California Tells Volkswagen To Support Low-Income Areas With Charging Stations

JUN 20 2017 BY MARK KANE 80

Volkswagen is officially required to place at least 35% of its invest-a-settlement into California (related to the dieselgate scandal) specifically into disadvantaged communities.

2017 Volkswagen e-Golf

In total, the German manufacturer needs to spent $2 billion on electrification projects ($800 million in California and $1,200 million nationwide, outside California) over 10 years.

The first tranche, to be handed out in the current 30 month period, heads to California in the amount of $200 million, while for the rest of the country – $300 million.

The bulk of the investment will go to the infrastructure specifically, but as various parties have alread reported, Volkswagen looks to focus on commercially attractive areas, thus also achieving competitive advantage.

“Volkswagen proposed spending $120 million on more than 400 highways and community EV charging stations by 2019, often in high-traffic areas where rivals hoped to set up commercial stations.”

To ‘spread the love out’ a little more, the California Air Resources Board has now secured the stipulation that disadvantaged communities will not be omitted.  Proving once again, you can’t get anything past CARB.

“California legislators on Thursday tightened rules requiring Volkswagen to spend a portion of clean car infrastructure funds in disadvantaged communities, passing a bill as part of a budget package agreed with Governor Jerry Brown.”

“The bill passed on Thursday by both chambers of the state legislature raised that pressure by instructing the Air Resources Board to “ensure to the maximum extent allowable” that at least 35 percent of investment funds go to low-income and disadvantaged communities and requiring the board’s directors approve all VW plans at public hearings.”

source: Reuters

Categories: Charging, Volkswagen

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80 Comments on "California Tells Volkswagen To Support Low-Income Areas With Charging Stations"

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It will be interesting to see if this comes to fruition. VW might be able to implement something that fills the huge void that currently exists.

There’s a reason why there are void in low income areas. Big reason is that public facilities are often (always?) vandalized. Unlike gas stations that have people monitoring, charging spots won’t have such scrutiny, and no doubt will be heavily vandalized.

Bigger worry is what will happen with gang turf wars. Some gangs will demand fee for using chargers within their area, or worse rob people using chargers. I wouldn’t want to stop in middle of Compton to charge the car.

Actually, what might work is DCFC at police stations in these areas. But I doubt this will happen, not to mention terrible experience with EV. You can’t go shopping / eat at police station (or can you?)

You can probably sleep there if you show up drunk enough

Ya, this is just stupid. Right now people in “low income” areas for the most part don’t have EVs and I don’t see that changing. They take the bus or have an old beat up car that they likely aren’t going to want to change.

That along with the other issues you mentioned.

Now if I’m passing through Compton and I’m outta juice it’ll be nice to have a charger there that I could stop at so that I could quickly get the hell outta there but that’s about all these will be good for.

Considering how cheap used Leafs and volts are becoming we might be on the cusp of wider EV adoption. Seems only fair to add in some charging infrastructure since gas is so heavily taxed in CA, they should also have some options for switching over.

“There’s a reason why there are void in low income areas. Big reason is that public facilities are often (always?) vandalized.”

In this case I agree with Sparky. This is a stupid policy. EV chargers should either be placed according to demand, or (as Tesla is doing) to support long-distance travel corridors.

Putting EV chargers where they will quickly attract vandalism and/or copper thieves is just throwing away money.

Nothing like a good dose of classism.

protest against deiselgate today outside VW uk headquarters in Milton Keynes.

What about a goal to put L2 Chargers in quantities that equal 5% of an areas population, no less than two per spot, and no spot more than a mile from another?

For Level 3 or DC Quick Chargers, no less than 2 per spot, and no spot more than 10 miles from another?

The 45% of me that is Republican says this is a great example of big government doing the wrong thing. Low income people don’t buy electric cars so why put charging stations where low income people live. In one month the charging stations will be vandalized and won’t work anyway.

Low Income people aree the perfect people for used electric cars.

I hope that this works out. I think a late model Leaf would be a great car for a low income family or college kid. But I just don’t know how much we are seeing this. Maybe adding the EVs in low income areas will help. But if I was a betting man, my money would be on the chargers seeing little use and being frequently vandalized.
I think college campuses would be a good spot for L2 chargers, maybe for DCFC’ers.

(⌐■_■) Trollnonymous

Low income locations are the perfect place to steal those pretty new copper cables……lol

I can pretty much guarantee these charge stations will get vandalized the first year.

Yep, precisely.

