DEEP: VW Settlement - FAQ

VW Settlement FAQ

General Volkswagen (VW) Settlement Questions

In mid-2015, VW publicly admitted it had secretly and deliberately installed a "defeat device," software designed to cheat emissions tests and deceive federal and state regulators, in nearly 500,000 VW and Audi branded 2.0 liter diesel vehicles sold to American consumers, including approximately 12,000 in Connecticut. These vehicles with "defeat devices", with model years between 2009 and 2015, emit up to 40 times more nitrogen oxide (NOx) than EPA's standard.

It was later discovered that "defeat devices" were also installed in certain 3.0 liter diesel vehicles. These vehicles, with model years between 2009 and 2016, emit NOx up to nine times more than EPA's standard.

EPA has setup a website, www.epa.gov/vw, to provide information regarding the VW Settlement.

In addition, VW created www.vwcourtsettlement.com to provide consumers with information on the settlement and buyback/modification program along with access to all court documents.

Finally, Wilmington Trust (the Trustee) has set up www.vwenvironmentalmitigationtrust.com as their official website for the Volkswagen Diesel Emissions Environmental Mitigation Trusts. You'll find information on the Trust for State Beneficiaries and Tribes and access to future program documents.

Affected 2.0 liter diesel vehicle models and model years:

  • Jetta (2009-2015)
  • Jetta Sportwagen (2009-2014)
  • Beetle (2013-2015)
  • Beetle Convertible (2013-2015)
  • Audi A3 (2010-2015)
  • Golf (2010-2015)
  • Golf Sportwagen (2015)
  • Passat (2012-2015)

Affected 3.0 liter diesel vehicle models and model years:

  • Volkswagen Touareg (2009-2016)
  • Porsche Cayenne (2013-2016)
  • Audi A6 Quattro (2014-2016)
  • Audi A7 Quattro (2014-2016)
  • Audi A8 (2014-2016)
  • Audi A8L (2014-2016)
  • Audi Q5 (2014-2016)
  • Audi Q7 (2009-2016)

Under the settlement VW must offer every owner and lessee of an affected 2.0 liter diesel vehicle the option of a buyback or lease termination. Additionally, VW must offer owners and lessees the option of an emissions modification in accordance with certain performance and design requirements.

VW set up www.vwcourtsettlement.com to provide consumers with extensive information on the settlement and buyback/modification program.

In addition to allocating over $10 billion for direct compensation to owners of affected vehicles, VW will also put $2.7 billion into an environmental mitigation trust fund to fund projects that will collectively offset the lifetime excess NOx emissions from affected vehicles and committed $2 billion for direct investment in the ZEV (zero emission vehicles) refueling infrastructure and the promotion of ZEVs.

Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) Investment Commitment

As a result of the VW Settlement, VW is required to invest $2 billion in ZEV charging infrastructure and in the promotion of ZEVs. VW will control this fund and invest $800 million in California and $1.2 billion throughout the rest of the nation, over the next decade.

The ZEV investments required by the settlement are intended to address the fact that consumers purchased these illegal vehicles under the mistaken belief that such vehicles were lower-emitting than others.

You can follow the progress of these ZEV investments at www.ElectrifyAmerica.com.

Connecticut will strongly encourage VW to pursue large investments in Connecticut to enhance our state's ZEV refueling network. While Connecticut ZEV drivers can be "range confident", there still remains an urgent need to expand our fast charging and Level 2 charging capabilities where EV drivers spend their most time: workplaces, retail and other public locations, and, for those living in multi-unit dwellings, at home. In future years, Connecticut will also need to add hydrogen refueling stations to fuel hydrogen powered fuel cell electric vehicles.

Environmental Mitigation Trust Fund

The VW settlement requires VW to fund a $2.7 billion mitigation trust fund. The mitigation trust fund will pay for specifically defined eligible projects that reduce nitrogen oxides (NOx). The total $2.7 billion funding for the mitigation trust fund is intended to fully mitigate the total, lifetime excess NOx emissions from the 2.0 liter diesel vehicles.

The mitigation trust is administered by Wilmington Trust. Potential trust beneficiaries then elected to become beneficiaries under the settlement and the trust agreement. All 50 States, Puerto Rico, the District of Columbia, and federally recognized Indian tribes could become trust beneficiaries. Each participating beneficiary received a specific allocation of funds from the total $2.7 billion that can be used for any specifically defined eligible mitigation action. The allocation structure is primarily based on the number of registered illegal Volkswagen vehicles within the boundaries of each potential beneficiary's jurisdiction.

Pursuant to the final modified executed state beneficiary trust agreement, Connecticut's initial allocation is just over $55 million. These funds may be used for any specifically defined eligible mitigation action that will reduce NOx emissions in Connecticut.

