What do community colleges, grocery stores, and energy companies have in common? They are all looking for ways to lift up underserved communities and increase economic opportunities across the great state of Texas. What if three such entities teamed up and created (1) a food bank and distribution system that (2) doubled as a logistics and fleet management training opportunity that (3) operated with zero emission and provided hands-on experience with the electrified transportation of tomorrow. Possible? Perhaps inevitable.
Let's look at Lone Star College in Houston. Lone Star does more than provide education and training to the workforce of tomorrow, Lone Star excels at ensuring that students have access to all the resources they need to stay in school and earn a degree. This includes sometimes looking after students' nutritional needs, which Lone Star does through its own system of food pantries, and with the help of local grocery stores like Kroger. Lone Star's system of food pantries will soon be served from a central distribution center that will double as a living lab for students of the college's logistics program. Impactful and innovative! There ought to be a line of charitable foundations lining up to support a program like this, and there are so many ways to help. Why not provide this operation with zero emissions transportation?
Energy companies often have charitable foundations to support the economic development of the communities they serve. Why not use foundation dollars to supply Lone Star College with EVs for their new distribution center? Lone Star gets to clean, affordable transportation for their food distribution operations; students get hands-on experience with the electrified transportation technology of tomorrow; the whole community benefits from needed services; and everyone gets to learn for observing an EV business case in action.
That's a good community EV program, and a good community EV hack. The generalized hack is this: (1) look for community partners who are already working together on high impact programs - things that make a difference today, (2) look for ways zero emissions transportation can add value though lower operating costs, cleaner operation, etc., (3) look for an energy company or equipment company who would like to support this effort -- see if you can leverage charitable funds, and (4) share stories broadly to maximize awareness of the availability and impact of community services, the ways zero emission transportation can help make them most successful, and the ways community partners can come together to make it all possible.