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Volkswagen to build 500 EV charging stations with $2 billion plan

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【Summary】Volkswagen recently announced its 2-billion plan to build infrastructure for plug-in cars. And this move is seen by many as an endeavour to rebuild its image to opt for clean energy vehicles after the diesel emission scandal.

Original Claire    Feb 16, 2017 3:30 PM PT
Volkswagen to build 500 EV charging stations with $2 billion plan

After the diesel emission scandal, Volkswagen, as the largest European automaker, recently announced its 2-billion plan to build infrastructure for its plug-in cars. And this move is seen by many as an endeavour to rebuild its image to opt for clean energy vehicles. 

In the plan outline, Volkswagen America has set up a new corporation called Electrify America to monitor VW's money spending and achievements in implementation. And Mark McNabb, COO of VW America will serve as Electrify America's chief executive officer. The auto giant will have to build 200 high-speed charging stations across the country, and 300 more stations within 15 metropolitan cities. Meanwhile, it will fund "brand-neutral" advertising campaigns that aim to bring social awareness on electric cars. 

"We will build a nationwide network of workplace, community, and highway chargers that are convenient and reliable. Our investment will enable millions of Americans to discover the benefits of electric driving." Electrify America said in its company website. 

Meanwhile, the newly-founded VW subsidiary is also planning to hire 50 employees and open a testing ground in California named "Green City," to specialize in zero-emission vehicle testing, including green shuttle and car sharing programs featuring electric cars. 

This is part of the agreement made after the diesel controversy last year with the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the California Air Resources Board. The VW diesel emission scandal erupted on September, 2015, when EPA found out the European automaker has sold nearly half a million 2.0-liter vehicles intentionally programmed to cheat on US emission tests. The company has stopped selling diesel cars in the United States since 2015. Later in June 2016, EPA issued a $14.7 billion settlement that requires VW to obey for the next 10 years. 

"The CAA 2.0 liter partial settlement requires Volkswagen to invest $2 billion in zero-emission vehicle (ZEV) charging infrastructure and in the promotion of ZEVs.  To that end, Volkswagen will invest $800 million in California and $1.2 billion throughout the rest of the nation, over the next decade." EPA announced the plan on its website. 

Volkswagen said it will "develop, operate and maintain" the projects. It will put forward more detailed plan with spending schedule at the end of this month, and promised to pay out the $2 billion through four $5 million instalments over 5 years. 

Currently, VW is only marketing one model of EV in US - the e-Golf. However, with VW's ambitious goal of selling 3 million electric vehicles by 2025, the company has brought up strategic plans to introduce 20 more new EV models by 2020.

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