Let’s Look At How States Are Spending VW Dieselgate Settlement Money

JUL 9 2018 BY VANJA KLJAIC 69

While there is no silver lining for Volkswagen, the settlement will directly impact the rise of electric vehicle adoption rates across the United States

The total for the emissions violations fines the Volkswagen Group will have to pay is well over $30.4 billion (26 billion euros). While seemingly there is no silver lining for the car maker, the whole situation is helping fuel the rise of electric vehicles, buses and charging station nationwide. Consequently, this is s a clear-cut signal that by proper implementation of rules and relations, we might actually be able to keep in check even the biggest corporations in the world.

Furthermore, almost $3 billion stemming from the settlement will be dedicated strictly to the funding of efforts aimed at cutting diesel engine pollution. Therefore, it will be interesting to see how particular states nationwide are spending the appropriated amount from this settlement.

For the most part, it’s up to the local governments and officials to decide what to do with the money. However, there’s a catch; almost all the funding must be used to reduce the levels of nitrogen oxide, with only 15 percent of the entire sum will be allowed to be used for electric-vehicle charging infrastructure. The settlement requires that specific states receive a settlement in conjunction with how many Volkswagens with emission-test-cheating software were registered within their borders. For some, that means a hefty one-time boost to their energy and environment saving efforts.

Electric Cars

EVgo’s latest fast charging station to feature 4 “High-Power” 350 kW charging terminals, as well as a solar canopy and battery back-up

The list of funds available is topped by the state of California with $422.6 set to receive. For the most part of the last decade, California has been at the forefront of the ecological game and the most progressive state concerning reducing emission rates. Next in line is Texas, with $209.3 million. Both states will thus receive a hefty financial boost in their ecology related projects and budgets. The states are required to spend the money in a 15-year timeframe, per a plan laid out in detail.

For more than 10 states, the long-term plans on spending the funding in question have already been finalized, as reported by Sierra Club – an environmental organization tasked with tracking this effort. Most have their goals set at renewing public service vehicles and improving directly related infrastructure projects (eg. installing charging stations).

Plan For California

California is planning to spend most of its money on replacing heavy-duty trucks, buses, and other commercial vehicles and heavy industrial equipment with newer, zero-emission models. The state also plans to invest heavily in electric vehicle charging stations and into additional efforts to reduce emissions at freight facilities. For example, this may include power grids set up at ports, allowing ocean-going container ships to utilize cleaner electric power for their power needs when docked, instead of relying on burning heavy bunker fuel.

Plan For Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania will mostly focus on its most densely populated areas – Philadelphia and Pittsburgh – to reduce nitric oxide pollution. This will directly affect areas where some of its most impoverished citizens, living in what can be considered the poorest neighborhoods of said cities, tend to be disproportionately affected by air pollution. Additionally, Pennsylvania plans to retrofit diesel-burning locomotives, marine engines and other equipment that pollutes the air with eco-friendly, modernized solutions. Since most of such facilities are located near or adjacent to urban areas with low-income housing, this will directly improve the air quality of its most fragile group of citizens.

Minnesota’s Plan

The northern state is slated to receive $47 million as part of the settlement. The state intends to spend the majority of the money on grants to local public services and private business. The grants will then be used to help replace literally hundreds of diesel-powered school buses, ferries, tugboats and other heavy-duty vehicles producing the harmful nitric dioxide. In turn, Minnesota might be one of the first states in the U.S. to have a large electric bus school fleet, showcasing what the future holds for the people who will be the most affected with air quality issue problems in the future. Finally, the state plans to develop approximately 65 electric vehicle charging stations, improving its infrastructure towards electric vehicles.

Georgia’s Plan

Georgia plans to spend its $63.6 million awarded in the settlement mostly on public projects. This includes obtaining a fleet of electric buses and vehicle charging depots. For example, the state plans to replace terminal-to-terminal shuttle buses at the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport with eco-friendly electric versions. With Atlanta handling well over 100,000,000 passengers per year, this move will greatly help to reduce the pollution in the adjacent area.