Even the Junkies seem to know to stay away from high voltage.

(⌐■_■) Trollnonymous

You must be the smart one that knows that the J1772/CCS/Chad cables are always “HOT” when nobody is charging at 2AM in the morning so it should be avoided…….lol

“Low Income” zones are the areas where the savings from an EV make the most sense. Typically these folks have been locked out of the savings and incur the costs of “shortcuts” on environmental health.

Solar PV, etc. does do well in these areas often due to the CARE subsidy rates. So an EV where the fuel savings can be meaningful as % of gross income should be a attractive offering.

Providing access to the rebates and other credits is also a bonus as currently 100% of the rate base is subsidizing those wealthy enough to (a) own a home with parking and (b) buy an EV.

In most urban zones most of the population have neither parking nor own their home and so are stuck in the “split incentive” and prevented from utilizing the credits, incentives and savings from EVs or even Solar. This creates a subsidy for the wealthy at the expense of everyone.

Kudos to CARB and Gov. Brown. If only he were President…

I agree that it’s quite pointless to put charging stations where there are no EVs. Currently they are too expensive so maybe it would make more sense to build out in the poor regions in the last round of financing.

That’s true in the short term. EV sales are low, and were lower still before, so it will be a while before there are lots of cheap used EVs around. They will also tend to be in other areas, but not necessarily terribly far away (the other side of a city is pretty managable, and there’s plenty of economic disparities in pretty much any city).

But as time goes by and more used EVs are available their lower running costs ought to make EVs *especially* attractive to people with tight finances.

Besides, it is good karma to help those less fortunate than oneself. I don’t really feel bad for the privileged, even if 35% of VWs settlement-charging-infrastructure is allocated to the benefit of someone else.

“But as time goes by and more used EVs are available their lower running costs ought to make EVs *especially* attractive to people with tight finances.”

I agree that in a few years, when the price of a new BEV reaches parity with a similarly equipped gasmobile, it will make sense to start community planning to support EV charging in economically disadvantaged areas.

But it’s too soon. Right now, demand for EV chargers in poor neighborhoods is so low that they will mostly be ignored… by everyone except vandals and copper thieves.

Municipalities and States which want to subsidize installation of EV chargers in such areas would do well to invest in development of EV chargers which replace every bit of copper wiring and cables with aluminum, and put a prominent “THIS UNIT CONTAINS NO COPPER” sign on them. Still won’t help the vandalism problem, though. I could be wrong, but I don’t think pay phones in unsupervised locations got heavily vandalized just because people were trying to steal copper!

I couldn’t agree more with your sentiments. The bad neighborhoods will appreciate it only when the people there can afford EVs. The neighborhood hoodlums will ransack the charging stations.

Low-income people buy whatever cars they can afford, which is increasingly becoming used EVs. But a bunch of classist elites telling them that they don’t deserve to have public charging infrastructure won’t help at all, especially since low-income individuals often live in apartments that are substandard and where they very well may not have the necessary resources to get management to install a charger for them. Meanwhile, it’s not like EV infrastructure not in low-income communities has never been vandalized.

From the article:
you can get anything passed CARB.

Shouldn’t it be past, as in getting it by?
A tricky one. Since they sound the same, and the article was about legislation being passed.

I’m going to proactively say that you are correct, and Mark was trying to say “you can’t get anything…”, and just go ahead and change that. Thanks ffbj!

/Editor-in-Chief powers activate!

> you can’t get anything passed CARB

Ouch. If he wants to make any sense, he should speak about getting anything *past* CARB.

Being unable to get anything passed is what Congress is famous for. :p

True enough, (=

just a tip there’s a protest against deiselgate today outside VW uk headquarters in Milton Keynes.

There is definitely a fuel cell joke in there…

Depending on the exact wording of the CARB advisory, perhaps VW will place all of its HYDROGEN ‘charging stations’ in low-income areas.

Across the country, there doesn’t seem much anyone can do about any whiney, noisy compressor stations.

I realize it’s a deal with California but I still feel it would make more sense to use the VW money to build a nationwide network of 150 kW chargers along all highways. That way everybody benefits, including Californians. If the CARB wanted to transition to 100% zero emissions that would do the most good I think.

40% of electric cars in the US are in CA, so I can see their point. But getting DCFC’ers along the interstates (especially near fast food or sandwich/coffee shops) should be the top priority when it comes to adding charging stations.

As opposed to putting them were EVs actually are? Which would be, of course, California.

