Not owning a vehicle, or not having access to one can be tough to deal with in Los Angeles. While public transportation or traditional rideshare companies can get you out of a bind, you can’t count on them to be timely, or inexpensive. And although the car industry is quickly moving towards electric vehicles, it still isn’t financially accessible to a large portion of the population. Blue LA Electric Cars Los Angeles
Enter BlueLA, a revolutionary point-to-point electric car-share service, that aims to bring affordable access to vehicles for all residents.
Launched last June in the Westlake neighborhood as an initial test, the service is now operating in several areas around central LA, including DTLA’s Fashion District, with many more locations set to pop up this year.
BlueLA is operated by French battery company Blue Solutions, which runs electric car- sharing in several European cities and Minneapolis.
Currently, there are seven stations, with 25 cars available between them. By the end of 2018, BlueLA plans to operate 100 vehicles and 200 charging docks at 40 different locations across Los Angeles.
The program received $1.7 million in a state grant, along with $400,000 funded by the L.A. Department of Water and Power. LADOT, along with other non-profit community groups, signed on as partners with BlueLA to get the initiative rolling.
Now some of you might be wondering, how does it exactly work? And more importantly, how much does it cost? We’ve got all the answers below.
Picking Up and Dropping Off
The system operates very much like the Metro bike share system. Locating a station is as easy as looking on their website.
Initially, you can visit BlueLA’s site and create a membership, with various pricing options. Although, walk-up service is also offered for a slightly higher rate.
When you arrive to a station, tap a BlueLA card or linked Metro TAP card to a charging kiosk. The screen displays your account information and options to check out a vehicle, reserve one for later use, or advise you if a certain vehicle cannot be used. A specific list of steps and procedures can be found here.
Once you start your ride, you can take the car anywhere within the driving zone. It’s roughly set at a 25 mile radius from the locations of the stations.
On a full charge, the vehicles have a range of about 100 to 125 miles, depending on driving conditions. If the charge goes below 30%, the car will let you know to take it back to the nearest station to be exchanged.
Returning the vehicles is similar to the check-out procedure. Park and plug the car back into the charging station, then tap your card to the kiosk to end the ride. You’ll get a confirmation sent right to your phone.
Since the system is set up as point-to-point, you can return the vehicle to any location you want.
Pricing & Low Income Inclusion
One of BlueLA’s main goals is to provide access to low-carbon technology to all people of all incomes.
As of now, rebates and subsidies for private-use sustainable electricity is only available to those with disposable income. It’s been a challenge for lawmakers to circumvent this fact and make sustainability access as widespread as possible.
BlueLA is a great start to reversing the stigma renewable and sustainable energy has.
“It’s a program that understands we are never reach our climate change goals unless everybody is participating, said Rep. Jimmy Gomez (D-California), at the BlueLA launch event. “We want to make sure that the people who are working class are not left behind.” Blue LA Electric Cars Los Angeles
A standard membership costs $5 a month, with an additional cost of 20 cent a minute while driving.
For low income users, the monthly fee drops to $1 a month, and only 15 cents a minute while driving. To qualify for the low income price scale, you’ll have to submit documents to BlueLA, or show proof that you’re currently enrolled in other low income programs.
Walk-up service is also available for 40 cents per minute.