A Chula Vista-based non-profit social service organization is doing its part to curb carbon emissions, especially in communities most affected by air pollution, by helping low-income families buy electric vehicles.
MAAC, formerly known as the Metropolitan Area Advisory Committee, recently launched its Electric Vehicle Access Program. Those wishing to submit applications should visit the program’s website, maacproject.org/ev-access, Applications will be accepted till December 1.
Pollution gets worse for people living in low-income communities, said Flora Barone, MAAC’s director of economic development.
“When you look, for example, in the south of the county, you see that parts of National City, Barrio Logan, down the border, that these communities are the worst affected by pollution and so are in greatest need of cleaners. of the vehicle,” he said.
However, many residents of low-income neighborhoods have been reluctant to consider the use of electric vehicles due to constraints such as the purchase price, vehicle autonomy, availability of charging stations, and ignorance of cars in general.
Most of the early electric vehicles are owned by relatively wealthy households and “the disparity in adoption by income is due in part to the fact that many EV models on the market in 2020 are marketed as luxury vehicles,” a document from February According to the International Council on Clean Transportation.
These vehicles are likely to become more attractive to low-income households as the market for electric vehicles, especially used cars, grows. The number of zero-emissions vehicles in the San Diego area was slightly less than 70,000 in 2020, according to a shortage analysis from July that identifies barriers to widespread adoption of these vehicles in San Diego.
The MAAC program aims to increase that number at the local level.
how it started
Barron said the organization began advocating for the installation of recharging infrastructure in low-income communities several years ago, but found that when established, the stations were under-utilized due to poor ownership.
“We began to identify, in a very organic way, additional challenges that posed as barriers to electric vehicle ownership,” he said. “The state of California invests a lot of money in incentives and rebates and makes them available to low-income people. The problem is[access]. It’s a very bureaucratic process.”
So MAAC partnered with the BeeQuest Foundation—an organization that funds green projects in San Diego—and contacted the Beneficial State Foundation, which runs a program that grants Californians with enough proceeds to buy green vehicles. and provides money. , to find out about it. Access problems.
“As a result of those conversations, they invited us to manage their dollars in the San Diego area,” Barron said.
With $2 million, the non-profit organization launched its program to offer low-interest loans between 3.99 percent and 5.99 percent to people with low credit scores.
How does this work
Low- to moderate-income individuals ($60,000 or less per year) who apply can receive up to $11,000 in grants and reimbursements. Barron said they can expect a response within 10 days, instead of the average three months for other programs.
An important component of the program is financial training on topics such as budgeting, banking and improving credit scores. The MAAC also informs the participants about the benefits of switching to electric vehicles.
“The type of training and education we provide covers everything: from choosing the right vehicle based on your budget, to your needs, such as your travel pattern,” he said.
According to Baron, MAAC’s outreach work is “highly targeted” to the communities most affected by pollution in the region.
“You actually work with bases. So we have employees who go to these communities and stand outside kirana stores, (handing out passengers) to affordable housing complexes,” he said.
Marisol Tapiz is a Chula Vista resident who participated in the MAAC event and is the first to own an electric vehicle. He is one of 10 participants who bought a car under the program, and MAAC estimates there will be 70 more on the road by June.
“There is no one in my family who has an electric vehicle. We are very scared of running out of power because there was no education about it,” said Tapiz, who owns a 2018 hybrid vehicle. Now I would feel more comfortable if it were fully electric because they already know how it works. ,