Photo courtesy of Volkswagen

Photo courtesy of Volkswagen

A judge has approved Volkswagen's settlement in its diesel emissions scandal, including buybacks of affected vehicles, a trust to fund projects reducing emissions, and the promotion of zero-emission vehicle (ZEV) technology.

Through the settlement, Volkswagen will create an Environmental Mitigation Trust to reduce the effects of its emissions-cheating devices. It will pay $2.7 billion into the trust, making three $900 million payments over the next three years. If Volkswagen fails to meet its national or California recall targets, its penalty fines of $85 million and $13.5 million, respectively, will be invested into the trust.

States, Indian tribes, Puerto Rico, and the District of Columbia will recommend candidates to manage the trust, and the Court will appoint the Trustee. Once it is established, these same governmental agencies may apply to become beneficiaries of the trust for their mitigation projects, including projects that reduce NOx emissions in freight trucks, school or transit buses, ferries, and airport ground support equipment. Initial allocation for each beneficiary will be based on the number of subject vehicles registered in each jurisdiction, with minimum funding allocation set at $7.5 million per beneficiary.

Volkswagen will also invest $2 billion over a 10-year period in promoting ZEV technology. Of the investment, $1.2 will go toward nationwide ZEV investments and $800 million will go toward California ZEV investments. Volkswagen is required to solicit suggestions from state, local, and tribal governments and federal agencies for the national investment plan, which will include the installation of ZEV infrastructure and the development of programs to increase public awareness and access to ZEVs.

For California, Volkswagen will invest in the development of new heavy-duty ZEV fueling infrastructure, a scrap-and-replace program, and a “Green City” initiative, which includes the operation of ZEV car sharing services, zero-emission transit applications, and zero-emission freight transport projects.

To read the full court order, including the Certification Form for government entities applying for the Environmental Mitigation Trust, click here.

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