Systemically-perpetuated cycles of income inequality, EV charging access, and the disproportionate pollution burden borne by low-income neighborhoods could all be reinforced as ride-hailing companies work to comply with California EV mandates, a new RMI report warns. Transportation network companies like Lyft and Uber must increase their “electric vehicle miles traveled” to 90% by 2030 under a recently-enacted California standard, but the benefits of reduced tailpipe pollution likely will not be felt by those who most need it. That’s because Los Angeles EV charging stations are concentrated in wealthy neighborhoods, where single-family homeowners can install chargers that renters and multi-family units often can’t.
This means that low-income communities (where most drivers actually live) are serviced by polluting internal combustion engine-powered vehicles, while wealthy neighborhoods enjoy the reduced local pollution benefits of EVs. It also means that without new policy to build out charging infrastructure in low-income neighborhoods, these companies will likely reduce, if not eliminate, services to those neighborhoods to meet the new standard for EV use. (Bloomberg $, E&E $, Canary Media)