Tesla CEO Elon Musk recently sent a letter to the California Air Resources Board suggesting that they force Volkswagen to make zero-emission cars rather than fix some 482,000 diesel engines equipped with a defeat device in the U.S.
Newsweek published the entire letter, in which Musk writes:
“A giant sum of money [will] be wasted in attempting to fix cars that cannot all be fixed, and where the fix may be worse than the problem if the cars are crushed well before the end of their useful lives. Instead, direct VW to accelerate greatly its rollout of zero-emission vehicles, which by their very nature, have zero emissions and thus present zero opportunities for cheating, and also do not require any enforcement dollars to verify.”
Musk signed the letter along with 44 other influential people including eBay president Jeff Skoll. They believe it would make much more environmental and economic sense if California required VW to use the money to develop all-electric vehicles instead of paying hefty fines to state authorities.
This isn’t unprecedented, mind you. In the 1990s, a diesel truck cheating scandal broke out, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency chose not to require an interim recall but instead moved up the deadline for tougher standards to make up the difference.