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In September 2015, Volkswagen AG (VW) was caught in a scandal that deceived its customers into thinking its vehicles were not harmful to the environment. Software was installed into the company’s cars with 2.0 liter diesel engines that enabled their emissions levels to meet legal requirements during testing conditions. The real-world levels emitted were between 9 and 28 times the set limits in the US, depending on driving conditions. These “defeat devices” were eventually found by the US’s Environmental Protection Agency and VW later admitted to installing them.
In June 2016, the US Department of Justice issued a decree settling the claims against VW wherein the German automaker agreed to spend $14.7 billion dollars rectifying its actions. The money was split into three categories: $10 billion to buy back or modify diesel vehicles previously sold to customers, $2 billion for Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) infrastructure, programs, and brand-neutral campaigns supporting ZEVs, and $2.9 billion for a trust for environmental mitigation which will fund projects that reduce diesel emissions. VW began the company Electrify America to handle its EV network building, consumer education, and infrastructure obligations.
Virginia dedicated 15% of the money it received in the settlement to developing its charging network, and EVgo was chosen as the services provider to lead the effort. EVgo is based in Los Angeles and already operates the largest network of public EV fast chargers in the country, totaling over 1,000 chargers in 34 states. EVgo recently announced that its charging stations will be 100% powered by renewable energy, making the building contract with Virginia an additional boon to the state’s goals for emissions reduction.
The network being built by EVgo in Virginia and elsewhere, along with the networks being commissioned by Electrify America, use non-proprietary charging equipment. Tesla owners are only able to use the chargers with a compatible CHAdeMO or J1772 adapter with much slower charging rates than what Tesla’s Supercharger network provides.
The invitation to Virginia’s groundbreaking event reads as follows:
Join EVgo and the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality at Pike 7 Plaza in Tysons, for the first groundbreaking of the first statewide EV Charging Network under the VW Settlement in the country.
Come celebrate with us as this project shifts into construction.