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How One Automaker's Bad Behavior Is Good For Sacramento

Randol White / Capital Public Radio
 

Randol White / Capital Public Radio

The Sacramento area is on its way to becoming the first city in the nation with an expansive network of shared electric vehicles and charging stations.

Part of Volkswagen's settlement with the State of California over its diesel emissions cheating scheme, is to promote and advance the use of zero emission vehicles throughout the state.

The automaker will start that project in Sacramento, by investing $44 million in charging stations and an electric vehicle sharing program.

Phil Serna is a Sacramento County Supervisor and also sits on the California Air Resources Board.

He says Sacramento is turning lemons into an incredible lemonade.

"We're taking the deception of Volkswagen and turning that into an investment plan that will actually, not only benefit the technology of zero emission vehicles but it's actually going to expand mobility for those that most need it in undeserved communities," says Serna.

Mark McNabb is the CEO of Electrify America - the arm of Volkswagen that's running the Green City program.

He's worked in the auto industry for decades and says this is a transformational moment.

"I think that, you know, when you look at cities like this and you look at other cities in the future, at how are they going to handle mobility, and I think we're going to experiment with a lot of different mobility - car sharing I think is very interesting, millenials don't own cars like we do, some of the older folks," says McNabb.

McNabb says he expects to have the first charging stations in place within six to eight months. He says some of the ones placed along I-5, 80, and Highway 99 will be super chargers, giving drivers up to 20 miles of charge in just one minute.

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