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Thousands of diesel VWs await their fate in the shadow of the defunct Satsop Nuclear Power Plant in Elma, Washington
Thousands of diesel VWs await their fate in the shadow of the defunct Satsop Nuclear Power Plant in Elma, Washington (Google Maps link)

If you sold your recalled emissions-cheating diesel VW back to Volkswagen in the Pacific Northwest, you may be able to spot your old car on Google Maps.

According to Grays Harbor newspaper The Daily World, last year tens of thousands of the recalled cars from Washington, Oregon, and Alaska began pouring into to the port in Aberdeen, Wash., where they are having their emissions issues repaired. Eventually they had so many cars at the port that they began overflowing to fifty-five acres of parking twenty miles east in Elma, next door to the defunct Satsop Nuclear Power Plant.

The Satsop Nuclear Power Plant was under construction from 1977 until 1983, when the incomplete project died due to a lack of funding. It was later redeveloped into a business park With the large collection of recalled VW diesel cars now sharing the space, the area has become sort of an accidental museum of high profile, large-scale energy failures.

Thousands of diesel VWs await their fate in massive parking lots in Elma, Washington
Thousands of diesel VWs await their fate in massive parking lots in Elma, Washington (Google Maps link)

A closer look shows the cars stuffed in as tightly as possible in nearly every available space. Although Volkswagen sells cars with a wide variety of colors that have fancy names like “Silk Blue Metallic,” “Deep Black Pearl,” and “Tornado Red,” from high above the lots the cars appear to be about 45 percent white, 45 percent black, and ten percent red.

A closer look at thousands of diesel VWs awaiting their fate in massive parking lots in Elma, Washington
A closer look at thousands of diesel VWs awaiting their fate in massive parking lots in Elma, Wash.. (Google Maps link)

Google Maps’s latest aerial view of the area shows around 10,000 of the cheating cars in lots around the unused nuclear plant, along with another 10,000 or so at the port:

Thousands of diesel VWs await their fate at the port in Aberdeen, Washington
Thousands of diesel VWs await their fate at the port in Aberdeen, Washington (Google Maps link)

Details about the post-recall process are sparse. The 2017 Daily World article says only that Volkswagen was using the space to store the cars either before or after repair, but the manager of Pasha Automotive, the company overseeing the project, “was not at liberty to discuss any details about Pasha’s agreement with Volkswagen regarding the recalled vehicles.”

Once the cars are updated to comply with emissions standards, they will presumably be re-sold by dealers.

Update:
GeekWire’s Kevin Lisota took a trip out to the site to snag some aerial footage:

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