Plan for Connecticut

Connecticut plans to spend its $55.7 million that the state is set to receive in two distinct ways: First, the state plans to spend $7.5 million of the total amount on various grants that will help improve their public services fleets. Mostly, this means that either fully electric or hybrid school and city buses – considered a big source of nitric oxide pollution – will be purchased. Second, the state will follow the path beaten by other nationwide local governments and improve its electric vehicle infrastructure and other respectable eco-friendly areas.

“This is a landmark moment,” Mary Nichols, chair of the California Air Resources Board, said in a statement. “Over the next 10 years, this plan will put in place not only tools to clean up VW’s excess emissions, but also to help achieve further reductions of smog-forming pollution for decades to come.”

Additionally, Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy said reducing vehicle emissions is key in the fight against global warming. “While it will be impossible to offset the entirety of pollution that resulted from VW’s emissions cheating,” he said, “the release of these funds will help to improve air quality and protect public health in Connecticut.”

Source: Autonews

Categories: Volkswagen

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69 Comments on "Let’s Look At How States Are Spending VW Dieselgate Settlement Money"

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I’d like to know what the NY state Thruway is doing. My understanding is they just received a lot of bids to install DCFC along the Thruway corridor, but VW’s Electrify America also has plans to install stations along that same corridor. It sounds like maybe EA is not going to have them at the Thruway Service plazas, if the Thruway is putting requests for proposals out there. I don’t really understand it, the Thruway could save a lot of money and the EA stations could get a lot more use if they’d just put them in the service plazas. Wishing I knew more about the details here.

I’m also a NYer, and to say that EV adoption and infrastructure build out in “upstate” (i.e. anything north of NYC burbs) are lagging would be a distinct understatement. Most days when I’m running errands around Rochester or in the Finger Lakes, my Leaf is the only EV in sight. And while there are some charging stations around, most are L2 units not in convenient locations; the DCFC locations are virtually non-existent.

The I-90 corridor, which links Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse, and Albany, and is a prime way to get to the Finger Lakes for many, seems to be a no brainer for fast chargers.

Agreed. The Thruway is definitely planning on installations, but it seems wasteful for them to buy stations for the plazas if Electrify America could just put them in for free. If you look at EA’s location map, they have several planned along the Thruway. I don’t get the seeming lack of coordination, so hopefully I just don’t have all the details.

Traversing the Finger Lakes can produce range-anxiety for gas-car owners. Lake Seneca has no DCFC, but Cayuga does. At least two, unreliable units from my experience.

VW’s funds go on top of what “the Stimulus” left behind, which goes along with other mostly governmental choices in L2 infrastructure. With Porsche inconvenient dealership chargers (regardless of diesel-gate), I think the “kluge factor” may remain high.

New York is in the “ZEV MOU”, which I think is still a thing. That effort, if not too low-income/urban, will perhaps put L3 in the most logical highway configuration.

These plans are ridiculous. Money is from VW cheating on personal vehicles, yet the money is to be spent on totally unrelated things like ships and commercial trucks and, worst of all, urine soaked buses. Money should be spent on helping clean up personal vehicles become cleaner, which is setting up charging infrastructure. All others are politicians hijacking the money for their own cronies and glory.

hey man the urinators need transportation too!

The Nitrogen oxide pollution from personal vehicles is negligible. If you want to reduce pollution you have to start with the biggest polluters.

You know nothing about air pollution or internal combustion engines. NOX emissions are inversely proportional to engine efficiency, that’s why gas mileage got so bad in the early ‘80s. Most major cities in the United States are in non-attainment for NOX levels and that is caused mostly by vehicles.

If personal vehicle is negligible, why bother with fine from VW? Fact is, they matter, especially since those pollution occur at population centers and affecting more people negatively than ships. that operate far from cities.

Another thing that’s messed up is where is benefit for Tesla in this? They probably made up for all the VW cheaters, and they should be receiving their share. Instead, EA chargers do not have Tesla supercharging handles.

This has absolutely nothing to do with Tesla.

This has far more to do with Tesla than with buses, ships, rail.

