Guest essay by Eric Worrall
As part of a legal settlement for last year’s Volkswagen emission test scandal, Volkswagen agreed to invest two billion dollars in US electric car infrastructure. The only problem is, nobody told Volkswagen exactly how to spend the money.
Electric car charging station companies issue warning over VW settlement
Electric vehicle charging companies are calling for independent oversight of the $2 billion Volkswagen AG (VOWG_p.DE) is required to invest in clean car infrastructure, saying VW should not have the power to shape the nascent electric car charging space.
The German automaker agreed to invest the money, which includes $1.2 billion nationally and $800 million in California, as part of its penalties for equipping hundreds of thousands of its diesel vehicles sold in the United States with software designed to cheat tailpipe emissions tests.
While charging station companies called the money a potential “game changer,” they worry that if it is misspent, it could hurt competition.
“The agreement shouldn’t pick winners and losers, especially given that this emerging market transition will in no small part define 21st century transportation,” twenty eight companies, including ChargePoint, EV Connect and Electric Vehicle Charging Association, said in a letter to the U.S. Justice Department on Friday.
This kind of hilarity is a situation which can only arise in artificial politician driven markets. Volkswagen has essentially been roped in to help subsidise a market which shouldn’t exist. But nobody told them who they were supposed to subsidise, and how.
I doubt anybody in Volkswagen expects to make a profit, but there is no rule which says they can’t try to rig outcomes, as long as they stay within the law, to attempt to recover as much of their money as possible from this mess – even if their “investment” ends up totally trashing the electric car infrastructure industry.