The $2 billion 'Electrify America' program - part of the Dieselgate settlement - will bring EV chargers to 15 cities and cross-country highways.
The $15 billion settlement Volkswagen thrashed out with U.S. authorities following the Dieselgate scandal included a provision to spend $2 billion investing in electric vehicles, particularly charging infrastructure.
At the time, it wasn’t clear what the game plan for the investments would be. But VW has now laid out its vision, giving it the refreshingly unambiguous title “Electrify America”.
It’s an ambitious program. In a release on the official website, VW said: “We will build a nationwide network of workplace, community, and highway chargers that are convenient and reliable. Our investment will enable millions of American to discover the benefits of electric driving.”
Investments will focus on installing more than 300 charging stations - including fast chargers - in 15 metropolitan areas across the U.S., and developing a cross-country network of at least 200 rapid charging stations, VW said. Locations could include apartment and office buildings, retail outlets, and parking lots. Densely populated metro areas and heavily-trafficked cross-country highways will be given priority in the initial phases of the program. VW hopes to start construction in 2017.
The settlement also calls for VW to build awareness about EVs, charging availability and the benefits of electric vehicles generally. Ride and drive events, multi-channel advertising, website, social media, and educational programs will be launched to that end.
The final piece of the puzzle is a “Green City” initiative in an as-yet-unnamed Californian city that will pilot “sustainable mobility” concepts, such as zero-emissions shuttle services, ride-sharing, and public transit.
Investments will be made in four 30 month cycles over the next ten years. VW is taking proposals for potential investments, hence the lack of specifics on the plans. The first round closes in January, when the initial investment plans will be presented to the Environmental Protection Agency and California Air Resources Board.