Charging Coalition Asks Feds for Fair Treatment As $2 Billion VW Settlement Unfolds

Plug-in electrified vehicle charging companies have asked the federal government to exercise fair market standards as Volkswagen Group invests $2 billion in clean car infrastructure as part of its “dieselgate” settlement.

Charging companies are concerned VW could have too much power in the process to shape the developing charging infrastructure and it could hurt market competition, Reuters reported. VW has agreed to invest $1.2 billion nationally and $800 million in California as penalties for equipping diesel cars sold in the U.S. with software designed to cheat pollution emissions tests.

“The agreement shouldn’t pick winners and losers, especially given that this emerging market transition will in no small part define 21st century transportation,” 28 signers, including ChargePoint, EV Connect, and Electric Vehicle Charging Association, said in a letter to the U.S. Justice Department on Friday.

The coalition has requested that an independent administrator oversee the VW settlement. They think it’s a key element to ensuring that the program treats all industry participants fairly. The letter also said that regulators should earmark some of the funds for a rebate program to incentivize employers, apartment owners, workplaces, and other facility managers to support growth in the charging infrastructure.

“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 (zero emission vehicle) charging and fueling equipment and services,” the letter said.

VW did not respond to a request for comments from Reuters.

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VW’s plan for spending the $2 billion will be overseen by the California Air Resources Board and the Environmental Protection Agency. The charging infrastructure plan has yet to be released.

Charging companies have been very sensitive to keeping the growing infrastructure up to fair market standards. The Electric Vehicle Charging Association and charging companies recently filed a request with the California Public Utilities Commission to consider a plan they say would allow Pacific Gas & Electric to boost PEV adoption in Northern California. They’ve asked that PG&E’s push to deploy its own charging network in Northern California be stopped, as it would create an anti-competitive marketplace in that region for charging companies.

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