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Michelle Kinman,
Environment California Research & Policy Center

Charge Ahead California Electric Vehicle Ride-and-Drive at Oakland’s Día de los Muertos

For Immediate Release

Oakland community members came out on Sunday November 8, 2015 to learn about how electric vehicles can reduce air pollution, improve health and save working families money in communities throughout California that are disproportionately impacted by air pollution. 

The electric vehicle ride-and-drive, held in conjunction with the 20th annual Día de los Muertos event hosted by the The Unity Council at Fruitvale Village, provided many community members with a first-time opportunity to check out electric cars and learn about rebate, loan and financing options, and to envision a clean air future for Oakland. The ride-and-drive was organized by Environment California Research & Policy Center, one of the organizations leading the Charge Ahead California campaign.

"The residents of Oakland have battled air pollution and sought environmental justice for decades. A big ‘thank you’ to our state legislators and the Charge Ahead California campaign for helping make cleaner and greener vehicles more affordable with state rebates for people in our community—including people at lower and moderate income levels," said Oakland City Councilmember Dan Kalb, who visited the booth on Sunday. “I was encouraged to see so many community members interested in electric vehicles and the benefits they provide.”

Sunday’s event introduced Oakland residents to the Charge Ahead California Initiative (SB 1275, 2014), a law authored by Senate President Pro Tempore Kevin de Leόn, that works to get one million electric vehicles on California roads by 2023 by making them affordable and accessible to low- and moderate-income communities. The goal is to ensure that all Californians benefit from rapidly transitioning to electric cars that will clean our air, reduce our dependence on oil, and combat global warming.

SB 1275 received strong support from a diverse group of over 50 organizations and businesses and was co-sponsored by the Coalition for Clean Air, Communities for a Better Environment, Environment California, The Greenlining Institute, and the Natural Resources Defense Council, which together form the Charge Ahead California campaign.

"Pollution and climate change hit low-income communities and communities of color first and worst. We must expand policies that lead with equity like the Charge Ahead California Initiative, which increases opportunity and improves health in under-served communities through access to cleaner, more cost-effective transportation," said Joel Espino, environmental equity legal counsel for the Greenlining Institute.

Everyone—from children to senior citizens—is impacted by air pollution. Sunday’s event offered activities for all age groups, with children coloring pictures of clean electric cars to adults test driving electric vehicles.

“Oakland can charge ahead, rapidly moving to clean electric vehicles and a clean air future for all,” said Michelle Kinman, clean energy advocate with Environment California Research & Policy Center. “Driving on electricity is the equivalent of paying only one dollar-per-gallon in a gasoline vehicle, and electric vehicles are now within reach of working families, thanks to generous incentives from the Charge Ahead California Initiative.”

The electric cars for the event were provided by the Center for Sustainable Energy, FH Dailey Chevrolet, Mitsubishi of San Rafael, Mercedes-Benz and Smart Center of San Francisco Smart Car, and Autocom Nissan of Oakland.