Volkswagen's Electrify America subsidiary is partnering with Sacramento, California on a ton of new zero-emissions vehicle initiatives, and it could prove to be a pretty big deal for some of the city's underserved communities.
Electrify America is investing upward of $44 million in this "Green City" plan which has several facets. First, there will be two new zero-emission vehicle car share services launched in the city. Gig is a free-float electric car-share (think of those annoying Bird scooters but with cars) where a person can drop off an electric car that they're using at any legal parking space inside a 13-square-mile "home zone." Users pay either by time used or miles traveled, whichever is less. Gig will be available in Q1 of 2019.
The other car sharing service is called Envoy, and it's a round-trip car-sharing service (more like ZipCar) where users book, then pick up and return the car to the same spot. Envoy will feature a fleet of 142 vehicles spread in pairs across 71 locations, and each vehicle will have a dedicated Level 2 EV charger. The cool thing about Envoy is that it will have 75 percent of its cars positioned to serve low-income communities in Sacramento, something that could be potentially game-changing for residents there.
Next, Electrify America is investing in several battery-electric buses that will run from the University of California, Davis to the Sacramento campus of UC Davis Health. The fleet will include 12 buses and is expected to begin operation in 12 to 18 months, and will eventually include up to four stops in between the two primary destinations. Electrify America will also help to fund a zero-emissions shuttle system for the city's Franklin area, which has been without bus service for 10 years.
Lastly, there are plans to build out the region's electric vehicle charging infrastructure by adding 10 quick chargers capable of charging at 50-, 150- and 350-kilowatt hours. These charging stations will be open to the public, and part of the funding used to build them will also go to the charging infrastructure for both of the upcoming car-share programs and the electric bus service.
When talking about California, Sacramento often gets forgotten, and despite being the state's capital, it is frequently overshadowed by San Francisco and Los Angeles, so it's good to see an organization like Electrify America make such a substantial investment in greening the city's transportation system. We're looking forward to seeing how it all pans out.
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