Tesla Motors chief Elon Musk is part of a group of 45 people and entities that suggested to California Air Resources Board (CARB) chief Mary Nichols that Volkswagen should fix its diesel-emissions mess by ignoring all the scandalous “clean” diesels on the road and instead simply building a lot more zero-emissions vehicles like the VW e-Golf. It was the “cure the air, not the car” approach. But another coalition of 15 conservation and environmental groups is saying “not so fast.” The German automaker needs to do a lot more than that in order to right its wrongs, that group suggests.
At issue are the 482,000 diesel-powered cars that VW sold in the US that are equipped with software designed to cheat emissions-testing programs. The environmentalist group, which includes folks from the Sierra Club and the American Lung Association, is suggesting that CARB push for everything from putting VW on the hook for so-called pollution-mitigation measures and air-quality testing improvements as well as a host of other penalties. There’s no mention of any “Our Fathers” or “Hail Marys” but the letter, found here (PDF) at Greenlining, is plenty accusatory when it comes to holding the German automaker responsible for potential public-health issues. And this would be in addition to the billions VW is already setting aside to address the scandal around the world.
The suggestions are being made just as CARB is figuring out if or how it will approve VW’s plans to recall and fix the affected vehicles. Last month, the automaker started its so-called “goodwill package” for VW owners that included a $500 gift card redeemable at a VW dealer and another $500 gift card that can be spent pretty much anywhere else.