EV charging companies fear $2-billion VW settlement could hurt competition

VW e-golf

As part of its punishment for hoodwinking the whole world in its dirty diesel debacle, Volkswagen has agreed to invest $2 billion in EV charging infrastructure in the US, $800 million of it in California. The exact plan, which is yet to be released, will be overseen by the California Air Resources Board and the EPA.

More infrastructure investment is doubtless a good thing, but 2 billion is rather a lot of money, and some EV charging companies are afraid that having that much cash to wave around in a still-nascent industry could give the German automaker unprecedented influence over the market, hurting competition.

In a letter to the US Justice Department, via Reuters, 28 companies, including ChargePoint, EV Connect and the Electric Vehicle Charging Association, called for an independent administrator to be appointed, to ensure that the program treats all industry participants fairly.

“The agreement shouldn’t pick winners and losers, especially given that this emerging market transition will in no small part define 21st-century transportation,” said the letter. “The program should be structured to benefit drivers in California and across the nation, not enable the settling defendants to enter or influence the markets for charging and fueling equipment and services.”

The group of companies also told the DOJ that regulators should earmark some of the funds for a rebate program to incentivize employers, apartment owners, workplaces and other players to install EV charging stations.

 

Source: Reuters via Jalopnik