There are a number of source categories that are eligible for mitigation projects that reduce NOx emissions. These source categories include:

  • Class 8 Local Freight Trucks and Port Drayage Trucks
  • Class 4-8 School Bus, Shuttle Bus or Transit Bus
  • Freight Switchers
  • Ferries or Tugs
  • Ocean Going Vessels (OGV) Shorepower
  • Class 4-7 Local Freight Trucks
  • Airport Ground Support Equipment
  • Forklifts and Port Cargo Handling Equipment
  • Light Duty Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment (EVSE)

All source categories have their own specific eligibility requirements and allowable reimbursement amounts depending on the type of project. It is recommended that Appendix D of the final executed state beneficiary trust agreement be reviewed for specific requirements and definition.

The environmental mitigation trust funds cannot be used for construction and agricultural equipment, pleasure watercraft, recreational equipment such as snowmobiles, dirt bikes or all-terrain vehicles, lawn and garden equipment or any other non-road equipment not specified in the list above unless the trust funds are being used for a non-federal voluntary match under an applicable Diesel Emissions Reduction Act (DERA) program.

Comments and suggestions can be submitted to DEEP.mobilesources@ct.gov. Please also include your name and contact information. Any comments received will also be posted on our website.

You can join our email distribution list to be notified of upcoming outreach events, grant programs, mitigation plan development and future VW settlement information.

First, Connecticut conducted an open, transparent and public process that allowed citizens and stakeholders to provide input and comment on its Beneficiary Mitigation Plan. This Plan was filed with the Trustee and will guide Connecticut's project selection process. Connecticut will be looking to implement projects that have immediate and significant NOx reductions, especially in the parts of the state that they are most needed, while also taking into account the associated economic and energy implications. See program application forms for more information.

EPA developed a comparison chart that describes the different eligibility requirements and funding levels for eligible mitigation actions Nos. 1-9 and the DERA option, which is eligible mitigation action No. 10 in Appendix D-2 of the final executed state beneficiary trust agreement.

Any project not awarded for funding under the VW program, may be eligible to apply for funding under the DERA program provided the project was not initiated prior to the solicitation period of the DERA program. You are allowed to apply for both programs and, if funded through VW, you may withdraw your DERA application without penalty. Therefore, it is in the applicant’s best interest to delay any vehicle, equipment, or engine purchase until after funding is awarded. The 2019 DERA program will begin accepting proposals in October.

The settlement expressly forbids the use of DERA funds to cover the grantee’s cost share required under the VW program. Similarly, VW funds cannot be used to cover the grantee’s cost share required under the DERA program.

Mitigation Grant Programs

We expect to provide applicants with a minimum of 6 to 8 weeks from any grant program announcement to submit proposals.

Review of proposals will vary depending on the complexity and quantity of proposals received for any grant program. Our goal is to notify awardees 45 to 60 days after an application period closes.

Yes, this is a competitive grant program. NOx emission reductions are a part of the criteria that applications will be ranked against. Please see list of preferential criteria in the program application forms.

Allocation of the funds will depend upon the quantity and quality of the proposals received; DEEP will be considering the NOx reductions, the cost effectiveness and the degree to which other selection criteria are met.

This information can be found in the final program application forms.

Projects scaled to achieve the greatest NOx emission reduction or offset per dollar invested is one of the criteria that will be used to prioritize funding awards. Targets for this criterion will not be specified.

Partial awards may be issued. The maximum reimbursement amounts are not guaranteed and not all qualified applications are guaranteed to be awarded funding. Once selected for an award you will have the option to accept or deny the award if the funding does not meet your project requirements.

There will be no limit to the size or scope of the proposals.

There are no limits to the amount of funding any one project or individual entity can receive.

The Mitigation Trust Agreement allows charging infrastructure associated with the new all-electric vehicle to be included in a proposal.

No. Trust funds are provided for mitigation actions awarded under the final approved state mitigation plan. There is no “reimbursement” for commitments made before the State’s completion of Trust requirements.

No. Projects initiated prior to filing an application for the program are not eligible for funding. This includes projects in an already approved budget.

This program has been designed with an 18-month window for completing the funded project. A municipality could apply for a project not yet in the budget. If awarded, the municipality would be able to approve their next budget, with the awarded project included, and have still have sufficient time to complete the project.

Municipal resources and budgetary priorities can fluctuate and DEEP will consider a request to withdraw from the program. If an awardee decides to cancel a project, notification must be sent to DEEP as soon as possible so the funds can be made available to other applicants within a timeframe sufficient to allow completion of the substitute project(s).

Further detail is provided in the final project solicitation documents. Connecticut’s 2018 Comprehensive Energy Strategy and the 2013 Multi-State Zero Emission Vehicle MOU and Action Plan are a couple examples of “state goals and objectives”.

