Volkswagon Is Investing $200 Million in Electric Charging Capabilities at LA's Ports
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Volkswagon Is Investing $200 Million in Electric Charging Capabilities at LA's Ports

One of the largest U.S. electric vehicle charging companies is expanding its Southern California presence with a $200 million investment in California, with $25 million slated for the port cities of Long Beach and L.A.'s Wilmington neighborhood. The investment comes in anticipation of surging demand for electric big rigs and other heavy duty vehicles.

The two regions make up the nation's busiest ports, a bustling hub bringing in billions of dollars of consumer goods — mostly from Asia — that get carried to retailers around the country usually by a diesel trucks. The funds would go toward regional fleet operators to build out a charging infrastructure for electric vehicles that come from the Los Angeles and Long Beach ports.

"This investment will go a long way in supporting our efforts to improve air quality in our highly impacted communities," Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia said in an announcement, "and to support further upgrades to our fleets with more all-electric vehicles."

Electrify America also said it will be adding fast chargers in several California metro areas, including Greater Los Angeles and Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino and San Diego counties. It will also add Kern, Santa Barbara and Ventura counties to its service areas.

Electrify America is a Volkswagen Group of America subsidiary, which is based in Virginia. The company was created in 2017 as part of a settlement with the Department of Justice, the EPA and California Air Resources Board — which required a $2 billion fund to create a nationwide EV charging network — following the 2015 diesel emissions cheating scandal. As of April, Electrify America operates 2,600 fast chargers in 47 states, including California.

Another part of the agreement with the California Air Resources Board stipulates that 35% of Electrify America's investment to improve access to charging and electric vehicle education is supposed to go to low-income and disadvantaged communities in California — which makes up 64% of the Long Beach-Wilmington area, according to the state agency.

Being owned by VW Group of America, customers who purchase or lease certain Volkswagen, Audi and Porsche electric cars have access to free charging through the Electrify America network for up to three years.

Orange County-based Hyundai Motor America, Stellantis (formerly Fiat Chrysler) and Ford Motor Company are among the automakers that have announced deals with Electrify America for their own plug-in vehicles. The Virginia-based subsidiary of Volkswagen Group of America also counts startups Lucid Motors and Manhattan Beach-based Fisker Inc. as partners for upcoming vehicles.

Electrify America also announced it would add more DC fast charging stations in retail areas for consumer use, as well as others near multi-unit residential buildings without easy access to home charging.

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