No, NOx pollution lifetime near the surface is measured in hours (like 2 to 8 hours), so primary concern is personal transportation, power generation, and other commercial transportation like trucks. Sea going boats don’t need to worry as much about NOx (they need to worry about long life pollutants and emissions of CO2).

Tell that to the sick kids in London and Paris – where the proliferation of ‘ZERO Emission’ CLEAN diesels were making them sick. I guess they conveniently ignored particulate pollution.

Personal vehicles that sit idle much of the time anyway and use tantalizingly little fuel in comparison to buses, locomotives, ships, and trucks are the absolute worst place to put the money to achieve any meaningful reductions.

(⌐■_■) Trollnonymous

+100!!!!

The point of the settlement is that if they are not taking all the cheating VWs off the road, they have to make up for the extra emissions in other ways. Replacing buses and delivery trucks makes perfect sense, since these spew out a lot of emissions in densely populated areas.

shoulda got that eGolf when VW was deigning to actually sell it in California. 36kWh is about the 99.9% minimum I need for my daily in-city driving

Get an Ioniq EV instead. Same rated range, charges faster, unbelievable lease deal.

Compliance no one can get one

15 new in L.A.

He said California. If there is a place where you can get a compliance vehicle, it’s there…

The lease deal is only good for people who drive a lot. So depending on your needs it can actually be a terrible deal.

For example, you can lease a Bolt at 10K for significantly less than the current Ionic lease, granted you have to pay for your own electricity and chiropractor.

The plans for Minnesota are quite extensive.

Here’s a link with lots of detail… https://www.pca.state.mn.us/air/ev-fast-charging-station-grants

So how do we prevent the state of MN from buying more diesel school and transit buses? The TCO is obvious with spending there, plus there’s New Flyer in St. Cloud (always nice to have tax dollars come back to you).

Currently VW is trying to dump it’s “fixed” tdi, what that really means is they produce less power, and hopefully produce less pollution.
You can get one for around 8k, a brand new car sort of. I suppose they could not afford to keep them on lots too much longer as they would become unsellable.

I wonder if you could buy it as a glider and junk the ICE parts, make it a retrofit?

It could be done, though you would need a shop, and know what you were doing.
I suppose the body, frame, non-engine components could make it worth it .

Sure, you can do an EV conversion on just about anything.

You can do it but you’ll just end up with a Frankenstein that costs more than buying a used Leaf and probably doesn’t work as well.

They should just fix them up and ship them off to the developing nations.

What?!?! You say that Texas is to get the second biggest pot of money and then you completely ignore what Texas is doing!? That’s not very good reporting.

Think of what would have happened if GM and Standard Oil had lost a settlement that they had to pay to rebuilt every mile of streetcar track they had ripped out in the 1940’s when they had replaced with dirty buses.

But spending the money to replace diesel buses with electric is a good start in that diesel buses pound for pound are very dirty.

Even if GM didn’t rip out the street cars, they were doomed. People would rather drive personal cars than share space with others, especially since those public transportation is frequented by people who urinate on the seats.

I’ve ridden the bus in Richmond and I haven’t seen anyone who wasn’t bus broken come on the bus.

The Richmond Streetcar system in it’s hay day would have allowed someone to ride from Ashland VA to Petersburg and Hopewell all without using a car. If only the streetcar system could have lasted into the 1970’s Richmond housing boom it could have built spur lines into the vast dense Richmond suburbs.

They may make sense for few dozen people who live right next to street car stops. For the millions of others who rather live in homes with yards (practically everyone), streets cars are crap. It’s only a matter of time before they become extinct. Unless, of course, politicians spend billions to fund their cronies.

I once asked a bus driver how much was the fair. Her response was that she’s off the clock and cannot tell me until she’s back on the clock. Enough people urinating on the bus, and she treats everyone like urinators.

Not everyone lives in suburbia.

People in general would rather live in homes with yards and garage after their short experimentation with apartments in their youths. That requires land, which necessarily means suburbia.

No, not “people in general”. Quite a lot of people would indeed rather live in the city, where everything is nearby. (Especially once EVs solve the air quality and part of the noise issue.)

Also, “would rather” is not the same as “can afford”.

