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The benefits of electric carsharing in underserved communities

According to a report recently published by The Greenlining Institute, electric vehicles are an important tool for reducing greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation sector, which is responsible for 39% of air pollution and the leading source of greenhouse gas emissions in California.  Electric carsharing programs in underserved communities, which is the fastest growing consumer segment, will reduce air pollution in critically affected neighborhoods that are disproportionately affected by air pollution while solving a major transportation problem.

The Charge Ahead Initiative, SB 1275, supports electric carsharing in underserved and low to moderate income areas, while supporting California’s goal for a Million Electric Vehicles by 2023. This effort will address air pollution at a time when twice as many people are dying from traffic pollution than from traffic accidents. Each vehicle in a carsharing program has the potential to replace between 9-12 personal vehicles on the road and reduce miles driven and greenhouse gas emissions by up to 43% while saving $154-$435 per month of associated car ownership costs for each carsharing member.

Carsharing has seen impressive growth across the country, but underserved communities are still not in the action. A carsharing program will provide solutions for the first-last mile problem low to moderate income families experience because public transportation often does not go into neighborhoods with affordable housing.

According to the report from Greenlining, major components of a successful carsharing program include:

  • Outreach– include existing community organizations and provide personal outreach, support, and education about electric vehicles and how to maximize carsharing benefits
  • Infrastructure– utilize neighborhood partnerships to secure parking and install charging stations in optimal locations with the lowest costs
  • Payment options– including pay in advance and EBT options for divers with poor credit or limited access to credit and debit cards
  • Insurance, safety, and security– clean driving record requirements to reduce risk, collision avoidance technologies, vandalism prevention, and using subsidies and a collected fund to cover deductibles
  • One-way carsharing and vanpooling/carpooling– reduce cost of use by helping organize van and carpooling and reducing the hours a vehicle is needed by linking with public transportation

Electric vehicle carsharing delivers a unique opportunity to improve the health and mobility of families living in underserved communities while supporting state-wide energy goals.