L.A. Selected to Debut Electric Vehicle Car-Sharing Project

Program Increases Access to Advanced Technology in Low-Income Communities to Meet Climate Goals

Friday, July 24, 2015

LOS ANGELES—The City of Los Angeles and its community partners have been awarded a $1.6 million grant by the California Air Resources Board (ARB) for a pilot project that provides electric vehicle car-sharing options in low-income communities. During an event held Friday at MPM Apartments, an affordable housing development in MacArthur Park, residents, community groups, city and state officials celebrated the hallmark program that will increase access to advanced technology and reduce carbon emissions and petroleum use in one of America’s most polluted cities. The housing development plans to install an electric car-sharing station in the near future.

ARB’s Car Sharing and Mobility Options in Disadvantaged Communities Pilot Project was made possible by two bills authored by Senate President pro Tempore Kevin de León (D-Los Angeles): SB 1275 which created the Charge Ahead initiative and SB 535 which directs the ARB to invest cap-and-trade revenue in neighborhoods disproportionately impacted by climate change and poor environmental quality.

The proposal selected for a grant was designed by the L.A. Mayor’s Office of Sustainability and will serve about 7,000 residents in some of L.A.’s working-class communities (Fact Sheet). This type of program will be essential in helping California reach its ambitious climate goals to put 1.5 million electric vehicles on the road by 2025, cut petroleum use by half by 2030, and make real progress in Los Angeles’ Sustainable City Plan.

“Fighting smog and climate change so that our kids can breathe clean air requires more transportation options that don’t rely on dirty fossil fuels,” Senator De León said. “This electric car-sharing pilot project offers a glimpse of the future, and represents the type of shift in policy, infrastructure, and behavior that we need.”

“Our EV car sharing pilot is a perfect example of how our State's Cap and Trade dollars should be put to work: providing transportation options for Angelenos in need, and helping us achieve our clean air goals outlined in my Sustainable City pLAn," said Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti. "I commend Senator Kevin de León's leadership in creating the Charge Ahead program and thank CARB for selecting L.A. for this important grant."

“Once again California is putting its money where its mouth is -- by making the cleanest cars available in neighborhoods and communities where they are most needed," said California Air Resources Board Chair Mary D. Nichols.

“The size and scope of this endeavor make it an unprecedented public investment in shared mobility,” said Sharon Feigon, Executive Director of the Shared-Use Mobility Center (SUMC) – a national, public-interest organization working to foster collaboration in shared transportation. “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,” she said.

“Thanks to the leadership of Governor Brown, Senate President Pro Tem De León, ARB Chair Mary Nichols and Mayor Garcetti, low-income Angelenos will soon have more options for getting from point A to B, all while cleaning up our air, improving public health and protecting our climate,” said Michelle Kinman, clean energy advocate with Environment California. “This pioneering car sharing pilot project has the potential to jumpstart the clean vehicle revolution in diverse communities throughout California and beyond.”

The pilot project will educate residents about car sharing and transportation alternatives, install electric vehicle charging stations, and introduce a car sharing fleet of advanced technology electric vehicles. The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, the largest municipal utility in the nation, will provide support for the EV infrastructure.

Federal surveys of American households have found that half of all trips we make are three miles or less and nearly one third of all trips are one mile or less. Today in Los Angeles, only 26% of trips are made by walking, biking or transit, and only about 1% of trips use shared transportation like car-sharing. This electric vehicle car-sharing program will offer clean, affordable transportation choices for families without contributing to our air quality challenges or to climate change.

Several community organizations have taken an active role to get this program off the ground: Environment California, Communities for a Better Environment, Enterprise Community Partners, Coalition for Clean Air, La Mas, Korean Immigrant Workers Alliance (KIWA), Move LA, PATH Ventures, T.R.U.S.T. South LA, East Los Angeles Community Corporation, and the Natural Resources Defense Council.