Enel pilot bring EV charging to low-income communities

  • July 11, 2023
  • Steve Rogerson

Enel X Way is participating in a Grid Alternatives’ utility pilot electric vehicle (EV) programme to increase access to EV charging for low-income communities in California.

The two companies will support a utility programme in California, which offers qualifying low-income customers who have recently purchased or leased an EV with a free Enel X Way JuiceBox home EV charger, installation services and up to $2000 for electric service panel upgrades. This initial programme can be stacked on top of existing incentives and rebates, including the federal government’s 30% tax credit on home charging stations, the $7500 credit for certain EVs, and California’s $2000 cash rebate for eligible EV buyers.

The pilot programme aims to provide free level-two EV chargers to 2000 low-income households and electrical panel upgrades to 800 eligible households.

“As automakers introduce more affordable EV models that appeal to a wider swath of consumers and income levels, new EV drivers will need a convenient and reliable place to charge up their electric vehicles,” said Chris Baker, head of Enel X Way in North America. “Clean transportation should be accessible to all. We’re proud to support an equitable EV transition by providing residents in historically disenfranchised communities with free JuiceBox home EV charging stations.”

As low-income communities disproportionately shoulder the impact of poor air quality caused in part from gas-powered vehicle emissions, the need for equitable and accessible EV transportation is critical. The lack of public charging infrastructure in low-income communities, often referred to as charging deserts, is a major barrier to EV adoption among this demographic. The pilot aims to break down this barrier and encourage wider EV adoption in these communities by providing low-income households with a free home EV charger.

“We are excited to partner with Enel X Way to empower environmental justice communities in our region to shift to clean transportation options,” said Erica Mackie, CEO of Grid Alternatives. “For too long, underserved communities have suffered the most from gas-powered vehicle pollution. Now, this programme will make home EV charging stations more affordable and help clear the air for everyone.”

Grid Alternatives will administer the utility programme, while Enel X Way will supply and install JuiceBox home EV chargers to approved participants while monitoring the charging data to analyse the programme’s success. The charging stations let users schedule charging times when electricity rates are lowest to optimise cost savings and participate in smart grid programmes to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Enel X Way is a subsidiary of Italian energy company Enel. Enel X Way operates in 16 countries and manages over 500,000 public and private charging ports worldwide and over 185,000 in North America, both directly and through roaming agreements and joint ventures.

Grid Alternatives makes clean, affordable solar power and solar jobs accessible to low-income communities. Using a people-first model, it develops and implements solar projects that serve qualifying households and affordable housing providers, while providing hands-on job training. The company has installed solar for more than 22,000 families to-date and helped households and housing providers save $600m in lifetime electricity costs, while training over 32,000 people. The company has nine regional offices and affiliates serving California, Colorado, the mid-Atlantic region, and tribal communities nationwide, and serves communities in Nicaragua, Nepal and Mexico.