Forget VW diesels, say some environmental leaders and Silicon Valley executives – including Tesla’s CEO. Instead, make VW to significantly accelerate its rollout of zero emission vehicles.

There were many talks and debates around Volkswagen’s cheating scheme to bypass the emissions tests, but a new perspective of the matter is being brought about in open letter issued by 45 environmental leaders and Silicon Valley executives. This new point of view was directly addressed in writing to California Air Resources Board and signed among others by Elon Musk – CEO of electric-car maker Tesla Motors. They all say that, for a significant fraction of the non-compliant diesel cars already in the hands of drivers, there is no real solution and drivers won’t come in for a fix that compromises performance. The solutions which result in net greater CO2 emissions, a regulated pollutant, is costly and impractical. Some cars may be fixed, but many won’t and this will not bring any benefits for the environment.

“A giant sum of money thus will be wasted in attempting to fix cars that cannot all be fixed, and where the fix may be worse than the problem if the cars are crushed well before the end of their useful lives. We, the undersigned, instead encourage the CARB to show leadership in directing VW to “cure the air, not the cars” and reap multiples of what damage has been caused while strongly advancing California’s interests in transitioning to zero emission vehicles,” the letter said.

The solution they propose is to 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, 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 letter also asks that this acceleration of the rollout of zero emissions vehicles by VW to 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 and, finally, to bind the automaker to invest in new manufacturing plants and/or research and development, in the amounts that they otherwise would have been fined. “In contrast to the punishments and recalls being considered, this proposal would be a real win for California emissions, a big win for California jobs, and a historic action to help derail climate change.”


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