Electrify America is best known for its vast EV fast charging network. However, part of the requirement for the company (as a result of Volkswagen Group’s penalty for a long-term diesel emissions scandal) was that it also engage in a certain amount of EV education. In another tranche of investment into this, one particularly focused on under-tapped low-income and disadvantaged communities in California, the subsidiary of Volkswagen Group is putting $3 million into zero-emission vehicle (ZEV) education and awareness raising via 6 organizations.
This $3 million investment brings the two-year total to $5.7 million when it comes to support for community-based programs. The California organizations getting the financial support in this round are as follows:
- Breathe Southern California (Breathe SoCal): Breathe SoCal (formerly BREATHE LA) is a non-profit, non-partisan organization that promotes clean air and healthy lungs through education, research, technology and advocacy. Breathe SoCal will collaborate with Plug In America (PIA), together offering programs to show the powerful benefits of driving electric by providing ZEV Ride and Drive events among low-income and disadvantaged populations in greater Los Angeles County, San Bernardino and Riverside County areas. Breathe SoCal and PIA will implement a three-part strategy including identification of the ZEV target audience, virtual and direct educational contact through featured events and digital reach/messaging reinforcement. breathesocal.org
- Central California Asthma Collaborative (CCAC): CCAC’s mission is to provide education and direct services, build regional capacity and advocate for sensible policies that improve health and address inequities by reducing environmental impacts and emphasizing the prevention and management of chronic disease. CCAC will leverage its existing ZEV outreach assets to increase engagement with low-income and disadvantaged residents across the San Joaquin Valley, including coordination of the Clean Vehicle Empowerment Collaborative (CVEC), a group of eight community-based organizations who serve as trusted messengers in disadvantaged Valley communities. This grant will also support the development of an EV Navigator program, providing residents one-on-one assistance with ZEV pricing, financing and submission of stackable incentive applications. cencalasthma.org
- Drive Clean Bay Area (DCBA): The DCBA campaign launched the ZEV Families Program in 2019 in collaboration with Acterra: Action for a Healthy Planet, Charge Across Town and Cool the Earth to connect low income families in the Bay Area to the clean transportation movement. DCBA focuses on engaging local schools, nonprofits and businesses to educate their stakeholders to drive electric. The ZEV Families Program leverages 1) a family/community approach rather than single buyer, 2) a STEM focus, 3) school and educational events and Ride and Drives, 4) multi-platform social media, and 5) a data-driven approach. drivecleanbayarea.org
- Ecology Action: Ecology Action helps people act now to reduce emissions at scale to ensure a thriving people and planet. They are committed to transportation justice and have helped advance sustainable transportation in DAC communities for nearly two decades. Ecology Action leads the collaborative Central Coast ZEV Equity Initiative designed to engage and inform low-income and disadvantaged residents that ZEVs can meet their driving needs at an affordable price. With four community partners they will provide ZEV Ride and Drives, ZEV Showcase events and individualized ZEV purchase guidance by using bilingual EV Ambassadors virtually and in person when it is safe to do so, from Santa Cruz to Ventura Counties. https://ecoact.org/about-us/community-engagement/electric-vehicles
- Liberty Hill Foundation (LHF): LHF represents all parts of the social justice ecosystem of Los Angeles, and continues their 45-year efforts in the Los Angeles Air Basin to create greater equity, environmental sustainability and economic opportunity. LHF will focus on connecting low-income and disadvantaged households across L.A. County with diverse grassroots groups through its emPOWER program — a partnership between LHF and nine community-based organizations operating across L.A. County in areas on the frontlines of industrial pollution. The program leverages the extensive network of CBO partners across social media platforms, as well as through direct outreach leveraging local community members, volunteers and leaders. libertyhill.org
- Valley Clean Air Now (VCAN): VCAN is a 501(c)(3) public charity committed to quantifiably reducing air emissions in California’s San Joaquin Valley, the region with the worst air quality in the United States. VCAN and partner Charge Across Townwill continue their comprehensive campaigns that offer San Joaquin Valley low-income and disadvantaged community groups an opportunity to drive ZEVs and to provide hands-on help with qualifying for ZEV incentives through Community Clean Car Clinics and Tune In & Tune Up events. Recently, VCAN has partnered with Community Food Distribution hosts to use their communication channels to promote personalized ZEV purchase customer support and document submission. This extended support includes coordination with ZEV vehicle dealerships throughout the qualification and sales process. valleycan.org
The education campaigns will focus on the financial competitiveness of electric vehicles as well as some other benefits. As with basically any group, many potential EV consumers do not realize how low EV operational costs can be, and thus, do not realize they might be able to save a lot of money in the long term by driving electric.
More details can be found here.