install more than 500 charging stations nationwide, including
more than 300 stations in 15 metro areas, and to develop a
high-speed, cross-country network consisting of more than 200
VW will also launch a "Green City" initiative in a
yet-to-be-identified California city to pilot future concepts,
including potentially a ZEV-based shuttle service, an EV-based
car-sharing program, or a ZEV transit program.
The company will make four $500 million investments every 30
months and must get approval from the California Air Resources
Board and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for spending.
VW must submit draft plans to regulators on the first
funding plan by Feb. 22.
The Electrify America LLC unit, based in Reston, Virginia,
is a wholly owned subsidiary of Volkswagen Group of America and
is separate from Volkswagen AG's automobile brands.
The German automaker's settlement on excess diesel emissions
from nearly 600,000 U.S. vehicles requires that $800 million be
spent in California and $1.2 billion be invested throughout the
rest of the United States.
In December, California said Volkswagen agreed to add at
least three additional electric vehicles, including an SUV, in
the state by 2020 and must sell an average of 5,000 electric
vehicles annually through 2025 in the state.
Funds spent on education and outreach must be brand neutral
and cannot feature Volkswagen vehicles. Charging stations must
be accessible to all vehicles.
VW named long-time auto executive Mark McNabb as chief
executive of Electrify America. McNabb has overseen the diesel
settlement program and will continue to do so in his new role.
Volkswagen halted sales of diesels in the United States in
late 2015 and has said it has no plans to resume U.S. diesel
Volkswagen is set to plead guilty on Feb. 24 to three felony
counts as part of a plea agreement with the U.S. Justice
Department to resolve charges it installed software in U.S.
vehicles to allow them to emit excess pollution.
In total, VW has agreed to spend up to $25 billion in the
United States to address claims from owners, environmental
regulators, U.S. states and dealers, and offered to buy back
about 500,000 polluting vehicles.
(Reporting by David Shepardson; Editing by Dan Grebler)