FRANKFURT (Reuters) - U.S. authorities have asked the German carmaker Volkswagen (VOWG_p.DE) to produce electric vehicles in the United States as a way of making up for its rigging of emission tests, the German newspaper Welt am Sonntag reported.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is currently in talks with Volkswagen with the aim of agreeing on a fix for nearly 600,000 diesel vehicles that emit up to 40 times legal pollution limits.
The paper, which gave no source for its report, said the EPA was asking VW to produce electric vehicles at its plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee, and to help build a network of charging stations for electric vehicles in the United States.
Some of Volkswagen’s cars already feature electric or hybrid motors. It was not clear from Welt am Sonntag’s report whether the EPA was asking VW to produce new models or existing ones.
Five months after the emissions scandal broke in the United States, Europe’s leading carmaker has yet to come up with a technical fix for almost 600,000 diesel cars, and is facing a growing number of legal claims.
“Talks with the EPA are ongoing and we are not commenting on the contents and state of the negotiations,” a VW spokesman said. EPA declined to comment.
Meanwhile, weekly tabloid Bild am Sonntag said Hans Dieter Poetsch, the chairman of Volkswagen’s supervisory board, was summoned by German transport minister Alexander Dobrindt on Feb. 16 to give an update on the carmaker’s progress in tackling the crisis.
According to the article, Poetsch pledged Volkswagen would do everything to solve the crisis, regardless of how that might impact individuals and positions at the company.
A spokesman for Volkswagen confirmed that Poetsch and Thomas Steg, head of group government relations at VW, updated Dobrindt on Feb. 16 on the status quo of its internal investigation, but declined to give details about the nature of discussions.
VW will present its final report on the crisis to law firm Jones Day in April, Bild am Sonntag said.
Reporting by Christoph Steitz, Andreas Cremer and David Shepardson; Editing by Kevin Liffey and Susan Thomas