Electrify America, an electric-vehicle car-share program, aims to reduce the amount of air pollution in Sacramento.
Electrify America, a subsidiary of the Volkswagen Group, one of the world’s largest car manufacturers, is spending $44 million in Sacramento for up to 160 chargers at seven sites for public use and charging stations at transit hubs for buses. The public chargers may be used by any electric vehicle, and stations will be in areas outside the downtown core to expand transportation options in low-income and disadvantaged areas such as Oak Park, Meadowview and north Sacramento.
Volkswagen has pledged to produce 22 million electric vehicles worldwide by 2028 and plans to spend $2 billion nationwide, including $800 million in California, over the next 10 years to provide charging stations to expand the infrastructure to meet the expected increase in electric vehicles. Volkswagen was ordered to create this program by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the California Air Resources Board as part of its settlement for cheating on emission certification tests in 2015.
The charging network is augmented by two car-sharing programs, Gig Car Share and Envoy, giving residents the opportunity to pick up a car in their neighborhood and drop it off at their destination, making it available for another driver, similar to JUMP bike service. Users get access to the vehicles through each company’s phone app.
Gig plans to have 260 of its electric models within a 13-square-mile “HomeZone” that includes downtown, Midtown, East Sacramento, Tahoe Park, Curtis Park and Land Park. Envoy will assign 140 Volkswagen e-Golfs at apartment buildings in mostly low-income neighborhoods. It operates 20 locations with about 40 charging stations, but plans to have 71 locations and 142 charging stations from North Highlands and north Sacramento to Florin and Meadowview.
Bill Sessa is a Sacramento-based freelance writer.