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California funds electric vehicle car sharing program

29 Sep 2017, 1.12 pm GMT

California funds electric vehicle car sharing program

San Francisco, 25 September (Argus) — California is continuing to ramp up its efforts to limit greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) from the transportation sector while addressing the concerns of low-income communities.

The California Energy Commission recently awarded $3mn to projects that provide access to electric vehicles. Half of the funds went to the car-sharing service Envoy.

"We are excited to see the impact our project will have on the communities in the Bay Area and Sacramento as we strive to decrease traffic congestion, reduce parking needs and promote the use of electric vehicles," Envoy co-founder Ori Sagie said.

Envoy plans to deploy over 80 all-electric vehicles between the two metropolitan areas, mostly in disadvantaged communities. People living in those areas could reserve the vehicles for personal use or to earn income from delivery services or ride-hailing companies like Uber and Lyft, according to the company.

Envoy is a closed car-sharing platform, which means that the company's vehicles are assigned to specific locations and only designated tenants or members can access the cars. The grant reflects efforts by the California Energy Commission to expand the reach of electric vehicles to renters, residents of multifamily dwellings and, more broadly, low-income communities.

California lawmakers have pushed the state regulators to focus more on the transportation sector with their climate change programs. Cars and trucks account for nearly two-fifths of greenhouse gas emissions in the state.

The legislature earlier this month approved a $1.5bn spending plan for cap-and-trade revenues that directs nearly 60pc of the funds to programs that replace diesel fuels with cleaner burning alternatives.

The state will also receive $800mn of investment in zero-emission vehicles and related infrastructure from automaker Volkswagen (VW) as part of a settlement of state and federal charges over the company's use of illegal emissions control equipment in nearly 500,000 diesel cars. The company says it will focus much of its attention on disadvantaged communities.

California has set a goal of having 1.5mn electric vehicles on the road by 2025. California leads all states with roughly 305,000 electric vehicles, nearly half the US total.


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