Frogs. Bees. Finicky software. There are a lot of things that can cause an electric vehicle charging station to break. We need to replace fossil-fuel powered vehicles with EVs as soon as possible—but if the stations don’t work, it will slow the adoption of EVs.

 

In Los Angeles, two Black women have started training a small army of technicians to fix broken charging stations, and they’re taking their model around the country. They couldn’t have started at a better time: The U.S. is investing hundreds of billions of dollars in EV charging infrastructure. 

 

But as they’re fixing these stations, they’re asking an equity question: who benefits from this rapidly growing industry? Will cleantech remain a field dominated by white men? 

 

As part of their business model, they’re training a diverse, inclusive workforce to be a part of the industry. In effect, they’re solving a carbon emissions problem and an equity problem at the same time. 

The Big Switch is produced by Columbia University's Center on Global Energy Policy in partnership with Post Script Media. This episode was produced by Daniel Woldorff and Alexandria Herr Theme music and mixing by Sean Marquand. Story editing by Anne Bailey. A special thanks to Natalie Volk, Kirsten Smith and Kyu Lee. Our managing producer is Cecily Meza-Martinez. Our executive editor is Stephen Lacey.