Connecticut will be accepting applications from tribes and treating tribal requests like any other request for funding.

Either the municipality or the school transportation subcontractor is eligible to apply for funding.

The Mitigation Trust Agreement requires the consideration of the area in which the bus is to operate and to favor proposals that “mitigate the impacts of NOx emissions on communities that have historically borne a disproportionate share of the impacts of such emissions.” The area to be served by the bus is an entry on the grant application form and the successful applicant would be held to the conditions set out in the application. An awardee cannot unilaterally amend the terms of an award; changing the operating area of a bus purchased under this program would require review and approval by DEEP.

At this time, DEEP has not yet considered the possibility of granting a request to move the operation of a bus financed by the VW Mitigation Fund to a similarly impacted area within the state.

DEEP recommends that as potential applicants are seeking price quotes to use in their proposals, they try to obtain assurance from potential vendors that the product can be delivered before the project completion deadline. Nationwide demand resulting from orders placed for VW-funded vehicles, equipment, and engines could cause delays. If a purchase order was submitted to DEEP specifying that the equipment would be available before the completion deadline, and the OEM subsequently had a production/delivery delay, DEEP would consider approval of an extension after reviewing details of the case. If the equipment was initially ordered knowing that the equipment wouldn’t be available before the completion deadline, then it’s possible that the request for an extension would be denied. However, that project could be proposed in a subsequent round with a later deadline.

A Class 8 truck must be replaced by another Class 8 truck; a Class 7 truck may be replaced with a Class 4, 5, 6 or 7 truck. The replacement truck must continue to perform the same function and operation as the truck that is being replaced.

The replacement vehicle must continue to perform the same function and operation as the vehicle that is being replaced. With regard to weight class, a Class 8 vehicle must be replaced by another Class 8 vehicle. There is some size flexibility in replacing a Class 4 through 7 vehicle, for example, a Class 7 truck may be replaced with a Class 4, 5, 6 or 7 truck.

No. As limited by the final executed state beneficiary trust agreement, eligible vehicles may be repowered or replaced with any new diesel, alternate fueled, or all-electric engine or vehicle.

DEEP has chosen to use a single calculator, EPA's Diesel Emissions Quantifier (DEQ), for consistency in the review process. Any applicant who chooses to make their own NOx emissions benefits calculations, may use any available calculating tool. If a projected NOx benefit has been calculated for the project, please indicate the quantifier used and be prepared to submit an electronic file showing inputs and results if requested.

The emission analysis for this program does not require calculation of upstream emissions of electricity production for electric vehicles, or well-to-wheels emissions for fuel production.

It is our expectation that the awarded amount will be based on the total cost of the project including any federal excise and sales tax.

If the vehicle was purchased new, a “Certificate of Origin” could demonstrate how long the applicant has owned the vehicle and operated it in Connecticut. If the vehicle was purchased used, the title should show a chain of custody including dates when the vehicle changed hands. If the applicant has owned the vehicle for five years or more and the vehicle has been registered in Connecticut the entire time, this would be acceptable proof of operation in CT. If the applicant has owned the vehicle for less than five years but the previous owner(s) registered the vehicle in Connecticut, those years would count toward the five year requirement. However, if the applicant has not owned the vehicle for five years and the previous owner registered the vehicle outside of Connecticut, the vehicle would not be eligible for the program.

The Certificate of Origin/vehicle title or vehicle registration records would be acceptable depending on the situation. Feel free to include any other information about the vehicle’s registration and operation history that would allow us to better evaluate your application.

If an awardee decides to cancel the project, notification must be sent to DEEP as soon as possible so that the funds can be made available to other applicants within a timeframe sufficient to allow completion of other project(s).

There isn’t a specific penalty if an awardee cancels or doesn’t complete the project. But, if a project does not move forward and a recipient allows it to expire without communicating or responding to requests for updates, it will influence future award decisions for the recipient.

If an application was submitted to DEEP specifying the replacement of x number of vehicles, DEEP would expect x number of vehicles to be replaced by the specified deadline. DEEP encourages all applicants to be conservative in their proposals so as to be able to meet the deadlines set out in the proposal form. If the applicant foresees that they may not be able to replace all the vehicles they would like replaced, the applicant should consider splitting the single application into two smaller applications and submitting the second in a future funding cycle. If the OEM has a production/delivery delay, DEEP would consider approval of an extension to allow the additional vehicles to be delivered to the applicant. If the applicant, subsequent to application submittal, determines that the number of vehicles to be replaced must be changed, the applicant should notify DEEP as soon as possible, but DEEP reserves the option to deny funding for this application. An awardee cannot unilaterally amend the terms of an award.

 

Content Last Updated: August 1, 2019