The litigation surrounding Volkswagen’s emission cheating scandal has come to an end, and the details of the settlement are out. The results may benefit Michigan thanks to outstanding work by MICAN partner organization, The Ecology Center.
The German automaker has agreed to a $14.7 billion settlement, which makes this the largest auto company settlement in US history. While most of the settlement is targeted at reimbursing owners of VW diesel vehicles to replace the emitting vehicles, $2 billion of that was set-aside for electric vehicle infrastructure and education projects. An additional $2.7 billion will be distributed to states for emission mitigation projects that include the replacement of diesel vehicles as well as additional infrastructure investments.
The Ecology Center, a founding member of MICAN, played a lead role in working to encourage VW to give particular attention to Michigan and the Midwest region when making its investment plans. Michigan and the Midwest should be at the center of electric vehicle expansion. We are at the center of electric vehicle development and have strong existing relationships with utility companies on the development of charging infrastructure and many other programs aimed towards market acceleration. At the crossroads of America, Michigan can play an integral role in any highway corridor DC Fast Charging network.
The Ecology Center is also working to encourage VW to make its investments in areas that are disproportionately exposed to air pollution and to disadvantaged and low-income communities that are impacted by air pollution at higher than average rates. Additionally, VW has been encouraged to support charging technology that maximizes charging loads when the grid is underused, like overnight and when renewable energy input is high. A commitment to this kind of technology will keep our air cleaner and our utility bills low.
The VW investment plan is due to be submitted this week. Look for more updates soon on this important program.
For more information, see The Ecology Center's coverage.