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Volkswagen's clean car plan falls short in low-income neighborhoods, California regulators say

 (Markus Schreiber / Associated Press)
(Markus Schreiber / Associated Press)

State regulators have asked Volkswagen to revise its plan to invest in zero emission technology in California, a victory for critics who said the automaker wasn't doing enough in disadvantaged communities.

The investment plan, which will total $800 million over 10 years, is part of Volkswagen's obligation under a multi-billion settlement for evading pollution rules. 

California, which is struggling to get enough zero emission vehicles on the road to meet its goals, is "eager to move forward," wrote Air Resources Board Executive Officer Richard Corey in a Wednesday letter to Electrify America, a Volkswagen subsidiary.

However, Corey wrote, "we need more information" on how the company will meet its target of spending 35% of its investment in disadvantaged communities, a target set by state regulators in hopes of broadening the adoption of electric vehicles. 

Corey also asked Electrify America to consider supporting hydrogen fueling stations, rather than just electric chargers. 

Once the company submits an updated version of its plan, state regulators will consider whether to approve it. 

Electrify America said it is reviewing the letter. 

Dean Florez, a member of the Air Resources Board, said the original investment plan had "significant holes" and "included no real investment in disadvantaged communities."

He praised the decision to request revisions and said the board should "hold VW's feet to the fire." 

This story has been updated with additional comments.


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