Tesla Motors founder Elon Musk – together with a group of 44 businesses and environmentalists – thinks that the punishment for Volkswagen’s lies regarding the exhaust emissions of its diesel cars should be to force the manufacturer to produce zero-emission vehicles, in lieu of fines and “impractical” recalls.
In an open letter to California Air Resources Board Chairman Mary Nichols, the group asks that they “cure the air, not the cars.” Instead of forcing a recall and repair of VW vehicles will emission-cheating software, the letter asks California to give VW the option of building zero-emission vehicles to allow it to make amends.
The letter proposes:
- Release VW from its obligation to fix diesel cars already on the road in California, which represent an insignificant portion of total vehicles emissions in the State, and which cars do not, individually, present any emissions-related risk to their owners or occupants
- Instead, direct VW to accelerate greatly its rollout of zero emission vehicles, which by their very nature, have zero emissions and thus present zero opportunities for cheating, and also do not require any enforcement dollars to verify
- Require that this acceleration of the rollout of zero emissions vehicles by VW result in a 10 for 1 or greater reduction in pollutant emissions as compared to the pollution associated with the diesel fleet cheating, and achieve this over the next 5 years
- Require that VW invest in new manufacturing plants and/or research and development, in the amounts that they otherwise would have been fined, and do so in California to the extent that California would have been allocated its share of the fines
- Allow VW some flexibility in the execution and timing of this plan by allowing it to be implemented via zero emission vehicle credits.
Image courtesy of International Business Times.