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EPA Considering Measure To Make Volkswagen Build EVs in the U.S.

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On: Wed, Feb 24, 2016 at 12:41PM | By: Carl Malek

EPA Considering Measure To Make Volkswagen Build EVs in the U.S.

Volkswagen currently faces the prospect of enduring one of the biggest punishments ever dealt to an automaker, due to dieselgate. But, if a new report is to be believed, a new twist is in store for the beleaguered German car firm.

Amid the mass of fines and penalties that the EPA is now considering for Volkswagen is an interesting provision that would force Volkswagen to build electric vehicles and a charging network in the U.S. According to a report released by the German publication Welt An Sonntag, it is an interesting method of mitigating the environmental impact of VW's diesel engines and the emissions cheating software that allowed them to skirt EPA rules.

The establishment of both a charging network and additional EV production capacity would require a significant investment and may take several years to fully be implemented. This approach has been spearheaded by several dozen clean energy executives, including outspoken Tesla CEO Elon Musk. This showed in December when Musk and the forementioned executives wrote an open letter to the California Air Resources Board (CARB) stating that a "giant sum" fine would most likely go to waste. The letter elaborated: "Instead, direct VW to accelerate greatly its rollout of zero emission vehicles, which by their very nature, have zero emissions and thus present zero opportunities for cheating, and also do not require any enforcement dollars to verify".

Currently Volkswagen faces the possibility of paying billions of dollars in fines and costs of repairs/replacements if the EPA pushes for the maximum allowable penalty for each diesel-equipped vehicle sold in the U.S. market. The sheer magnitude of these penalties could serve as a strategic piece of leverage for a potential settlement, including the unique idea being championed by Musk and his alliance of executives.

Neither the EPA nor Volkswagen have confirmed the validity of this report, but stay tuned for developments as they become available.


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