Volkswagen is like the kid who got caught lying to his parents.
When a kid lies, his parents may punish him by taking away his allowance, making him apologize, and possibly making him pay back the people to whom he lied.
If those punishments don’t work, or if the lie was particularly heinous, a parent might ask his or her child to contribute to solving the problem that caused the lie in the first place.
We all know that VW got caught lying to the government (and its customers) by using technology to cheat emissions tests on nearly 600,000 cars. We’re about five months into the scandal and there still isn’t a plan in place to compensate customers or fix the affected vehicles. Volkswagen will undoubtedly be fined billions of dollars for the lie and face lawsuits, but now the U.S. government has also asked the carmaker to go a step further and build cars that make lying about emissions impossible.
Automotive News reported on the story this week:
U.S. authorities have asked Volkswagen to build electric vehicles in the United States as a way of making up for its rigging of emission tests, the German newspaper Welt am Sonntag reported.
The paper said the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency was asking VW to produce electric vehicles at its plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee, and to help build a network of charging stations for electric vehicles.
I have to give it to the EPA for this one. It’s a smart plan that serves to both further the U.S. government’s drive for electric vehicles and reduce VW’s ability to sell dirty diesels.
Volkswagen has acknowledged that it’s working with the EPA, but both entities issued a “no comment” when asked for more details.
The EPA knows that this is a tough time for electric cars. It’s getting carmakers to build them by imposing hard-to-reach emissions regulations, but getting consumers to buy is much more difficult.
Consumers are hesitant to buy electric because of low gas prices and a lack of charging stations across the country. Asking VW to help fund the infrastructure, at a time when the company is in serious moral debt to the U.S. government, is a brilliant piece of parenting.
Should Volkswagen help fund electric charging stations as punishment for its diesel scandal?