VW Could Legally Profit from One Part of the TDI Settlement

When it agreed to the TDI settlement with US regulators, Volkswagen agreed to spend $2 billion on zero-emission vehicle projects across the land, but nothing in the agreement  says that VW can’t profit from that investment.

While regulators get to make sure that the money is being spent properly, VW drawing profit from its investments is considered okay.

“The ZEV investment requirement will be a business investment made by Volkswagen,” writes Cynthia Giles, EPA enforcement chief, in a letter to Automotive News. “VW may see a benefit from mandatory ZEV investments, and that would not be inconsistent with the [consent decree.] Volkswagen could have decided to make these investments even without this enforcement case, but now it is required to do so.”

The provision will be reviewed by republican leaders in the US House Energy and Commerce Committee, but as it stands that $2 billion part of the settlement may be more than just a cost.

Despite that, VW can’t actually gain an advantage in the ZEV market from the investments. So it still can’t create, say, a VAG-exclusive charging network.

Making money from the investment in ZEV may still be difficult, though, as VW is required, under the rules of the provision, to seek project input from states, municipalities, tribes, and federal agencies before it spends money on any projects.

[source: Automotive News]