The city of Los Angeles is moving forward with a program to bring electric car-sharing to some low-income neighborhoods as part of an effort to lower greenhouse gases and increase mobility in polluted areas of the city.
The L.A. City Council has approved a contract with Blue California, a subsidiary of the French company Bolloré, which operates electric vehicle car-sharing in Paris and Indianapolis. The program in Los Angeles will be the first of its kind to focus specifically on low-income communities.
The program will be paid for with $1.67 million in state cap and trade funds, the charges companies pay to offset pollution, which are intended to pay for measures that will lower carbon emissions. The private company Blue California will also invest $10 million in the program and the city of Los Angeles will contribute $1.8 million.
Under the contract, the L.A. Department of Transportation will work with Blue California to install about 200 electric charging stations and distribute 100 electric vehicles through downtown L.A., Westlake, MacArthur Park and parts of Koreatown. Users can check out electric vehicles for single trips or short periods and return the car to any charging station.
The communities were chosen because they fall in the top 10 percent of those identified by the state as having the lowest incomes and being the most vulnerable to pollution from traffic or industrial sources.
The program is the culmination of years of work by the Shared Use Mobility Center, a nonprofit that works to connect private enterprise with public agencies to encourage shared mobility options. The center has collaborated with the city on a plan to take 100,000 cars off the road over the next five years.
Sharon Feigon, executive director for the group, said electric car-sharing will integrate well with L.A.’s ambitions to expand its transit network. She cited research her group conducted that showed those with access to multiple modes of transportation besides transit, such as car-sharing or bike sharing, are actually less likely to own a car than those who only utilized transit.
“The idea is that if you can create an ecosystem of different options that are suitable for different types of trips, people can really live well without having to own their own car,” she said.
She said that’s because people feel more comfortable living without their own car if they know they have access to affordable cars when they need them, such as to make big purchases or take children to an appointment.
There is not yet information on how much membership for the car-sharing service will cost, if anything. Officials are hoping to get 7,000 people to sign up during the pilot phase and possibly expand the system around the city if it’s successful.
Officials hope to expand the pilot beyond L.A. and use cap and trade funds to help reach California’s stated goal of getting 1.5 million electric vehicles on the road by 2025.
cross-posted from Studio City
Electric Car Sharing Is Coming to Los Angeles
BREAKING: The LA City Council authorized a contract for a pilot program to introduce electric car sharing across parts of the city.
The council authorized a contract with BlueCalifornia to operate the program, which is supported by $1.67 million in grant funds from the California Air Resources Board, a $10 million investment from the company and $1.82 million in support from the city.
BlueCalifornia is a subsidiary of the French company Bollore Group, which has been operating electric car sharing in Paris since 2011 and also launched a car-share program in Indianapolis last year. The company will initially create a 100-car electric fleet and 200 charging stations as part of the contract.
“The overarching goal of this project is to also achieve co-benefit criteria pollutant emission reductions through the introduction of advanced clean car sharing fleets or other mobility options including, but not limited to, advanced technology vanpooling and shuttles into the state’s most disadvantaged communities,” Mayor Eric Garcetti said in a report about the pilot program addressed to the council.
The program will be located in Westlake, Pico-Union, and neighborhoods north of USC, as well as portions of downtown, Hollywood, and Koreatown.
“These communities are within the top 10 percent of the highest need communities on the California EPA’s CalEnviroScreen index — a tool that was used to identify neighborhoods most impacted by pollution and poverty,” Garcetti wrote. “Major portions of these communities fall in the L.A. Promise Zone, which aims to promote sustainable and livable communities where residents have access to affordable housing and diverse transportation options.”
The Shared-Use Mobility Center, a nonprofit organization that supports the program, said the pilot is expected to recruit a minimum of 7,000 new car- sharing users, who in turn are expected to sell or avoid purchasing 1,000 private vehicles and reduce annual greenhouse gas emissions by approximately 2,150 metric tons of CO2.
“Car sharing and shared mobility can help expand access to transportation, opportunity and a better quality of life for residents while mitigating traffic congestion and harmful vehicle emissions,” said Sharon Feigon, executive director of the Shared-Use Mobility Center. “Following the recent passage of Measure M, the launch of Metro Bike Share, and other important developments outlined in SUMC’s Shared Mobility Action Plan for Los Angeles County, this project represents another fantastic step forward in creating a network of efficient, environmentally sound transportation choices that work for all Angelenos.