There actually is a coherent national effort by VW’s Electrify America to put in a Tesla Supercharger-like highway network across the entire country. They are going to spend $255 million on doing just that during the first 2.5 year spending cycle. In addition, they will spend additional money on metro area charging, public education, and other things.

You tend not to read about it because, for legal settlement reasons, there are separate but closely-related plans for California versus the other 49 states. The media tends to write about one plan or the other as developments occur rather than writing about the combined effect of both plans together.

Here’s an article I wrote a few weeks ago that describes the overall effort and puts it into context:

I don’t really understand what the big worry is here, but this whet my curiosity.

My understanding is (was?) that the stations set up by VW under the terms of the settlement will not be VW owned and operated and must be for public use (presumably on the same terms whether the user is charging a VAG product or some other make of EV). Is this not the case?

(⌐■_■) Trollnonymous

That is/was supposed to be the case.

They will be VW owned, but open to the public.

(⌐■_■) Trollnonymous

Anyone ever go into the Ghetto??????

Those EVSE’s will be the least used.
I’m there all the time. I’ve seen 0ne PHEV (probably just visiting) and the rest are SUV’s, pickups and large 4 door hoopties with “Twinkies”.

Anyone want to go sit in their 50K-100K car in the ghetto for 2 hours to charge?

Last I heard, some dude got beat and robbed waiting for a tire change at the small tire shop in South Sacramento.


Troll, WTF? Are you hacking my brain? My thoughts exactly!

The plan is to make the gangsters go electric, this should work since they are known for their love of growing plants hence they tend to be green.
Seriously, why is this so hard to understand? We need chargers everywhere including the poor areas. They can set them up in gas stations, libraries, hospitals, police stations, etc and this way will get some supervision if vandalism is a big concern. This assumption that poor people don’t drive evs is out of place as more are noticing the leases with low payments and plenty of credits.

(⌐■_■) Trollnonymous

Have you bothered to talk to any of them in the ghetto?!?!?!?

They buy used cars that are many times titled as “Salvaged” to make ends meet. You expect them to go buy a used EV that gets below 90 miles AER and have to go buy an EVSE for an additional $400 to charge at 24A (5.76KW) (the trickle charge is pretty worthless) to be able to charge from their dryer plug?
To top it off, many are on Obamacare otherwise they will be penalized at the end of the year.

“To top it off, many are on Obamacare otherwise they will be penalized at the end of the year.”

Wow. Stereotype much?

(I had looked up “hooptie” and the urban slang meaning of “Twinkie”. Now I need a shower.)

(⌐■_■) Trollnonymous

Not sterotype silly boy, just the sample size of people I interact with there in my old neighborhood where I visit often.
Yes, many are on that method of medical coverage. The older folks are on MediCal/CAID.
Sadly many more do not have coverage at all.

Try going into those places and mingle with the community some time………as often as I do.

I quite regularly use the public charging station installed in a bad neighborhood.

ALthough the cord has been partially sliced – at least they didn’t actually sever all the strands and the thing still charges my BOLT at 30 amps, 200 volts.

It has the silver lining that the spot is always available since as you say, there aren’t many who frequent the area for charging.

Ghettofabulous ✅


The politically correct police demand VW put chargers where there are no electric cars.

I agree they’ll be vandalized and become inoperable – a testament to the ineptness of government to understand reality.

I’ve been to LA and drive around quite a bit. More than once, I took the wrong exit and stupidly ended up in a neighborhood where bars were on windows on every house and business and people would walk right up to my car window and pound on it – to sell me drugs? Or to kill me! It was very scary indeed.

I wanted to see the LA Coliseum and the University of Southern California. Nobody tole me they bordered Watts! To say this is the “‘hood” is an understatement. So in Compton and Watts there’ll be charging stations! Wow!

Maybe we’ll see a Tesla with hydraulic jacks underneath bobbing up and down sporting it’s gold-plated wire 32″ wheels!

—- I don’t think so. These are the last people on earth who want or will find any interest in —– electric cars.

As long as can swipe my card and have access to a real gun. ?

Sure, you can have access to real gun. But you have to keep it in locked container and ammo must be separate. It will take you about 5 minutes to get off the first shot.

And even then, you’ll get arrested for discharging a weapon.

In CA, guns cannot be used for self defense.

(⌐■_■) Trollnonymous

lol, same rules apply even in your own home. By the time you get your first shot off, half your family is dead.

