Electric Car-Sharing Introduced to Disadvantaged Communities in Los Angeles

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Antonio R. Villariogosa
An electric car on display at the Electric Vehicle Conference held at the Los Angeles Civic Center in 2010.

Residents of Los Angeles’ low-income neighborhoods will soon be the drivers of California’s clean energy movement with the introduction of an electric car-sharing project. The pilot program, made possible by a US$1.6 million grant by the California Air Resources Board, will make alternative transportation more available to the communities most affected by climate change.

This trailblazing initiative hopes to serve around 7000 residents in the city’s working class communities, starting with a 100-vehicle fleet of advanced technology electric vehicles (EVs). Residents will be educated on the benefits of car sharing and clean transportation, as well as introduced to EV charging stations in their own housing developments. This will help advance Los Angeles’ Sustainable City pLAn’s 2017 goal of having 1000 public charging stations to reduce petroleum dependency and cut down greenhouse gas emissions.

These stations will push California closer to attaining its climate change goals of having 1.5 million electric vehicles on the road by 2025 and cutting petroleum use by half by 2030. This project is also in line with Senate Bill 1275, the Charge Ahead California Initiative that was enacted last year. SB 1275 aims to ensure that low-income Californians who disproportionately suffer from the effects of air pollution have greater access to clean transportation.

At a neighborhood event celebrating the project, Sharon Feigon, executive director of the Shared-Use Mobility Center, said, “The size and scope of this endeavor make it an unprecedented public investment in shared mobility. This unique project will increase access to transportation for hundreds of thousands of Angelenos, while at the same time attracting new private-sector investment, increasing public awareness of electric vehicles, and cutting congestion and harmful emissions.”