Nearly $3 billion in funding from Volkswagen’s Dieselgate settlement designed to go toward cleaner transportation in the US is being underutilized in EV infrastructure and adoption, according to a recent study which grades all states based on their spending plans. In fact, at least 14 states could see all of their allotted funds go toward diesel vehicle projects.
Volkswagen, which was at the center of the ‘Dieselgate’ scandal that exposed diesel engines as not being as clean as some automakers led regulators to believe, is now suggesting a phase-out of the huge diesel subsidies offered in Europe. Expand Expanding Close
The White House’s proposed EPA budget cuts nearly all of the Agency’s funding for vehicle emissions testing, as reported by Reuters. The proposed cuts to the EPA’s budget would remove 99 percent of the agency’s $48 million in funding for vehicle testing, expecting automakers to pay increased fees to make up the difference. But according to Margo Oge, former head of the EPA’s Office of Transportation and Air Quality, the proposed budget would require “pretty much shutting down the testing lab.”
We have a recent example of why this is a very bad idea. In 2015, it was discovered that Volkswagen had been cheating on emissions tests in the US and Europe for years, installing cheat devices on their diesel cars to emit up to 40 times the allowable amount of some toxic pollutants. The scandal came to be known as “Dieselgate,” and a recent MIT study found that VW’s emissions cheating would likely result in 1,200 premature deaths in Europe alone. This deceit was uncovered by a small lab in West Virginia and the data was turned over to the EPA and CARB for enforcement. Fiat Chrysler and Mitsubishi have also been implicated in similar emissions cheating schemes, and Daimler is currently under scrutiny.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today issued a notice of violation to Fiat Chrysler (FCA) over alleged violations of the Clean Air Act for installing and failing to disclose engine management software that changed the emission results of their vehicles – just like several other automakers over the past year.
While those ‘DieselGate’ scandals are disappointing for the light they shine on what is an unscrupulous corporate culture of cheating, they also clearly show that the best way to reduce emissions from vehicles is electric propulsion and not increasingly more deceivingly efficient diesel engines. Expand Expanding Close
Earlier this year – not long after the Dieselgate scandal – the Volkswagen Group announced a new direction for its lineup of vehicles with a plan to introduce 20 new electric vehicles through the group’s brands by the end of the decade.
Today, the automaker extended the timeline to 2025 and said that it will introduce “more than 30 new electric vehicles during the next 10 years”. Earlier this year, CEO Matthias Müller was talking about both all-electric and plug-in hybrids, but now he is making a statement to go all-electric and confirmed that the “more than 30 new models” will all be “purely battery-powered electric vehicles (BEVs)”. Expand Expanding Close
Due to Volkswagen’s and the Environmental Protection Agency’s incapacity to come to deal after discussions over how to fix the cars affected by the emissions tests cheating, the U.S. Department of Justice officially sued the German automaker on behalf of the EPA in federal court on Monday.Expand Expanding Close
Dieselgate is starting to significantly impact Volkswagen’s sales in the US. The company published its November reports this week (see below) and the company suffered a 24.72% average decrease across all models.
The all-electric e-Golf is one of the rare model bringing the average up, but sales haven’t really increased since the scandal. They delivered 472 e-Golf units in November, up from 119 during the same period last, but it was the first month of availability in 2014. For a better comparison, VW delivered 596 e-Golfs in October. Expand Expanding Close