Klein & Wilson

Volkswagen works toward redemption

The fallout from the Volkswagen fraud case is apparently turning into further business opportunities for the State of California and vulnerable communities. As part of the multibillion dollar settlement between state and federal regulators and the German automaker over the decade long hoax over its diesel engine efficiencies, Volkswagen will be tasked with expanding a clean vehicle infrastructure across the state.

California’s Air Resources Board had debated Volkswagen’s plan because of questions about its potential effectiveness. The automaker was required to spend at least $300 million over the next few years as part of a commitment to spend $2 billion over the next ten years on zero emissions resources and vehicles. Board members were skeptical of Volkswagen’s plan because it lacked sufficient detail regarding how it would spend the required 35 percent of its investment in disadvantaged communities. 

It is no coincidence that air pollution in these communities, especially those in rural central California, is higher than other areas. It is reported that many children in these communities have asthma, and when the air quality is poor, they cannot play outside. Hence the need for a genuine commitment to a zero emissions infrastructure.

In the meantime, Volkswagen appears prepared to meet its commitments. It reportedly will spend $75 million on a network of charging stations along central California highways and $45 million on community charging stations in those areas as well.

The settlement and investment plans are examples of carefully negotiated settlements that experienced attorneys can help with when they are in the throes of litigation. 

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