September 30, 2023

Black EV Charging Startups Making a Difference to Underrepresented Communities

By: Jennifer Magdalene

There were 1,607 electric vehicle (EV) charging companies in July 2022 and this number is predicted to grow quickly as more drivers make the switch to green driving. Within this industry, black startup founders are taking big strides, with Forbes recently applauding the efforts of founders with an authentic passion for sustainability. For instance, Sheryl E. Ponds, the CEO of Dai Technologies Corp., launched her startup to fulfil the demand for new EV charging stations in her area. However, it was hard for her to ignore the fact that most of her customers were white, affluent, and from specific suburbs. Her wish was to benefit urban and black communities, so she began introducing her services to apartment property managers in zones with a more diverse population. Selling her services to property managers involves extra work, she states, but it is worth it. In the end, it is black families who benefit from EV chargers. Without putting in the necessary effort, she explains, black people “would be barred from adopting electric vehicles.”

Black Consumers Can Benefit More from EV Adoption

Black neighborhoods can benefit more from driving EVs. Recent research has shown that people of color breathe more hazardous air. The pollutants they are exposed to include diesel matter and construction and industrial pollution. K Wasserman, Executive Director of the Little Village Environmental Justice Organization, has stated that black communities are often “sacrifice zones” whose needs are ignored for economic good, regardless of the health outcomes. The tragedy of poisoned water in Flint, Michigan, highlights the fact that people of color can additionally be affected by water discrimination. The fact is that water management and conservation are beneficial. Poor water systems not only result in toxicity, but also in significant loss to communities. Savings can be made by adopting water retention and purification schemes. However, all too often, black neighborhoods miss out on these initiatives. EV adoption is clearly just one small piece in the sustainability puzzle, but it can lower toxicity and exposure to fuel emissions in a significant way and therefore improve the health and wellbeing of specific populations.

Hiring Members of Underrepresented Communities

John Aviv is another black founder of an EV charging station company called SparkChange. He founded his business in 2017 because he thought that supply was simply not meeting demand. Federal funds are available for EV charging stations, but the process of setting a station up can take up to two years. Through his business, any EV owner in a given city can have a station set up in days. Aviv is also keen to make a difference by offering underrepresented communities jobs in his businesses. By doing so, he is offering them the chance to work in a green business that is giving back to their communities as well as making a profit.

Black American founders of EV charging station startups are making a big difference to underrepresented communities. They are making big efforts to ensure their services reach these communities. They are also making efforts to embrace diversity and inclusivity in their hiring practices, so that their target market can play a key role in the EV industry.

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