This big carmaker will spend millions to push electric vehicles in Sacramento – Sacramento Bee

Volkswagen, one of the world’s largest producers of gas- and diesel-powered cars, is about to start spending $44 million to persuade Sacramentans to embrace electric vehicles.

Volkswagen’s plans for spending hundreds of millions of dollars promoting electric vehicles in California, part of its punishment for a massive air pollution scandal, won approval Thursday from the California Air Resources Board. The program includes designating Sacramento as its first “Green City,” where Volkswagen will spend $44 million developing an electric car-sharing service, building car-charging stations and providing other benefits over the next 30 months.

“We will not waste this opportunity,” Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg told the Air Resources Board. He said the city wants to use the Green City programs as a launchpad to make “Sacramento a hub for alternative fuel technology.”

In a case involving state and federal officials, Volkswagen has agreed to spend more than $15 billion buying back vehicles and paying fines after admitting it rigged more than a half-million diesel cars with rogue software that cheated on air-pollution limits. The penalties include an agreement by Volkswagen to spend $800 million in California over the next 10 years promoting zero-emission vehicles, or ZEVs. The Air Resources Board’s decision Thursday covered the first $200 million in expenditures.

The carmaker’s ZEV program has generated controversy.

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