The US state of Maine won a $5.1 million legal settlement against the Volkswagen Group for violating state environmental laws and emissions through their marketing and sales of light vehicles in 2017. The funds are now to be used to fund the procurement of BEVs and PHEVs.
The settlement comes in addition to the $21 million from Volkswagen’s Dieselgate scandal, where the German manufacturer had deliberately obscured emissions results. The Dieselgate funds have also been “earmarked for other energy-efficiency and emissions-reduction programs”.
EV subsidies will be made available through the EV Accelerator Program, which will provide rebates between $1,000 and $2,000 for qualifying plug-in hybrid and battery-electric vehicles. The programme is designed to offer higher rebates to low-income households and government entities, including tribal governments. When combined with federal incentives, a new plug-in hybrid vehicle in Maine can be discounted up to $9,500 in Maine.
“Maine people shell out $5 billion a year to out-of-state fossil fuel companies, and a lot of that money is spent on gas for vehicles that just becomes carbon dioxide pumped into our atmosphere,” Governor Janet Mills described the initiate. “We can do better. It is time to usher in the next generation of technologies that will move our state towards a renewable future.”
Industry support for the initiative was shown quickly, as Tom Brown, president of the Maine Automobile Dealers Association, added: “Maine’s new car dealers welcome the EV rebate program as an assist to their customers looking at this new and exciting technology.”