Volkswagon Is Investing $200 Million in Electric Charging Capabilities at LA's Ports

Zac Estrada

Zac Estrada is a reporter covering transportation, technology and policy. A former reporter for The Verge and Jalopnik, his work has also appeared in Automobile Magazine, Autoweek, Pacific Standard, Boston.com and BLAC Detroit. A native of Southern California, he is a graduate of Northeastern University in Boston. You can find him on Twitter at @zacestrada.

Volkswagon Is Investing $200 Million in Electric Charging Capabilities at LA's Ports
Photo by CHUTTERSNAP on Unsplash

One of the largest U.S. electric vehicle charging companies is expanding its Southern California presence with a $200 million investment in California, with $25 million slated for the port cities of Long Beach and L.A.'s Wilmington neighborhood. The investment comes in anticipation of surging demand for electric big rigs and other heavy duty vehicles.


The two regions make up the nation's busiest ports, a bustling hub bringing in billions of dollars of consumer goods — mostly from Asia — that get carried to retailers around the country usually by a diesel trucks. The funds would go toward regional fleet operators to build out a charging infrastructure for electric vehicles that come from the Los Angeles and Long Beach ports.

"This investment will go a long way in supporting our efforts to improve air quality in our highly impacted communities," Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia said in an announcement, "and to support further upgrades to our fleets with more all-electric vehicles."

Electrify America also said it will be adding fast chargers in several California metro areas, including Greater Los Angeles and Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino and San Diego counties. It will also add Kern, Santa Barbara and Ventura counties to its service areas.

Electrify America is a Volkswagen Group of America subsidiary, which is based in Virginia. The company was created in 2017 as part of a settlement with the Department of Justice, the EPA and California Air Resources Board — which required a $2 billion fund to create a nationwide EV charging network — following the 2015 diesel emissions cheating scandal. As of April, Electrify America operates 2,600 fast chargers in 47 states, including California.

Another part of the agreement with the California Air Resources Board stipulates that 35% of Electrify America's investment to improve access to charging and electric vehicle education is supposed to go to low-income and disadvantaged communities in California — which makes up 64% of the Long Beach-Wilmington area, according to the state agency.

Being owned by VW Group of America, customers who purchase or lease certain Volkswagen, Audi and Porsche electric cars have access to free charging through the Electrify America network for up to three years.

Orange County-based Hyundai Motor America, Stellantis (formerly Fiat Chrysler) and Ford Motor Company are among the automakers that have announced deals with Electrify America for their own plug-in vehicles. The Virginia-based subsidiary of Volkswagen Group of America also counts startups Lucid Motors and Manhattan Beach-based Fisker Inc. as partners for upcoming vehicles.

Electrify America also announced it would add more DC fast charging stations in retail areas for consumer use, as well as others near multi-unit residential buildings without easy access to home charging.

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Venture Firm Backstage Capital Laid Off Nine Employees, Reducing Its Staff to Just Three

Kristin Snyder

Kristin Snyder is an editorial intern for dot.la. She previously interned with Tiger Oak Media and led the arts section for UCLA's Daily Bruin.

Venture Firm Backstage Capital Laid Off Nine Employees, Reducing Its Staff to Just Three
Photo by Jp Valery on Unsplash

Venture firm Backstage Capital laid off nine employees, reducing its staff to just three.

Managing partner and founder Arlan Hamilton announced the layoffs Sunday on her “Your First Million” podcast. General partners Christie Pitts and Brittany Davis, along with Hamilton, are the only remaining employees, TechCrunch reported. The move comes only three months after the Los Angeles-based firm said it would only fund existing portfolio companies.

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A New Tide of LA Startups Is Tackling the National Childcare Crisis

Keerthi Vedantam

Keerthi Vedantam is a bioscience reporter at dot.LA. She cut her teeth covering everything from cloud computing to 5G in San Francisco and Seattle. Before she covered tech, Keerthi reported on tribal lands and congressional policy in Washington, D.C. Connect with her on Twitter, Clubhouse (@keerthivedantam) or Signal at 408-470-0776.

A New Tide of LA Startups Is Tackling the National Childcare Crisis
Image by Carolyn Figel

The pandemic exacerbated a problem that has been long bubbling in the U.S.: the childcare crisis.

According to a survey of people in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) careers conducted by the city’s WiSTEM Los Angeles program and shared exclusively with dot.LA, the pandemic exposed a slew of challenges across STEM fields. The survey—which consisted of 181 respondents from L.A.County and was conducted between March 2021 and 2022— involved respondents across medical fields, technical professions and science industries who shared the pandemic’s effects on their professional or education careers.

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MaC Venture Capital Raises $203M for Its Second Fund

Decerry Donato

Decerry Donato is dot.LA's Editorial Fellow. Prior to that, she was an editorial intern at the company. Decerry received her bachelor's degree in literary journalism from the University of California, Irvine. She continues to write stories to inform the community about issues or events that take place in the L.A. area. On the weekends, she can be found hiking in the Angeles National forest or sifting through racks at your local thrift store.

MaC Venture Capital Raises $203M for Its Second Fund
Courtesy of MaC Venture Capital

While venture capital funding has taken a hit this year, that hasn’t stopped MaC Venture Capital from raising $203 million for its second fund.

The Los Angeles-based, Black-led VC firm said Monday that it had surpassed its initial $200 million goal for the fund, which dot.LA reported in January, over the span of seven months. MaC said it expects to invest the capital in up to 50 mostly seed-stage startups while remaining “sector-agnostic.”

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