I don’t know why you are standing on your soap box about this – but this is the place where any criticism of the old General Motors is justified. They amazingly single handedly effectively destroyed the USA’s at one time excellent ELECTRIC public transportation system, by buying up all the private street car lines, and making service horrible – forcing users over to competing bus lines that they made the buses for.

Now, the only ‘public’ electric transportation lines are very high cost gov’t funded things. And in most places no where near as convenient since the high cost means that in most places they just simply don’t exist. Even NYC’s system is rather lousy if you live in the Astoria section of Queens where you have to walk over a mile to find a subway stop.

How is a mile distance from a subway stop inconvenient? Just use a bike to get there.

And whats up with urinating in public transport? Why is that an issue in the US? Don’t you have toilets in your country? You have to randomly dig holes or use a bus? What is this? Survivor? Crazy!

Don’t tell that to the car sharing crowd

I’m perfectly fine with car sharing as that is almost as convenient (door to door), and the driver takes care of things. Buses OTOH, SUCKS!

Strange, there are enough cities in the world that still (or again) have street car systems, and they do not appear all that doomed…

We’re talking about US where the population density is low. Even in most of the world where the population density is low (eg rural areas), street car systems are dead.

I don’t know why you would even talk about areas where population density is low. Obviously, street cars are for urban areas, not the great plains…

Sorry Sparky – the OLD GM was guilty of systematically forcing most streetcar lines to go out of business nationwide since they wanted to sell their smelly buses. Los Angeles for one area, had a fantastic system that was forced into bankruptcy by front companies that GM surreptitiously owned and forced to fail.

There was no great impetus from the public DEMANDING the end of electric public transportation.

What’s Florida’s plan? Free concealed weapon permits LOL CONNECT THE DOTS ON CLEAN AIR WAKE UP FOLKS thanks co2.earth

Lighten up, Frances.

Unfortunately, Florida will drag it’s feet on this to spite electric vehicles BELIEVE ME CONNECT THE DOTS ON CLEAN AIR WAKE UP FOLKS THANKS CO2.EARTH

It’s a different story the other side of the pond. I wonder how long it will be before Europe can get a slice of the action!

“Calls for compensation are growing in Europe but so far VW has rejected claims. A number of owners have started legal cases, though, against the car maker including in Ireland. European consumer groups have already said the VW Group has not provided enough evidence and information to owners”.

And NONE of the plans address the needs of renters who comprise the MAJORITY of urban dwellers and 38% of the national population. This whole EV infrastructure process continues to service only those wealthy enough to own a home and will lead to backlash.

See the recent ads by the Kochs against California’s AB1745: https://careaboutenergy.org/ab-1745/?utm_source=stack&utm_medium=cpv&utm_campaign=ice_ban_02&utm_content=Barbara_30

Renters used in ads to talk about how they have no use for Evs…

Note than less than 7% of EVs sold in California have been to renters, while they constitute 42% of California’s population. This leaves EV supporting policies open to charges of wealth transfer to the rich, unfairness and elitism. Not good in today’s (political) environment.

DCFC systems serve only a small minority of the charging market. Less than 17% of the vehicles sold have it (Tesla is mix) and it’s usually an additional charge option AND we still have multiple DC formats. Put it into faster AC and we can serve 100% of the vehicle now and going forward with less expensive infrastructure and thereby less expensive electric fuel.

I would argue that the less expensive infrastructure is ultra fast DCFC, because more kWhs can be dispensed for the cost than is possible with AC j1772 charging.
But your point about renters or apartment dwellers is very good. It will be interesting to see how these people are able to get into EVs in the coming years.

Having built dozens of sites of EV charging I can tell you the biggest issues with higher power are the Utility costs and it’s general state of under-build to the buildings. A 200 amp service (new or upgraded) can reach $150,000 or more in utility charges and a 1MW location is several times that. In addition local Utilities can take months, if not years, to OK upgrade or new service plans. The EVSE is only the endpoint but at these power levels the network becomes the issue. The cost effectiveness of DCFC equation changes once you lump the full costs in and adjust for the market share that can use it.

