People Places & Racing News

Movers & Shakers: Toyota Addresses Sustainability, EV Charging Equity in Underserved Communities

ToyotaToyota Motor North America Inc. has announced "Empact," a new vision to aid the transition of underserved communities to a future of electrified mobility. Empact is based on the combination of "environmental impact," focusing on the company's movements toward carbon neutrality and "empowering action," which represents the efforts Toyota is making to design a more equitable and inclusive deployment strategy within underserved communities. The strategy centers on three fundamental areas: access to charging, providing affordable mobility solutions and reducing carbon emissions.

"Our vision will be our guide as we work with local and state officials to identify communities where Empact might help address issues related to EV charging access and affordability," said Christopher Reynolds, executive vice president and chief administrative officer, corporate resources, Toyota Motor North America. "Providing EV charging solutions will empower consumers to make decisions that will not only have a positive impact on the environment but accelerate the adoption of electrified vehicles as well."

To address access to charging, Toyota will work with partners and cities to identify ideal locations for charging-station deployment to serve customers more efficiently. Initially, targeted locations will include places without off-street or private parking, including areas of higher population density in multi-family housing.

For affordability, Toyota will explore how to enable more cost-effective public charging to allow for greater adoption of battery electric vehicles. Toyota will also continue providing a portfolio of electrified vehicle options as part of the "Beyond Zero" vision, including four hybrid-electric vehicles starting under $31,000, two plug-in hybrid electric vehicles and the all-electric Toyota bZ4X. Toyota's KINTO mobility solution is exploring how to support this endeavor by improving access to zero-emissions rental vehicles for business or personal use, allowing more drivers to benefit from battery electric vehicles without the expense of vehicle ownership.

The third area Toyota will focus on is reducing emissions associated with vehicle charging, helping to improve air quality for all citizens, but especially those in underserved communities. The company has already started working with WattTime, a nonprofit organization that recommends times to charge battery and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles when charging from the grid is forecasted to have lower carbon emissions or is likely to have a lower potential health impact over the long term to people who live near power plants. Additionally, Toyota's Clean Assist opt-in program allows U.S. customers with an active Remote Connect trial or subscription and a Toyota or Lexus BEV, or Toyota or Lexus PHEV in California, to get 100% of their charge matched with renewable electricity.

BorgWarner to Expand South Carolina Facility

BorgWarnerBorgWarner has announced its plan to invest $42 million into the expansion of its Seneca, South Carolina, production facility. The investment will be allocated to building and equipment upgrades as well as the development of new manufacturing lines to launch the production of 3GWh of annual battery module capacity, contributing to the growth of the company's battery module and pack production in the United States.

Over the course of three years, the expansion is expected to create approximately 122 jobs, including production, technical support, manufacturing, engineering, maintenance and supporting function positions. To aid in the expansion, BorgWarner is working closely with the State of South Carolina as well as Oconee County. Expansion of the facility is slated to begin in the second quarter of 2023, with an expected completion date of in the first half of 2024.

Polaris Donates More Than $135,000 to Off-Road and Snow Organizations Through Its Spring T.R.A.I.L.S. Grants

Polaris Inc. has announced a donation of more than $135,000 to off-road (ORV), utility-terrain (UTV), all-terrain vehicles (ATV) and snowmobile organizations across the United States as a part of its ongoing Trail Development, Responsible Riding, Access, Initiatives, Lobbying and Safety (T.R.A.I.L.S.) Grant Program. Awarded twice annually, the T.R.A.I.L.S. Grants Program supports the efforts of nonprofit organizations in the development, improvement and expansion of trails, and helps to educate riders on safe and responsible riding practices.

