Electrify America, a subsidiary of Volkswagen Group of America, announced this week that it is investing $25 million in Long Beach and Wilmington electric-vehicle charging infrastructure as part of its Green City program.
The Long Beach-Wilmington community was selected in part because of its proximity to the country’s largest port complex—the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles—which are served by more than 18,000 drayage trucks. The area is regularly ranked as having the worst air quality in the nation.
“It’s a great honor to be selected as an Electrify America Green City,” Mayor Robert Garcia said in a statement. “This investment will go a long way in supporting our efforts to improve air quality in our highly impacted communities, and to support further upgrades to our fleets with more all-electric vehicles.”
The investment will showcase “ultra-fast charging technology, energy storage and renewables and energy management,” according to the announcement. This initiative has a focus on charging-station investments for electric transit buses as well as medium- and heavy-duty trucks located in or serving the community.
Electrify America conducted an evaluation to determine what investments would meet the needs and have the greatest positive effects for the communities. The insights from its analysis showed that the California Air Resources Board’s 2020 zero-emission truck program and 2018 Innovative Clean Transit Regulation spurred a “significant and serious new effort” by operators to electrify fleets, the company said.
The San Pedro Bay Ports have consistently broken cargo records month after month, with shipping volumes up between 43-46% at both ports. Increased cargo means increased trucking, so Electrify America will work within the LA region to identify additional opportunities for charging infrastructure, according to the announcement.
The Long Beach-Wilmington funds are part of a $200 million California zero-emission vehicle infrastructure and education program that will span the next 30 months. This is the third of four Electrify America investment phases as part of its 10-year commitment of $800 million in the state.
Over the last five years, the company has invested $400 million in California. The recently announced phase will focus on infrastructure; public education, awareness, access and marketing; and Green Cities, the company said. Electrify America has set a target of 35% of funding to go toward low-income and disadvantaged communities such as Wilmington and West Long Beach.