Author: Electric Auto Association Published: 7/10/2020 EAA
Dr. Shelley Francis, EVHybridNoire Co-Founder, EVNoire Mobility Intelligence Consulting Group and Electric Auto Association Board Member
We’re in a time of change in this country, and with the national attention on questions of equity for all Americans, it is important to highlight important equity issues that may otherwise go unnoticed.
We at EVHybridNoire, the nation’s largest network of diverse EV drivers, as well as at other electric vehicle advocacy organizations, must focus on spreading awareness that Frontline communities can face unique challenges when it comes to owning and operating electric vehicles. Ironically, these same communities are often areas that need electric vehicles the most.
With that in mind, it was great for EVHybridNoire to host the National EMobility Equity Town Hall with Forth in partnership with the California Air Resource Board in May as the first in a series of National conversations examining best practices for engaging Frontline communities, emobility equity and expanding EV adoption. We were thrilled with the response, and plans for future Town Halls are in the works.
Our primary intention for this series is to engage thought leaders from around the country with diverse backgrounds and expertise whether Black, Asian or LatinX, as well as to elevate the role of women in this space. Our overall context has been our constant goal to increase EV awareness and adoption in Frontline communities, as well as to turn networks of diverse electric car drivers into grassroots supporters of clean transportation programs.
At the Town Hall, we were fortunate to hear perspectives from the following sectors: utilities and co-ops, government and policy makers, philanthropy, EV practitioners and community based partners and community members. Every presentation was truly insightful and compelling.
An appetite to engage
Even on a screen, it was inspiring to see the hundreds of participants from 32 states and several foreign countries who attended our event. There is obviously a great appetite for conversations about the topics our eight speakers discussed, from environmental justice and equity in the transportation sector to the public health impact of air pollution and the role of utilities in accelerating EV adoption.
It has become clear that a more diverse consumer base must be engaged when it comes to electric vehicles. Many states have set goals around building infrastructure and increasing the number of EV drivers. This can only be accomplished by going outside the traditional demographic and expanding the narrative of what an EV driver looks like. We’re hoping that the sharing of strategies during these National Town Halls will help state decision makers and stakeholders better implement equitable, best practices and avoid missteps others have made along the way.
In addition, as automakers accelerate manufacturing of electric vehicles, there will be opportunities for these same Frontline communities to be trained to participate in greening economies. Our aim is to position community members to be competitive in these markets.
We’re looking forward to our upcoming National EMobility Equity Virtual Conference. Originally slated for an in person event in June, it has now been pushed to November. The Conference will provide the opportunity for attendees to take a deep dive into emobility equity and best practices.
Now more than ever
EVHybridNoire is a safe space for diverse members to share information and resources about clean transportation, EMobility, shared and autonomous vehicles and other advanced EMobility tech. We make it a primary objective to address the needs of Frontline communities that are suffering some of the worst effects of climate change due to ever-increasing urban air pollution. We also advocate for increased infrastructure, especially with regard to charging stations for electric vehicles in Frontline communities as many communities sit in an EV charging desert with limited to no charging infrastructure.
At a time when Black, LatinX, Native American and Frontline communities have been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19, it is imperative that we accelerate our efforts in these areas. At EVHybridNoire, we are as committed as ever to the notion that one’s zip code and race/ethnicity should not determine life expectancy and health outcomes.