Plugshare will have asterisks next to these charging locations: “charge here at your own risk”.

Seriously, these neighborhoods are not only not friendly, but downright dangerous to your life.

(⌐■_■) Trollnonymous


These politicians need to go sit in the Ghetto in their Bimmer or Benz for a few hours…

You have to ask WTF are they thinking?!?!?!

(⌐■_■) Trollnonymous

By themselves and not with a security detail either!

err her Mirai doesn’t have range to get there…

I’m not sure if this applies to AC or DC chargers. I think it’s well-meaning nonsense either way. But I think that for DC it probably won’t affect much.

If you look at where DC chargers are on California 99 they already are in cheaper areas because that reduces the costs of running them a bit. And no one is going to be too upset they are charging in Selma, California instead of Clovis.

For AC it’s key the chargers be where people spend a lot of time. That means at homes (apartments), places of work and the few kinds of recreations that last many hours. If your force locations in other locations they simply won’t be used and it will give the idea of public EVSEs a bad name.

I hope that this is done right. SMUD seems to know what they are doing, for example, but a broad regulation of this sort from CARB seems fraught with risks.

As troll mentioned, DCFC have big fat copper cables ripe for the taking. DCFC in these areas make no sense.

L2 doesn’t make sense since poor tend to live in apartments. They’re not going to walk blocks away from home through dangerous gang-land to charge the car.

AC also has copper cables for the taking. And usually more stations.

DCFC can work because I’m sure VW can find zipcodes which are on major highways but aren’t well off. It won’t do anything for the local residents really of course, and that’s why it’s well-meaning nonsense.

Although of course maybe they’ll just give free DC charging to locals. What could go wrong with that?

I work in one of the lowest income areas in California and own an EV. Existing chargers are frequently vandalized and safety concerns prevent me from wanting to sit in the car or wander around while charging.

Good idea from a social standpoint, but there are practicality issues that would need to be addressed such as safety and security.

Are the residents of that community also afraid to walk around? Because I’m pretty sure that part of the impetus behind the directive is to make it feasible for residents of lower-income communities to be able to own an EV and I’d imagine that they’d be more familiar with walking around their neighborhood. Also, depending on what definition is being used, “disadvantaged community” includes places like downtown LA that both actually aren’t the cesspools that everyone here apparently thinks all non-affluent communities are and also already have some charging infrastructure in place.

Commiefornia acting like Commieforina who would have thought it??
You must put charging infastructure in areas where they cant afford 30k EVs… BRILLIANT…
EVs will eventualy come way down in price like computers and flat screen TVs where everyone can afford them but at that point will they be complaining that there is outdated infastructure in the low income areas or will it be gutted by vandals??

Even though VW is required to build out infastructure they should be able to put it in the areas that will help the most EV drivers and further the rollout of EVs…
And that is what will help reduce the price of EVs where the poor can afford them…
Not building charging infastructure that will rot…

California has plenty of used $5k and $6k EVs available.

(⌐■_■) Trollnonymous

If they already live in the hood where these EVSE’s are your talking about, wouldn’t it make more sense to charge at home for less than what they will be charged at the public charging stations?

I know many people who live in the hood/ghetto and none of them are interested in a short range sub 90mi range EV. Most do not have the lifestyle that fits. Believe it or not, they own and carry around more crap than me.

I’m not a fan of this directive, I share your concerns about charging at home versus elsewhere.

But I also don’t think the idea that non-rich people can’t buy EVs applies in California there are plenty of cheap EVs in California. And I assure you that there are plenty of lower-income people with commutes that work with shorter-range EVs. It’s not like Compton is 100 miles from City of Industry.

(⌐■_■) Trollnonymous

“I assure you that there are plenty of lower-income people with commutes that work with shorter-range EVs. It’s not like Compton is 100 miles from City of Industry.”

You’re absolutely correct.
You have to change their mindset. Most used EV’s are sub 90miles AER (that’s high balling there) and with the standard charger they come with, they ask “how long will it take to fully charge from empty or half?”
The answer to that always results in “well I can’t wait that long”.
So I suggest a faster EVSE, 24A roughly $400 after taxes the response is…. “I can’t afford that right now”.

When suggesting the Volt or the Bolt, it’s always “those are way too small to carry kids and stroller, backpacks etc….”

Now if these chargers are installed then get vandalized and are unusable, that’s just more for their argument. If enough comment on Plugshare say “broken”, “not energized” etc… then og course nobody will ever care to even try and use those.

