Sacramento Metropolitan Air Quality Management District Member Spotlight
Think of an electric vehicle and you might think of a Silicon Valley engineer in her shiny new Tesla. The high price of electric vehicles (EVs) unfortunately puts them out of reach for most low-income Californians. The Sacramento Metropolitan Air Quality Management District (SMAQMD) is trying to change that with an innovative new model – a free, all-electric car share program at low-income housing communities across Sacramento. Launched in May 2017, the Our Community CarShare pilot program provides a convenient, free, and zero-emissions way for community residents to get around, improving their quality of life and expanding their economic opportunities.
Sacramento Our Community CarShare Program
Our Community CarShare is the first of its kind in California: the program provides residents with free, all-electric shared vehicles located at their affordable housing sites. Residents can reserve EVs for up to 3 hours per day, taking them for daily trips and errands, such as getting groceries, picking up their kids from school, or visiting the doctor. The EVs provide residents a convenient transportation choice, saving valuable time waiting for public transit or the high costs of operating and maintaining a personal vehicle.
The program launched in 2017 with Kia Soul EVs at four sites: the Sacramento Housing & Redevelopment Agency communities at Alder Grove, Edge Water, and Riverview, as well as Mutual Housing at Lemon Hill. Two additional vehicles are located at the Sacramento Valley Train Station. More recently, in its second phase, the program expanded to three more sites: Mutual Housing communities at River Gardens in Natomas, and Sky Park and Greenway Village in South Sacramento. These new sites host the newer Chevy Bolt EV, bringing the total number of EVs in the program up to 15.
As of April 2018 – in just under a year – residents in the Our Community CarShare program have made nearly 6,000 electric trips driving over 92,000 zero-emissions miles. Approximately one-third of these trips directly replace trips that would have otherwise been made by personal gasoline-powered vehicles. Thus, just a handful of Car Share EVs have been able to displace over 30,000 miles of gasoline vehicle miles!
Our Community CarShare is a first of its kind in Sacramento and if successful will expand to other communities in the Sacramento area. Project partners include Zipcar, which manages the vehicles and the online reservation system, and Breathe California, which manages the program and provides community outreach, as well as the City of Sacramento, the Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD), the Sacramento Housing Redevelopment Authority, and Mutual Housing.
Our Community CarShare has sites at low-income housing communities throughout Sacramento.
Our Community CarShare is providing Sacramento residents with EV mobility.
Funding for the program is provided by California Climate Investments (also known as the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund), which invests proceeds from California’s cap-and-trade program into projects throughout the state to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, strengthen the economy, and improve public health and the environment – particularly in under-served and environmental justice communities that are on the front line of climate change. The California Air Resources Board awarded SMAQMD $1.3 million for the first phase of the program, and based on its success, another $1 million for the second phase. All of the Our Community Car Share program sites are in disadvantaged communities identified by the State of California as priority areas for climate investments. The hope is that through providing a free, zero-emissions transportation choice, Our Community CarShare will help to improve residents’ economic opportunities, health, and quality of life.