What does the VW scandal mean for the EV industry?

Dear Reader,

The recent VW scandal is obviously unwelcome news to supporters of clean air and advanced technology vehicles, but there could be a silver lining. “Dieselgate” could hold pretty good prospects for the electric vehicle industry.

Europe, in particular, has put a lot of stock into diesel cars. The Guardian writes that “Europe has, in effect, subsidised diesels, and in so doing has slowed the transition to hybrids and electric cars.” But with VW’s cheating on their emission tests, policy makers are now looking for new solutions to increase fuel economy and clean up the air.

In France, for example, the government is expanding its EV bonus to get more diesels off the road, offering up to 10,000 euros to those buying an EV and getting rid of a 15 year old diesel incentive to emphasize hybrids and electric vehicles.

VW now says it is working towards building an electric vehicle with a 300 km range.

Another upside of the Dieselgate scandal? With EVs proving to be the clean driving solution, U.S. automakers may now have a leg up on European manufacturers. U.S. automakers GM and Ford have prioritized vehicle electrification strategies, like hybrids and PEVs, over diesel, potentially now giving them an advantage over European carmakers.  

It’s not just VW reconsidering electric cars.  Volvo just announced plans to make an all-electric vehicle. BMW has also been increasing its commitment to electric vehicles, ramping up sales of its i3 globally. It’s becoming clearer by the day that electric vehicles are here to stay.

GM released the details of its collaboration with LG Chem for manufacturing the new Bolt (which will be Built in Michigan). While we wish there had been some investment in the battery maker's West Michigan plant, we  know this move bodes well for the overall EV industry. We're seeing it already- automakers are stepping up to compete in the market. Better products lead to more demand lead to more production. Next time, in Michigan.

So as you check out our updates on the Tesla Model X and driverless EVs, remember that we still have a ways to go. We still need supportive policies and will need to work with the industry, policy makers and on the grassroots level to make the transition to electric drive a smooth one, from boosting charging infrastructure to creating affordable technology innovations. As always, we strongly believe Michigan’s the place for this to happen.

We’ll keep you updated through it all. Thanks for reading!

Charles Griffith
Climate & Energy Program Director
The Ecology Center

Images courtesy of VW