Sacramento Hopes a $44 Million Plan Will Help it Become an EV Leader

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【Summary】The $44 million plan will see Green City add electric buses, shared electric vehicles, chargers, and other pieces of infrastructure, as Electrify America looks to turn the city into the electric-vehicle capital of America.

Original Vineeth Joel Patel    Aug 20, 2018 6:00 AM PT
Sacramento Hopes a $44 Million Plan Will Help it Become an EV Leader

As retribution for its "dieselgate" emissions scandal, Volkswagen created Electrify America as a way of aiding the adoption of electric vehicles in the United States. Upon its announcement, Electrify America stated that it would invest $2 billion into zero emission vehicle (ZEV) infrastructure and education programs in the U.S. over a ten-year period that would end in 2027. 

The massive investment, which would be split into two parts – $1.2 billion going throughout the entire nation and the other $800 million going into California – would see Electrify America erect an expansive charging network. 

Earlier this May, Electrify America revealed its nationwide charging station map that included a charger in 39 states. The majority of states had a 150-kW charger, while California residents benefitted from 320 ultra-fast kW chargers. All in all, the network covers 484 sites. 

Towards the end of last month, VW's Electrify America announced plans to launch a car-sharing service in Sacramento. In addition to the car-sharing service, Electrify America announced plans to setup car-sharing services, ultra-fast EV charging stations, and 12 new electric buses.  

Envoy Car Sharing.jpg

Electrify America Looks To Make Sacramento Its EV Capital

Curbed got some more information on Electrify America's $44 million plan to make Sacramento the electric car capital of the United States. Under the new funding, Green City would see a lot of new electric vehicle infrastructure, which includes the addition of electric cars, charging stations, and buses. 

"Sacramento's developments are quite exciting," Nic Lutsey, who works on electric vehicles for the International Council on Clean Transportation, told the outlet. "The city and business leaders are making serious commitments and investments to grow the electric market." 

The massive plan, which is set to begin this summer, will start with the two car-sharing services. The services will bring hundreds of EVs to the city. The car-sharing services are called Envoy and Gig. Envoy, according to the outlet, will pair electric vehicles with specific properties. So apartment buildings will have a pair of Volkswagen e-Golf cars available. 

Gig, which is the second car-sharing service, is run by AAA and has plans to add 260 "free-floating" Chevrolet Bolt electric cars to the city. The all-electric Bolts can be picked up at any time and parked anywhere within the city's downtown zone. 

Electrify America.jpg

Green City Will Expand Beyond Cars

In addition to the new car-sharing services, Green City will also be home to two new zero-emission electric bus lines. The buses will have a regular service to the nearby University of California at Davis campus. Besides the route to the college, the buses will operate as an on-demand microtransit shuttle to the Franklin neighborhood. 

Lastly, the plan involves the installation of 10 charging depots with somewhere between three to 10 chargers per site. Curbed claims that the charging stations will be equipped with 350 kW super-fast chargers, which aren't available yet.  When those chargers become available, they'll be capable of charging an electric vehicle in roughly the same amount of time it takes to fill up a gasoline-powered car. 

With all of these in place, Richard Steinberg, a senior director with Electrify America, believes that Sacramento will be a leader in the electric-vehicle scene. "Whether it's bus or car share, more and more people will have access to pure electric travel options," said Steinberg. 

Steinberg also believes that Electrify America's Sacramento program will differ from other services, which include Drive Now and Car2Go, by having more infrastructure support, greater range, and faster charging stations. That, as Curbed claims, offers more freedom and flexibility for commuters. 

"Our goal is to try and change ownership to usership," said Aric Ohana, cofounder of the Envoy electric car-share service. Ohana's company has put itself in a good position for the EV revolution. Envoy reportedly partners with real estate developers and offers zero-emission transit options where people reside and work. 

Gig Car Share.jpg

Why Choose Sacramento?

Sacramento is one of the more popular cities for organizations looking to introduce new electric-vehicle technology or EV movements. Curbed believes Volkswagen chose Sacramento for two reasons: one, it's the perfect size and two, the city has a more "self-contained" workforce, making car-sharing a more viable option for residents. 

The city is home to a large amount of electric vehicles, which makes it the ideal location for a massive EV program like Electrify America's. The outlet states that Sacramento has roughly three times the amount of EVs than the national average. The city also has the fifth highest uptake level of electric cars among cities in the U.S. 

"Sacramento is definitely at the vanguard of U.S. cities growing the electric market," said Lutsey. 

While more infrastructure and electric transportation methods will increase the amount of electric cars in Sacramento, it won't be enough to meet California Governor Jerry Brown's goal of having 5 million EVs on the road by 2030. At the moment, the outlet states that three percent of Sacramento's new car sales come from EVs. That figure will need to grow to approximately 36 to 50 percent in order for Brown's goals to be met. 

"The Electrify America plan is a great start on the fast-charging infrastructure we need in the U.S., but we estimate that much more will be needed to really meet the market size we expect," said Chris Nelder, manager for mobility at the Rocky Mountain Institute.

With Sacramento's appreciation of electric vehicles, the massive Green Cities investment is a smart way of making the city even more attractive for EV companies and EV fans. 

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