Electrify America, the largest open DC fast charging network in the U.S., has announced an additional investment of nearly $3 million in California to build Zero Emission Vehicles (ZEV) education and awareness in low-income and disadvantaged communities throughout the state. The move is part of an existing plan to invest a total of $200 million in California ZEV infrastructure and education programs through mid-2024.
The investment will support four community-based organizations: Breathe Southern California, Ecology Action, Plug In America, and Valley Clean Air Now (VCAN). They will primarily focus on home charging education and raising awareness and engagement around Electrify America’s Green City investment of $25 million. That project is working to bring charging infrastructure to the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach.
As for the four organizations, Breathe Southern California is a non-profit, non-partisan organization that promotes clean air through education, research, technology, and advocacy. As part of the investment, Breathe SoCal will host ride-share driver EV educational sessions, along with a ride-and-drive EV event at a farmer’s market, and a mini EV competition for families. Look for these activities to take place in and around the Long Beach-Wilmington area where the Green City initiative takes center stage.
Ecology Action works to help people act on reducing emissions at scale. For this initiative, the organization will focus on ride-and-drive events throughout the Central Coast, along with EV showcases, purchase support guidance, and webinars.
Plug In America works to help others understand the benefits of driving electric and provides information to help consumers find the best plug-in vehicle for their needs. The organization founded National Drive Electric Week, which is the world’s largest event for plug-in vehicles, with over 180,000 attendees across 324 events in 2019 throughout the U.S. Expect to see it contribute with ride-and-drive programs across the state, including EV test drives in rural communities and regions near the Green City efforts.
Finally, VCAN is a public charity that is committed to reducing air emissions in California’s San Joaquin Valley. It joins partners such as Charge Across Town to deliver test-drive opportunities to low-income and disadvantaged communities in the San Joaquin Valley. The organization will also recruit new car dealers to join the Clean Cars 4 All program.
“In the exciting race to electrify our transportation system, many communities have not had equitable access to the resources and information that can help establish adoption of electric vehicles,” said Gabriela Herrera Gugiu, corporate social responsibility senior specialist, Electrify America. “We believe it’s our responsibility to help create a future where zero emission vehicles can be accessible and affordable to Californians and communities across the country.”
Through 2021, Electrify America has invested a total of $400 million in California and nearly half of that is in low-income, disadvantaged, and underserved communities. The company has mainly focused on providing education, access, charging infrastructure, and services to promote zero-emissions driving.
Although California is the leading state for EV adoption, it’s a pretty big state and there are areas where EV adoption is light. Electrify America’s investment will help educate consumers on the benefits of going electric, but there’s still the problem of availability of affordable EVs. The Chevrolet Bolt might be the best value in the EV world, but some car shoppers don’t consider that vehicle affordable.