The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has asked Volkswagen to produce electric cars in the United States to make up for its rigging of vehicles with software to cheat emissions tests, Reuters reported Sunday, citing the German newspaper Welt am Sonntag. The automaker had admitted in September last year that it rigged emission tests by equipping diesel vehicles with "defeat device."
The agency is currently in talks with the German automaker on an agreement to fix nearly 600,000 diesel vehicles that emit up to 40 times legal pollution limits. About 11 million cars globally have been affected by the emissions scandal, of which 8.5 million cars are in Europe. In November, Volkswagen announced a new sales initiative in the U.S. to rebuild customer trust.
The German newspaper, which was cited by Reuters, reported that the EPA has asked Volkswagen to produce electric vehicles at its plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee, and also help in building a network of charging stations for electric vehicles in country. However, it was unclear if the agency asked the German automaker to build new models or equip existing ones, as some Volkswagen cars already feature electric and hybrid motors, Reuters reported.
"Talks with the EPA are ongoing and we are not commenting on the contents and state of the negotiations," a Volkswagen spokesman reportedly said.
The Volkswagen scandal came to light in September after scientists at a University of West Virginia laboratory tested several of the company's diesel vehicles and found their carbon emissions were as much as 40 times the legal limit in the U.S. The company was able to cheat on emission tests by employing a type of software, a so-called defeat device, that indicated the vehicles' emissions as far lower than they actually were.
Volkswagen is facing separate investigations in the U.S., Germany and France in addition to the company's internal probe.