Volkswagen’s required $800-million investment in California draws criticism – Los Angeles Times

Posted: Thursday, April 06, 2017

For California engineers who usually toil in obscurity in state laboratories, the Volkswagen investigation was a rare moment in the spotlight. They helped discover how the German automaker was illegally evading emissions rules, leading to billions of dollars in settlements and an international recall of vehicles that were falsely promoted as running on “clean diesel” engines.

But the money generated by the Volkswagen case has been the source of increasing criticism from some lawmakers, advocates and regulators.

The controversy centers on $800 million that the company is required to spend in California to support zero-emission vehicles with charging stations and other promotional efforts such as advertising about the benefits of electric cars. The investment is one part of a larger legal settlement negotiated by state and federal officials, and it’s considered an extraordinary opportunity for California to boost its lagging effort to get more clean cars on the road.

Unlike other penalties that Volkswagen must pay, the company has more control over how the $800 million will be spent, and it’s allowed to profit from the charging stations it’s required to install.

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