The 14 organizations that were awarded a Spring 2023 T.R.A.I.L.S. Grant received awards ranging from $5,000 to $10,000. The Spring 2023 T.R.A.I.L.S. Grant recipients are:

  • All American Heroes Foundation (Roy, Washington)
  • Coalmont OHV Park Inc. (Coalmont, Tennessee)
  • Elkhart County 4-H ATV Club (Goshen, Indiana)
  • Elliot Lake ATV Club (Elliot Lake, ON, Canada)
  • Friends of the Flathead Snowmobile Association (Bigfork, Montana)
  • High Fives Nonprofit Foundation (Truckee, California)
  • Maryland Off-Highway Vehicle Alliance Inc. (Keedysville, Maryland)
  • Mollyrockett Sportsman's Club (West Paris, Maine)
  • Nevada Offroad Association (Carson City, Nevada)
  • Penticton Sno-Trackers Snowmobile Club (Penticton, BC, Canada)
  • Pictou County Trails Association (Pictou, NS, Canada)
  • Pulaski-Boylston Snowmobile Club Inc. (Pulaski, New York)
  • Washington Department of Natural Resources Olympic Region Recreation (Forks, Washington)
  • Western Trails Conservancy LTD (Clayton, Idaho)

Since its inception in 2006, the program has supported 360 ATV, off-road and snowmobiling organizations across the United States and Canada with more than $3.1 million in grants. The T.R.A.I.L.S. Grant Program focuses on two main objectives: promoting safe and responsible riding and supporting trail preservation and access. Organizations may use funds from the grant to increase and maintain land access through trail development, maintenance projects, safety and education initiatives and other projects.

For more information on the T.R.A.I.L.S. Grant Program and to apply for a grant, visit

K&N Opens New Manufacturing and Distribution Center in Grand Prairie, Texas

K&NK&N Engineering has announced the opening of a new manufacturing facility and warehouse in Grand Prairie, Texas. The new facility now serves as the company's primary manufacturing and distribution center for the company's global consumer demand.

The state-of-the-art facility covers more than 500,000 sq. ft. and is equipped with the latest technology in manufacturing and distribution equipment. The facility currently manufactures more than 5,000 part numbers within the K&N catalog, including engine air filters and air-intake systems. The new plant will also be equipped for manufacturing the company's growing demand for HVAC home air filters and industrial filters for data centers. Additionally, the warehouse has a capacity of more than 15,000 pallet locations and will allow K&N to better serve customers with faster and more efficient delivery times.

VP Racing Names Steve Ward Director of Marketing

VP Racing Fuels Inc. has announced that Steve Ward has joined the company as director of marketing. Most recently, as director of marketing at H&R Block, Ward led the vision and strategy for the company's web properties. He previously led creative development and strategy for a diverse portfolio of clients at leading marketing and advertising agencies.

Meyer Distributing Announces 2023 Q1 Sales Performance Award

Meyer DistributingMeyer Distributing has announced that Justin Englert, diesel sales account manager, is the recipient of the company's 2023 First Quarter Outstanding Sales Performance Award. This award recognizes sales account managers who continuously surpass expectations at Meyer Distributing.

NMRA/NMCA Announces Promotions and New Additions

Santa Ana, California-based ProMedia has announced promotions and additions to its Holley NMRA Ford Nationals series and Red Line Oil NMCA Muscle Car Nationals series events teams.

Gene Bergstrom has been promoted to NMRA/NMCA senior director of racing operations. Michael Washington has been promoted to NMRA/NMCA racing operations manager. Bob Fairey joins the team as NMRA/NMCA chief starter. Jim Bailey takes on the role of NMCA assistant tech director, working on Stock, Super Stock and Factory Super cars. Ray Williams Sr. joins the NMCA team as starter and in staging and track prep departments. Jim McConnel has been promoted to NMRA/NMCA power mall manager. Wade Mooney joins the NMRA/NMCA team as event coordinator, timing and scoring. Ron Conner joins the NMRA/NMCA team in the staging, starting line, tech and track prep departments. Jacob Segars has been promoted to NMRA/NMCA fire/safety captain and joins the Pit Control team. Zachary Slayton has been promoted to NMRA/NMCA fire/safety captain and joins the Pit Control team. Ron Turransky joins the NMRA/NMCA Pit Control team and takes on the event coordinator role in True Street and HEMI Shootouts.

CAN Connect Annual Conference Registration Open

Custom Automotive Network (CAN) has announced that registration for CAN Connect 2023 is open. The event will be held at the Arizona Grand Resort & Spa, September 5-8. The annual CAN Connect Awards reception will be held on Wednesday evening. An active CAN membership is required for all companies participating. For more information about CAN and the 2023 CAN Connect Conference, visit

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