Bringing electric vehicles to more low-income communities

Electrify America is making an additional investment of nearly $3 million to support four community organizations promoting education and awareness of electric vehicles (as in electric vehicles, sometimes referred to as ZEVs or zero-emission vehicles) in low-income communities and underprivileged in California.

According to a recent press release, this new investment is part of the company’s overall commitment to environmental, social and governance (ESG) practices and supports the company’s plan to invest $200 million in the electric vehicle infrastructure and education programs in California through mid-2024.

“In the exciting race to electrify our transportation system, many communities have not had equitable access to resources and information that can help establish adoption of electric vehicles,” said Gabriela Herrera Gugiu, Senior Specialist at corporate social responsibility at Electrify America, in a public statement. “We believe it’s our responsibility to help create a future where zero-emission vehicles can be accessible and affordable for Californians and communities across the country.”

With nearly 800 charging stations across the country, Electrify America is the largest open direct current (DC) fast-charging network in the United States. Since 2018, the company has announced investments of more than $9 million to help accelerate the adoption of electric vehicles in California, which has required 100% of new cars and light trucks sold in California to be zero-emission vehicles. (fully electric battery, hydrogen fuel cell and plug-in hybrid electric) by 2035.

Electrify America’s new investment builds on four years of significant investments with community-based organizations (CBOs) and non-profit organizations (NGOs) in low-income and disadvantaged communities throughout California. The investments aim to support a fairer transition to electric vehicles.

In addition, community organizations will also focus on home charging education as well as awareness and engagement related to Electrify America’s $25 million investment in Green City to bring charging infrastructure. at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach and help electrify the tens of thousands of drayage trucks that enter the port complex each day.

More than 100 nonprofit, private, and public entities from across California were invited to submit proposals to support brand-neutral EV education in disadvantaged and low-income communities. Organizations receiving funding include:

Breathe Southern California will host ride-sharing electric vehicle educational sessions, a ride-and-drive event at a farmers market, and a miniature electric vehicle contest for families. Activities will take place in and around the Long Beach-Wilmington area where the Green City initiative is centered.

Ecology Action will focus on driving and driving events, including electric vehicle showcases, electric vehicle buying assistance tips, and electric vehicle webinars throughout California’s Central Coast and beyond, intended to raise community awareness across the state.

Plug In America supports California-based electric vehicle education and engagement through ride-and-drive programs throughout California, electric vehicle test drives in rural communities, including regions surrounding efforts of Green City.

Valley Clean Air Now (VCAN) and key partners such as Charge Across Town will continue their comprehensive efforts that provide low-income and disadvantaged community groups in the San Joaquin Valley with opportunities to test drive electric vehicles and provide hands-on assistance to qualify for Electric Vehicle Incentives through community clean car clinics and “Tune In & Tune Up” events. VCAN will also begin recruiting new car dealerships to join the California Resources Board’s “Clean Cars 4 All” program, as well as additional community and government collaborations to reduce barriers to electric vehicle ownership in disadvantaged communities.

Electrify America’s new investment follows the company’s announcement in May 2022 that it had entered into a 15-year virtual power purchase agreement (VPPA) to build a solar photovoltaic power generation project renewable in San Bernardino County. Electrify America Solar Glow™ 1 is expected to generate 75 megawatts at maximum solar capacity and produce enough fully renewable energy each year to help offset the energy used by Electrify America customers charging on its grid.

The company also invests in clean technology innovations to support sustainable and reliable operations, including more than 100 battery energy storage systems at charging stations across California to help stabilize the power grid and maintain prices. , while potentially maximizing the use of grid renewables.

Through 2021, Electrify America has invested $400 million in California, nearly half to support education, access, charging infrastructure and services to promote electric vehicle driving, including $18 million dollars in education and marketing in marginalized communities across the state.

Expanding access to electric vehicles will have major social and environmental implications for marginalized communities that have been overlooked when it comes to transport infrastructure investments, except when it comes to building highways and railways in these areas. According to a 2019 report, “Expanding Zero Emission Mobility and Access” by the ZEV Alliance and the International Council on Clean Transport (ICCT), low-income and disadvantaged communities face “disproportionately large” health impacts. due to climate change and environmental pollution. Electric vehicles offer great potential to benefit these communities by reducing pollution and improving public health, especially for the most vulnerable residents.

“The sad reality is that the fossil fuel industry is lobbying against ZEV [zero emissions vehicles] policies by concealing the benefits they can bring to various communities and spreading misinformation suggesting that [EVs) are for the rich only,” according to the ZEV Alliance-ICCT report. “From a moral and practical perspective, a large coalition is needed to support clean transportation, which cannot be done if [EVs] are seen as an exclusive privilege.

Image credit: Ernest Ojeh via Unsplash

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