Volkswagen has formed a new subsidiary to manage its $2 billion penance for the dirty diesel scandal. The new company, Electrify America, will be based in Reston, Virginia, and Volkswagen Group of America Chief Operating Officer Mark McNabb will serve as its CEO.
Electrify America will build and maintain a “high-speed, cross-country” network of over 200 DC charging stations, as well as thousands of chargers in 15 US metropolitan areas.
The party starts in California, where the company is required to spend $800 million of the total settlement. The first phase of infrastructure investment will consist of 350 or more fast-charging stations in San Francisco and San Jose, at locations such as multi‐family homes, workplaces, retail outlets and municipal parking lots. The company plans to install both 150 kW and 320 kW DC fast chargers with at least five chargers per station.
A dozen other cities, including Los Angeles, San Diego and Sacramento, will be targeted in future investment cycles.
“Charging stations will be located first in the areas with the highest anticipated ZEV demand; this is based on the forecast penetration rates of ZEVs in each region and the estimated gap between the supply and demand of charging infrastructure in those regions,” reads the company’s published plan. “In aggregate, the Electrify America first cycle investment will aim to establish a network of approximately 2,000‐3,000 non‐proprietary chargers across 400+ individual stations.”
The settlement has not been without controversy. Some players in the charging market believe that, far from punishing VW, the deal could give it an unfair advantage in the still-materializing charging market. Others point out that the agreement includes several provisions to safeguard the interests of the public (including the requirement to install non‐proprietary chargers), and that VW’s 2 big ones will end up being no more than a decent down-payment towards the national EV infrastructure of the future.