It’s not about “If” they get vandalized, it’s when.
I’m there quite often volunteering for different organizations and I do interact with many of the public there.

This is all just a political “feel good” gesture.

“…wouldn’t it make more sense to charge at home for less than what they will be charged at the public charging stations?”

Exactly! It would be a far better use of this money to install L2 chargers in apartment parking lots, rather than DCFC chargers which, as just about everybody has noted, will be heavily vandalized and have the copper wiring stolen out of them.

For starters, not everyone has an option to charge at home, especially those living in apartments. Sure, they can try to invoke AB 2565 to force the building manager to let them put in an EVSE, but I don’t see that being very successful in many cases, especially if the management tells the tenant to foot the entire bill of installation. So without access to home charging, public charging needs to be available to make EVs a viable option for those lower on the socioeconomic ladder.

Secondly, if upper-class people have the lifestyle to support sub-90 mile AER EVs, then so do lower-income individuals because the latter group already doesn’t travel as far per day as the former. Obviously, having home charging really helps a lot, but many people lower on the income scale do not have a lifestyle that is incompatible with an electric car. If charging options are available at places they already go that take a long time like social service centers, medical appointments, and work, there’s more than ample opportunity to charge enough for an average usage at any of those locations.

Excellent point.

Wow! Some of you are fully showing your ignorance and cognitive limitations. Keep up the good work!

(⌐■_■) Trollnonymous

Ignorance is not ever speaking to the demographics in question but making uneducated assumptions about them and their perceived needs.
Read “Lawrence” experience, it’s 100% correct, but go ahead and keep ignorant….

Keep up the good work!

Actually I believe that was you. Then again we’ve come to expect it so nothing new really…

Yep, it’s shocking.

Looks like I took a wrong turn and ended up at the National review. The Republican Glavlit.

“Make sure your readers know they can’t trust the poor, they’ll just vandalise any leg up you try to give them”.

I spent an hour charging at 10104 Compton Ave. back in April, after 8pm when it was no longer light out! The Church that I parked in front of, at the curbside Chargepoint station, was having a raucous good time! I have never felt safer around the devout faithful than during that memorable time charging. Now after midnight, with the Church not active with Parishioners, I would not have been so enthusiastic about sitting curbside for an hour.
I wonder if these hesitant responders above, have ever really gotten to know these communities, that are predominantly filled with ethnic diversity. I don’t look like I fit in, but I never feel unwelcome or out of place when I have business in economically disadvantaged areas.

I used to work in Compton actually at one of my clients. The security guards actually left an hour after sun down.Yes, their hours actually changed depending on the time of sunset.

Not surprisingly the Denny’s (or whatever it was) up the street from the office would also close when it got dark.

So if the businesses and their own employees think it’s a good idea to get the hell outta Compton when it gets dark who am I to say otherwise.

Now that I think about it more I just think this is an even worse idea. First off all charging stations will sooner or later get vandalized. It’s the nature of the beast but putting them in areas where they have a substantially higher likelihood of getting vandalized means that VW will have less funds to put chargers in other areas. So instead of say putting in 1,000 chargers in safer areas they can put in 800 chargers knowing that the maintenance on 200 of those 800 will be high over the next few years.

(⌐■_■) Trollnonymous

I have thousands of times….
Lived there for 20 years…..
Still have and visit family and friends there…
Had b-ball pickup games at the Church there and the community center and outdoor park.
I still volunteer there for distro of free essential items when they are available.

Low income areas are not universally dangerous and crime ridden. In urban areas that seems to be true but there other segments of society and areas of the country where low income places are safe and low crime. Think farmers or some retiree communities.

Perfectly true. But whether it’s in rural areas or slums, they are going to be installed where almost nobody owns an EV, and that isn’t going to change within the next few years. Even where chargers are not vandalized, they’ll be seriously under-used in such areas, and thus mostly a waste of the money that could have gone to much better use elsewhere.

In fact, what’s inevitably going to happen is that EV opponents are going to point to subsidized, and subsequently vandalized, EV chargers in poor urban neighborhoods as “proof” that those supporting the “green” agenda are wasting public funds. And in this case, unfortunately, they’ll be right.

Why do you think EVs will remain rare there? EVs are an excellent and very low cost transportation option.

Plugshare the slums … brilliant.

I’m glad we have super smart, genius people in government making these decisions.

Yea, too bad we don’t have the classist commentators of an EV enthusiast website running the show. ?

Think of how much better that’d be.