Energy Exchange

Zero-emission trucks and buses can improve our climate, clean air future

This week, hundreds of officials from countries, states, cities and companies all over the world are convening in New York to discuss the future of our planet. Among the many solutions being discussed is one that sometimes gets less attention, but holds tremendous opportunity to tackle climate change and clean our air in communities across the globe: zero-emission trucks and buses.

I attended an event hosted by CALSTART where they presented information on their Global Commercial Vehicle Drive to Zero Program. This international initiative focuses on driving market development of zero-emission medium- and heavy-duty vehicles through partnerships that promote supporting policies and investments. We also heard from leading government and corporate players like the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, FedEx and INGKA (formerly the IKEA Group) on the progress they are making to electrify their fleets. As Angela Hultberg, Head of Sustainable Mobility of INGKA, made clear, we are past the point of making commitments, we need to move to implement.

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Also posted in Air Quality, Clean Energy / Comments are closed

North Carolina’s transportation sector is poised for electrification, but creative solutions are needed to achieve success

In 2018, North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper issued Executive Order 80, an initiative to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, improve air quality and enhance public health statewide. It was an important step toward addressing the global climate crisis starting right here in our backyard. The governor’s order calls for the creation of a Zero Emission Vehicle Plan, which outlines a goal to get 80,000 electric vehicles on the road by 2025. This is an exciting initiative that should help push the EV market along. But North Carolina is capable of achieving far more than is laid out in the current plan — most of which the state is already on track to achieve.

North Carolina’s transportation system has long been ripe for electrification. In fact, the state will likely reach or exceed 80,000 EVs, roughly 4.5% of light-duty (passenger vehicle) sales, by 2025 under a business as usual scenario. Therefore, a more ambitious target of 15% light duty EV sales, with an additional 5% medium-duty and heavy-duty EV (large trucks and buses) sales target, is not only achievable but also better supports the state’s goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions 40% over 2005 levels by 2025. North Carolina will need to adopt new policies to support this ambitious goal.

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Also posted in Clean Energy, North Carolina / Comments are closed

4 new developments that prove electric trucks and buses are gaining momentum

The electric vehicle movement is having a moment. And I’m not talking about the usual passenger EVs that everyone already knows about — the Teslas, the Volts, the Bolts or the Leafs.

I’m talking about the next wave of EV markets that, when they take off, will fundamentally change how people and freight are moved. Here are four new developments that prove electric trucks and buses are gaining momentum.

1. Washington commits dollars, legislation to electric buses

First, a pair of announcements from Washington could spur new research and deployment of various low or zero-emission transit vehicles. The Federal Transportation Administration awarded 38 grants totaling $85 million to transit agencies across the country to purchase or lease “low or no emission” buses. Since its inception, the FTA’s Low-No program has funded more than $300 million in new buses, training or infrastructure. And a group of U.S. senators introduced the Clean School Bus Act last month, through which the U.S. Department of Energy would spend a billion dollars to help convert diesel school buses to clean electric models. A companion bill was just introduced into the House.

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Also posted in Clean Energy / Comments are closed

Transforming transportation in New Jersey

There is no summer slowdown for New Jersey. State lawmakers are working hard to meet the state’s clean energy goals. Shortly before releasing the state’s Draft Energy Master Plan, Gov. Phil Murphy introduced the New Jersey Partnership to Plug-In, a first-of-its-kind collaboration between the Board of Public Utilities, the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and the Economic Development Authority to build the necessary infrastructure to support electric vehicle ownership statewide, cut pollution and clean up the air.

As one of five states in the U.S. requiring 50% of its power be sourced from renewables by 2030 and to reach 100% clean energy by 2050, New Jersey is moving on a path toward decarbonization, reducing its reliance on fossil fuels, to meet its aggressive climate goals, and to contribute to the nationwide – if not global – task of avoiding the worst consequences of climate change. But decarbonizing the power sector isn’t enough.

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Also posted in Air Quality, Clean Energy, New Jersey / Comments are closed

Electric fleets are the future of transportation, this California regulator explains how we get there

 

This post is the second in our Innovation Series

If you’ve ever wondered why some California cities consistently rank among the nation’s most polluted, the answer is simple: cars and trucks.

California’s transportation sector is responsible for about 80% of the state’s smog and 50% of its climate pollution, and much of that pollution comes from the vehicles traveling up and down our highways.

Fortunately, the state is at a turning point: over half a million drivers have made the switch to zero-emission vehicles. And more commercial fleet owners also see benefits to investing in zero-emission vehicles.

I recently sat down with Steve Cliff, the Deputy Executive Officer of the California Air Resources Board to learn more about what the state is doing to accelerate the transition to cleaner cars and trucks.

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Also posted in Clean Energy, Innovation series / Comments are closed

Trucking companies, utilities and innovators work together to put more electric vehicles on the road

This post is the first in our Innovation Series

One of the largest sources of climate pollution is the transportation sector, which is responsible for about a quarter of our nation’s greenhouse gas pollution. It is clear that to reach our climate goals, we must reduce car and truck emissions.

One way to reduce harmful air and climate pollution is by electrifying the transportation sector, especially long-haul trucks, buses, delivery vehicles, garbage trucks and regional “day cab” tractors used at ports. Heavy-duty vehicles are not only responsible for significant climate pollution, they are also responsible for about 30% of Nitrogen oxide pollution. These emissions can increase cancer risk, neurological and metabolic diseases, and cause respiratory and cardiovascular damage.

Toxic air pollutants like these are often hyper-localized, disproportionately impacting low-income communities and communities of color who are more likely to live near major highways, ports, and distribution centers. A recent EDF study of Oakland’s air pollution, for example, observed residents living near one particular freeway (home to much of the city’s diesel fueled traffic) were exposed to concentrations of black carbon 80% higher than a similar road.

Electrifying these medium and heavy-duty vehicles therefore reduces both pollution that harms human health and reduces greenhouse gas emissions from the combustion of the fuel. But making this win-win transition will require significant technological and political support to succeed. Fortunately, a growing number of innovators are adopting and/or developing tools to expand the number of medium- and heavy-duty electric vehicles on the road — ultimately reducing harmful pollution and preserving a clean, reliable and equitable electric grid.

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Also posted in Clean Energy, Innovation series / Comments are closed