Volkswagen's punishment has begun. Electric car drivers will benefit most from this part of VW's emissions cheating settlement. Two Southern California electric charging companies also score big.
After getting caught in a massive diesel-emissions cheating scandal in 2015, Volkswagen agreed to spend $2 billion on electric car charging stations across the U.S. — $800 million of that in California.
On Monday, Electrify America, the company created to build out the charging network, announced plans to install 2,800 chargers in big cities by June 2019, most of them at workplaces and multi-unit dwellings — apartment and condo buildings, that is.
The focus is on 17 cities nationwide, including Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco, San Jose, Sacramento and Fresno. How many chargers will be installed in each city is still being decided, but overall California is to get chargers at 217 workplaces and 60 multi-unit dwellings.
Contracts went out to three charger companies, Electrify America said: Greenlots in Los Angeles, EV Connect in El Segundo and SemaConnect in Bowie, Md.
"This is an unprecedented opportunity to jump-start electric vehicle adoption," said Scott Fisher, vice president for market development at Greenlots.
Installing chargers at workplaces is crucial to encouraging more people to buy fully electric vehicles, he said: "The workplace part has an especially strong correlation to EV adoption." According to the U.S. Department of Energy, an employee with access to workplace charging is six times more likely than the average worker to drive electric.
Greenlots is working on a plan to decide which companies and locations get the chargers.
Installing chargers at apartment buildings and condo complexes is also intended to expand the market for EVs. Few such buildings offer electric charging. Most overnight electric car charging takes place at single-family homes.
The 2,800 chargers will be Level 2, which require several hours to fill a vehicle's battery.
At some point, Electrify America plans to use part of the $2 billion to build a coast-to-coast network of "fast chargers" that can add a couple hundred miles of range in 20 minutes.
The $2 billion is to be spent through 2026.