Don’t penalize Volkswagen with hefty fines and recalls that may not be pursued by consumers, the group argues, but compel the company apply the technology and expertise it's gained over the past decade to come up with a car that can revolutionize the auto industry.
Last week the consortium of tech leaders, which included heads of companies like SolarCity, Ceres and the Sierra Club, called on the California Air Resources Board (CARB) to adopt an innovative approach to VW's admitted use of software that could undermine emission inspections.
"The VW emissions scandal is mainly the result of physics meeting fiction," says the consortium, which points out that even if Volkswagen is required to recall the affected vehicles, "[drivers] won’t come in for a fix that compromises performance." What is needed isn't more lost revenue, but more productive data (and maybe even a wholly emissions-free car) that steers the planet toward lowering greenhouse gases.
"'[Cure] the air, not the cars,'" they continue, "and reap multiples of what damage has been caused while strongly advancing California’s interests in transitioning to zero emission vehicles."
To do this, the group offered a five-step plan:
This isn't the first time that Musk has spoken up on the VW scandal. In September, he challenged agencies to implement random emissions testing, with the observation that the world has "reached the limit of what’s possible with diesel and gasoline." What is needed now is a new form of technology that can move past these challenges.
CARB has not yet offered a response to the proposal. The agency is due to issue a ruling on VW's proposed plan to recall vehicles containing the deceptive software by Jan. 14. With the current increasing demand for more resourceful answers to California's environmental challenges, it will be interesting to see what steps California's leading environmental agency opts to take for the new year.
Image: Flickr/Blowing Puffer Fish
Jan Lee is a former news editor and award-winning editorial writer whose non-fiction and fiction have been published in the U.S., Canada, Mexico, the U.K. and Australia. Her articles and posts can be found on TriplePundit, JustMeans, and her blog, The Multicultural Jew, as well as other publications. She currently splits her residence between the city of Vancouver, British Columbia and the rural farmlands of Idaho.