Volkswagen’s new subsidiary, Electrify America, is going to invest in the construction and maintenance of electric vehicle charging stations, including a high-speed cross-country network of more than 200 fast-charging stations for electric cars.
Business Insider reports that one of the world’s largest automaker plans to install more than 500 charging stations in the United States, including more than 300 stations in 15 metro areas as well. Volkswagen also plans to launch its Green City initiative in a not yet known California city to pilot future concepts, such as shuttle service composed of zero emission vehicles, an electric car sharing program, or a zero-emissions transit program.
The company plans to invest $500 million every 30 months and is seeking approval for spending from the California Air Resources Board and the Environmental Protection Agency. The Electrify America unit is wholly owned by Volkswagen Group of America and is separate from Volkswagen’s automobile brands. It is expected that the new subsidiary will employ around 40 to 50 people in the first few years, but it will also use outside contractors. Volkswagen must submit their funding plan by February 22nd.
According to Bloomberg, Volkswagen agreed to spend the money on electric vehicle infrastructure and other projects to promote zero-emission vehicles as a part of a legal settlement with the U.S. Volkswagen had to pay $14,7 billion after the automaker sold around 500,000 2.0-liter diesel vehicles that were equipped with software to cheat on U.S. emissions test.
Some critics are saying that the punishment which requires Volkswagen to spend money on the zero-emission components, can give them an advantage in the electric vehicle charging market. Currently, Volkswagen has only one electric vehicle, the e-Golf. They have set a target of selling 3 million electric vehicles worldwide by 2025. There are also plans to introduce 20 new electric models by 2020.