Energy Exchange

DOE’s SuperTruck 3 can help us reach a zero-emission future – if we have the right clean truck standards too

Cleaning up pollution from the U.S. trucking industry is an urgent need for the country. For the past decade, the Department of Energy’s SuperTruck Program has helped showcase solutions for a cleaner future. Now Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm has announced a new generation of the DOE SuperTruck program – SuperTruck 3 – that will focus on higher efficiency and zero-emission solutions.

Through the SuperTruck 3 program, DOE will provide $162 million in funding to “pioneer electrified medium- and heavy-duty trucks and freight system concepts that achieve even higher efficiency and lower emissions.” The funding focuses on a range of approaches, including all-electric systems, plug-in hybrid systems using renewable biofuels and hydrogen and fuel cell technologies.

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With its new zero-emission commitment, FedEx raises the bar on climate leadership

The pace of vehicle electrification continues to pick up steam. The latest company to make a big splash is FedEx — the delivery behemoth with more than 80,000 vehicles in its fleet. The company announced its pickup and delivery fleet will include only zero-emission vehicles by 2040.

This is an important step forward, not just for FedEx, but for the delivery vehicle market in general. The delivery vehicle market is particularly ripe for electrification, with numerous vehicle options already on or coming to the market. Recognizing the readiness of the technology, delivery company customers are pushing for their fleet partners to embrace these vehicles.

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New report shows truck and bus manufacturers are readying for a zero-emission future

The North American truck and bus market is on the cusp of a zero-emission future. There is a clear and urgent need to drive down pollution from medium- and heavy-duty vehicles, which contribute to climate change and cause serious harm to human health. Companies, transit agencies and other organizations that operate large fleets understand this, and are moving swiftly to zero-emission alternatives. Manufacturers, recognizing the growing demand for zero-emission vehicles, are racing to bring more of these vehicles to market.

A new report from Environmental Defense Fund, The International Council on Clean Transportation and Propulsion Quebec demonstrates the magnitude of manufacturer investments. Race to zero: How manufacturers are positioned for zero-emission commercial trucks and buses in North America shows that every major truck and bus manufacturer is now developing at least one all-electric vehicle model or is part of an industry collaboration to bring zero-emission vehicles to market.

This growth in model availability demonstrates a marked change in an industry that, just a few years ago, had only a handful of zero-emission options on offer.

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Walmart commits to 100% zero-emission trucks by 2040, signaling electric is the future

As part of its ambitious goal announced yesterday to achieve zero-carbon operations by 2040, Walmart outlined a notable timeframe for transforming its truck fleet. The company will accelerate efforts to pilot zero-emission trucks over the next few years and then aggressively ramp up its use of these vehicles, in order to achieve a full fleet transition by 2040.

Its embrace of zero-emission trucks is significant because large trucks are a major source of air pollution that harms our health and warms the climate. Tackling pollution from trucks is one of the single most important actions we can take to address climate change and provide healthier and longer lives for millions affected by toxic air pollution. This is especially true for overburdened communities and communities of color, which often border major highways and freight hubs, where diesel pollution from trucks is most acute.

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Walmart and J.B. Hunt give glimpse of trucking’s future

It’s an everyday scene in Southern California: a big rig hauling a metal shipping container from a port facility to a distribution center or rail yard. Last week, this old story got a new twist with a 120-mile emission-free haul featuring two shipping behemoths from Northwest Arkansas: Walmart and J.B. Hunt.

Our nation’s two biggest marine ports – the Port of Los Angeles and the Port of Long Beach – operate right next door to each other in a complex known as the San Pedro ports. Nearly 40% of the shipping containers coming into the U.S. enter through this complex. These containers are packed with goods destined for homes and business across the country, with stops along the way at distribution centers, fulfillment centers and retail shelves.

The consumption and movement of these goods has profound equity implications. This is acutely the case around the San Pedro ports. A recent report found that “freight movement accounts for about 42% of NOx emissions in the South Coast Air Basin, with heavy-duty trucks that service the ports the single-largest source within that category.” These trucks, known as drayage trucks, are a mere 0.1% of the vehicles on the road but contribute 5% of total NOx pollution. Addressing the impact of drayage trucks is an environmental and equity imperative. Thankfully, we have the technical means to do so. Read More »

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Electrifying trucks and buses is an opportunity for lasting change, one we can’t afford to miss

The U.S. is still struggling to contain the spread of COVID-19 and quantify the human and economic consequences of this historic tragedy. But already, leaders are contemplating how we’ll restore our economies. Will we rebuild a replica of what we had, or will we invest in ideas that will make society more resilient, healthier, cleaner and more equitable?

The transportation sector is on the cusp of massive change, and one segment within it is ripe for reinvention: medium- and heavy-duty vehicles. These include everything from semi-trucks and delivery vans, to city buses and garbage trucks — the overwhelming majority of which are powered by diesel engines.

Electrifying this segment was an opportunity for lasting change before the COVID-19 economic crash. Now that countries are considering where to invest to rebuild their economies, it’s an opportunity we can’t afford to miss.

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