EPA asks VW to build electric cars in US?

The commitment could help the automaker avoid steep fines for the emissions scandal.

The Environmental Protection Agency is reportedly considering a settlement with Volkswagen that includes provisions to build more electric vehicles in the US.

Committing to selling more EVs in the US and launching a charging network would presumably require significant investments, however it could help the automaker avoid steep financial penalties for circumventing emissions regulations, according to a Welt am Sonntag report.

Dozens of clean-energy executives, including Tesla Motors chief Elon Musk, wrote a letter in December to the California Air Resources Board arguing that a "giant sum" fine would likely go to waste.

"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," the group said.

VW could face tens of billions of dollars in fines if the EPA pushes for maximum penalties associated with each offending vehicle sold in the US market. The potential penalties could serve as significant leverage for a unique settlement, such as the plan outlined by Musk and his peers.

The EPA and VW have not yet confirmed if the German report is accurate.

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