Energy Exchange

New mapping tool could help communities, policymakers prioritize clean transportation solutions

My children’s daycare, which is on a commercial strip between supermarkets and restaurants, often has three refrigerated trucks idling outside the front door. These diesel trucks can emit harmful pollution, even when they aren’t moving. The impact of transportation pollution on vulnerable populations is often striking. In downtown Oakland, where more than 70% of the population are people of color, one in two new cases of childhood asthma are attributed to transportation pollution.

Companies are being questioned about the impacts that truck-attracting facilities like warehouses are having on local communities. The pressure will only increase as e-commerce and distribution facilities expand right by population centers.

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Also posted in Air Quality, California / Language: / Comments are closed

New California law will make it easier to finance electric trucks, buses

By Michael Colvin and Lauren Navarro

Gov. Newsom signed a new law today that will help accelerate the much-needed transition to electric trucks and buses. In addition to transforming the California market and cleaning up the state’s air, this law can serve as a national model for other states interested in accelerating the adoption of clean trucks and buses.

The new law, Senate Bill 372, directs the California Air Resources Board and the state treasurer’s office to offer a suite of financial incentives to help owners of medium- and heavy-duty trucks and buses pay for the costs of replacing their diesel-fueled fleets with cleaner, zero-emission alternatives. Examples include a loan loss reserve, credit enhancements, performance warranties and sale guarantees.

What is particularly innovative about this new law is that it uses the public dollar to attract private capital in ways that traditional rebates do not. Research indicates that this leverage will be critical to getting clean trucks and buses on the road at scale.

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Also posted in Air Quality, California / Language: / Comments are closed

A new way to track truck pollution

By Timothy O’Connor and Aileen Nowlan

SunPower, a solar power and energy services provider, is starting to ship solar panels in electric heavy-duty trucks powered by — you guessed it — solar energy. The question that communities and investors are starting to ask is, why isn’t everybody?

How long can a company go without a plan to end goods transport powered by fossil fuels, and what are the health and climate consequences of the status quo?

Despite making up only about 4% of the vehicles on the road, diesel trucks are responsible for over half the smog-forming pollution from the transportation sector and a quarter of the climate emissions. This pollution is projected to grow, as demand for freight moved by trucks is on track to increase about 25% by 2030.

The local impact of this pollution is significant. Recent studies in places such as Oakland, California and Houston — two regions with large port operations and associated goods movement equipment located in or near environmental justice communities — have proven that diesel truck pollution leads to increases in childhood asthma rates and lower life expectancies in frontline communities.

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Also posted in Air Quality, California, Texas / Language: / Comments are closed

New Jersey BPU’s electric truck and bus charging infrastructure proposal: A solid first step but more is needed

By Elizabeth B. Stein and Pamela MacDougall

New Jersey’s march toward electric trucks and buses has picked up speed in the last few years. This summer, the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities released a preliminary proposal outlining the development of charging infrastructure for medium- and heavy-duty vehicles throughout the state, inviting stakeholders to participate in public discussions and provide written comments. This straw proposal has incredible potential to ready New Jersey for the coming wave of electric buses and trucks and to accelerate and build on existing progress.

Environmental Defense Fund filed written comments on this proposal yesterday. The takeaway? Though it sets the stage for some progress, the straw proposal has some gaps that suggest the BPU’s vision for electrifying trucks and buses misses key public benefits and some fundamental realities of how the transformation will occur. As written, it limits the potential and power of a well-calibrated BPU framework for electrifying the sector and risks undermining New Jersey’s climate, clean energy, equity and economic goals.

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New group of leading fleets leverages collaboration to overcome barriers to truck electrification

Electric trucks are one of the most consequential climate investments companies can make today. These vehicles are increasingly available, able to do the job required of them, and fleets are embracing them.

As fleets make the transition to a zero-emission future — especially first movers — they are required to develop solutions to numerous challenges that electrification currently presents. This includes (but is not limited to) optimizing routes, designing charging systems that can fit within the operations of their current facilities, and engaging drivers around this new technology. It’s a daunting task.

To support fleets as they address this unprecedented pace of change, EDF has partnered with the North American Council on Freight Efficiency, RMI and CALSTART and have created the Electric Fleet Readiness Group.

This group is comprised of leaders from top private fleets that are deploying or exploring zero-emission electric class 6-8 trucks within their operations, including: Dependable Highway Express, Manhattan Beer Distributors, NFI, Pitt Ohio, and Anheuser-Busch, among other fleets. Collectively the companies participating in the fleet readiness group operate over 50,000 trucks and have already deployed over 50 electric trucks with announced plans for hundreds more.

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4 actions fleets must take to be sustainability leaders today

Electric trucks provide an opportunity for organizations with fleets to fundamentally transform the environmental impact of their operations. But rather than the incremental progress of better pollution control equipment and improved fuel efficiency we’ve seen play out over the past two decades, the technical innovation in electric vehicles over the past few years has been brisk.

For example, recent EDF analysis demonstrates that well over 125 fleets are either running zero-emission trucks today or have them on order. Manufacturers, meanwhile, are investing billions in the technology and bringing new models to the market at a breathtaking pace.

The rapidity of change in this space can make it challenging for fleets to calibrate their ambition. And yet, the current decade is critical to put the medium and heavy-duty vehicle sector on a path toward a clean energy future. Here are four actions fleets must take to be sustainability leaders today:

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