BlueLA Shared Electric Cars Come to Disadvantaged Communities

Los Angeles is bringing its BlueLA electric car sharing service to disadvantaged communities, funded in part by the state’s cap-and-trade dollars.

LA Mayor Eric Garcetti and state officials on Friday opened BlueLA’s first demonstration station in the Pico Union neighborhood. It comes from the mayor’s Sustainable City pLAn, and is aimed at meeting Angeleno’s mobility needs with clean vehicles while also bringing more transportation options to low-income communities.

Future locations will include Westlake, Koreatown, Echo Park, and Downtown Los Angeles.

California state senate pro tem Kevin de León, assembly member Miguel Santiago, the California Air Resources Board, the Los Angeles Department of Transportation, and representatives from Blue Solutions were also in attendance. Blue Solutions, a division of Bolloré Group, forged a partnership in December and the French company has invested more than $10 million to bring EV car sharing to Los Angeles.

BlueLA is being funded in part by a $1.7 million grant through California Climate Investments, which manages state funds from cap-and-trade auctions. Under the state’s AB 32 global warming law, polluting companies such as oil refiners have to purchase carbon credits that go toward funding cleaner air and carbon reduction in the state, especially in disadvantaged communities.

Other funds come from SB 1275, authored by de Leon, which includes a Charge Ahead program supporting EVs and infrastructure.

“Through the Charge Ahead California Initiative we have expanded access to electric vehicles for all Californians, because if we are going to continue reducing harmful pollutants, electric vehicles can’t just be driven by the wealthy,” he said.

In December, Bolloré Group received backing from the LA city council to bring its service to Los Angeles. It became the second U.S. city to bring the electric car sharing service to the metro area, following Indianapolis and its BlueIndy program.

The city plans to bring 100 electric Bluecars through a shared fleet and more than 200 charging stations. The 4-seat Bluecar is manufactured by Bluecar SAS, a subsidiary of the Bolloré group in France. The Bluecar has a 125 mile per charge range.

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“The BlueLA EV car share program puts California’s cap-and-trade dollars to work to not only help meet the Paris Climate Agreement goals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and advance the EV goals in my Sustainable City pLAn, it brings new transportation options to neighborhoods that need them,” Garcetti said.

Garcetti has taken a visible role this year working with other U.S. cities on climate change issues and bringing electric vehicles to city fleets.

Earlier this month, he led a coalition of U.S. mayors denouncing President Donald’s Trump’s decision to leave the Paris Climate Agreement.

In March, he coordinated a move for 30 U.S. cities to find a good deal on purchasing EVs. The cities are taking bids from automakers and have up to $10 billion to purchase about 114,000 plug-in electrified vehicles for their fleets. The plan would bring to their fleets electrified police cruisers, street sweepers, trash haulers, buses, and other vehicle types.


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