Volkswagen could make money from the $2 billion it is required to spend on zero-emission vehicle projects by the settlement it agreed over the emissions cheating scandal, Automotive News reports.

$2 billion of the record-setting $15 billion settlement will be spent on ZEV projects over the next decade. $800 million will go to projects in California, and the rest to the other 49 states.

Responding to questions from lawmakers, the Environmental Protection Agency’s enforcement chief, Cynthia Giles, said in a letter that VW is not specifically prohibited from profiting from the investments it makes.

“The ZEV investment requirement will be a business investment made by Volkswagen,” Giles said. “VW may see a benefit from mandatory ZEV investments, and that would not be inconsistent with the [settlement.] Volkswagen could have decided to make these investments even without this enforcement case, but now it is required to do so.”

The House Energy and Commerce Committee has called a hearing next week, during which the ZEV investment provision of the settlement is likely to come under scrutiny.

The Committee’s oversight panel chairman, Rep. Tim Murphy, R-Pa., said: “For over a year now the committee has been examining the VW cheating scandal and remains committed to holding VW accountable for its actions, as they represent a fundamental violation of public trust. These provisions aim to remedy the market and environmental impacts of VW’s deceitful actions; however, questions remain in regards to the implementation of these provisions.”

Under the terms of the settlement, VW must take input from local agencies when choosing which ZEV projects to invest in, and obtain EPA approval. However, Giles admitted in a blog that the EPA’s role is “limited”.

Giles wrote that the EPA will “ensure that VW complies with the requirements for stakeholder engagement, that the investments VW makes are truly brand neutral, and that VW complies with all the terms of the settlement.

“EPA does not make the investment decisions,” Giles added. “Volkswagen makes the decisions, informed by the input it gets from stakeholders, the changing market conditions, and bound by the detailed constraints in the agreement - but we will make sure that Volkswagen plays by the rules laid out in the agreement the court approved.”

Source: Automotive News

Got a tip for us? Email: