EV carshare program launches in Ann Arbor affordable housing communities

Jul 10, 2024News

Originally published on CBS Detroit by Meredith Bruckner on June 4, 2024 at 6:15 PM EDT

ANN ARBOR, Mich. (CBS DETROIT) – A new program has launched to bring transportation access to residents in low-income communities in Ann Arbor.

The executive director of Avalon Housing, Aaron Cooper, said the program is breaking down barriers for its residents.

“Often, we see transportation as a very big hurdle for our residents in supportive housing and low-income housing,” said Cooper. “So now, you may have a vehicle where, if you register, you know, $5 an hour; if you just need to run to the grocery store or what have you, it gives you that opportunity, and that’s huge.

“Because without having partners or friends to take you somewhere, you can see how that would be very challenging.”

The pilot program was launched in partnership with Avalon Housing, DTE Energy, Forth Mobility and Michigan Clean Cities.

Baker Commons is another community that has received an EV, and another is set to be installed at Hickory Way later this summer.

Cooper said the goal is to eventually offer two vehicles at each property.

“This is a grant-funded project by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Vehicle Technologies Office,” said director of Michigan Clean Cities Maggie Striz Calnin. “And that program was looking for solutions to transportation challenges that brought electric vehicles to communities that might otherwise not be able to access electric vehicles.”

According to officials, users don’t have to be a resident of the community to participate in the carshare program, which can be reserved through an app.

It accepts payment, unlocks the vehicle and allows users to start the car.

Other Michigan cities participating in the low-income community-based program include Detroit, Kalamazoo and Portage.