Public chargers are of limited value if they are too slow…

Yeah, I always grinned when people who have absolutely no experience with larger electric facilities for the expense (OR WHO WILL PAY FOR IT) bandy about numbers like 500 kw of charging, or 1000 kw (or more), but then not realize that in some built-up areas the utility won’t allow more than 500 kw of load unless the customer pays the ENTIRE expense of substation line upgrading.

Hint: $50 isn’t gonna cover it.

(⌐■_■) Trollnonymous

It’s up to the renter to ask the landlord to pipe electricity to the parking lots.
How the fuk is it EA’s or anyone else’s responsibility?

The landlord has the final say.
If the landlord was smart, they would install some 120vac EVSE’s and dedicate the spots and charge a monthly fee to use it……….LMAO

You could ask WTF is it anyone’s responsibility to pave the streets? to secure the supplies of gas with the protection of our military? why TF can’t people just pay the fire or police department when they need them? or clean the streets? or light them? or educate the children? Your logic falls flat troll unless you’re uber wealthy and think things happen in a vacuum.

From my very direct experience with 100s of buildings landlords/owners won’t invest if they can’t make the $$ back in a very short term. long term investment is required for a fuel type change and long term investment are things the whole society needs support.

Well here we have a basic conundrum; YOU make your money by installing stations, and landlords balk at installing them for a product that only 1% of the driving public could currently use. No surprise that there is a difference of opinion.
The fallacy that you are of course ignoring, is that a greater percentage of people require paved streets and some education of their children, and they are not arguing against that.

A good compromise seems to be the installation of ducting in condo complexes, parking garages, and new private homes, so that in the future, should a new owner desire a wall box, it will be a low cost endeavor, without a huge expense now that few will use.

People here may say they don’t like this compromise, or it doesn’t go far enough, but this seems in more and more places the current solution to the problem, whether people here are satisfied or not.

“Renters used in ads to talk about how they have no use for Evs…”

It’s great that the Koch Bros. see EVs as enough of a threat to their Big Oil interests that they’re willing to spend money on advertising against it!
😀 😀 😀

“First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.”
— Mahatma Gandhi

Florida Republican Governor Rick Scott is stuck in the ignore phase lol even as Lake Okeechobee is spewing green algae CONNECT THE DOTS ON CLEAN AIR WAKE UP EARTHLINGS co2.earth

EV supporting policies benefit everyone who lives near or ever goes out on a street.

Didn’t California pass a law that mandates installing charging infrastructure at parking lots/garages? For sure, more could be done on that front — but that’s pretty much orthogonal to public charging infrastructure, which is needed for every EV owner, no matter whether they rent or own their home. (Indeed it’s often stipulated that public chargers are *more* important for those who can’t charge at home…)

(⌐■_■) Trollnonymous

Just as I said last year.
States will squander the money and earmark them for other projects not related to EV’s.
We’ll be lucky to see 24% of the funds actually used to electrify the roads/freeways with EVSE’s/DCFC.

The funds are intended as a correction for the environmental damage done by CHEATING the rules on diesel emissions. In none of the agreements were the funds to be dedicated to EVs. VW is now committed to globally moving its sedans and other vehicles to zero emissions.

DCFC is limited market for a limited population of vehicles. Useful for key niches and so does not need 100% of the funds.

Pennsylvania plan sucks. They need charging stations on thier interstates there’s none for my commute between Youngstown and NJ besides Tesla especially on I80

Good to see that Minnesota and Connecticut, at least, will spend some part of the money on replacing diesel school buses. Daily exposure to diesel exhaust by school children is a real danger to public health, and one which I don’t think has received nearly enough attention. See link below for info.

I’m not sure this scattershot approach to spending the funds is the best approach. In fact, I’m sure it’s not.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC121970/

I am reading these comments and seeing many valid concerns about how the money is being spent. As for me, I’ve realized for many reasons, including my passion for EVs, it is time to get involved in local and regional politics. If I wait for those with deep pockets to see the light and do the right thing for the planet, I will be waiting a very long time. In the meantime, I am encouraged that many of the states are headed in the right direction, even though our national government is going out of its way to slow down EVs, solar power, etc.