Legislation - 05/December/2018

Electric vehicles for everyone

California is leading efforts to make the transition from combustion engines to electric vehicles fair and just for all including low-income groups

A new service called “Green Raiteros” has been launched in Huron, a small farming community in California’s San Joaquin Valley that ranks as one of the state’s poorest cities. The service features vehicle charging infrastructure, a fleet of shared electric vehicles (EVs), both new and used, and an aim to expand, through a group of volunteer drivers, or “raiteros”, that offer sliding-scale rates to connect the predominantly Latino community with Fresno.

Although Fresno is only 84 kilometres away, the only public transport alternative now available is a six-hour round bus trip with infrequent service. The Green Raiteros project was developed by the Latino Environmental Advancement and Policy Institute founded by Huron mayor Rey León and builds on an informal ride-sharing system that has existed for decades but relied on older, polluting cars. Fees are sliding-scale, based on a passenger’s income and the distance travelled.

Green Raiteros received $519,400 in funding from the California Public Utility Commission and is just one of a raft of initiatives in the state, which targets five million zero emission vehicles (ZEV) on the road by 2030 and 250,000 EV charging stations by 2025, to improve EV access for poorer residents.

A major source of funding for that purpose has come from California Climate Investments (CCI), a statewide initiative using funds from the state’s carbon emissions cap-and-trade system, the world’s fourth largest carbon trading programme, with a mandate to direct at least 35% of investments to disadvantaged and low-income communities. California is also aiming to have 100% of its electricity from renewable energy by 2045, so the idea is that EVs will increasingly be truly emission free. ...

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