44 Tech Leaders Want to Let VW Off the Hook —Kind Of
'Cure the air, not the cars'
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 22, 2015 5:40 PM CST
Dozens of tech leaders are encouraging regulators to let Volkswagen off the hook for fixing its emissions-test-cheating diesel vehicles in exchange for speeding up production on electric vehicles.   (AP Photo/Michael Sohn, file)

(Newser) – More than 40 technology leaders have proposed a radical solution for how Volkswagen can fix its emissions-test-cheating vehicles: don't. Instead Quartz reports the 44 signers—including Tesla's Elon Musk—of a letter sent to the California Air Resources Board on Thursday suggest putting all the money and resources that would have gone toward fixing diesel cars already on the road toward speeding up production of emissions-less electric vehicles. "Cure the air, not the cars," they write in the letter. Earlier this year, Volkswagen found itself in hot water when it was revealed it had installed software to cheat emissions tests in nearly 500,000 diesel cars sold in the US, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Quartz reports regulators have ordered Volkswagen to fix all emissions-test-cheating vehicles currently on the road. In their letter, Musk and the other signers argue it's no longer worth it from a financial or performance standpoint to keep trying to make diesel cleaner, and many owners won't get the fix anyway. According to the Journal, they argue putting that money—as well as money from potential fines—toward electric cars and new zero-emission plants and technologies would reduce pollution 10 times what fixing the individual cars would. They also point out zero-emission cars have no way to cheat emissions tests, Quartz reports. Neither Volkswagen nor CARB have responded directly to the letter, with a CARB spokesperson telling the Journal only that their "focus has and will continue to be cleaning the air and advancing the cleanest vehicle and fuel technologies.”