The Climate Group’s Amy Davidsen warns that US auto manufacturers risk falling far behind their European competitors in driving the clean revolution
Electric vehicles are crucial in addressing the global climate crisis. Transportation emissions represent 29% of all US global warming emissions, the largest source of the country’s greenhouse gas emissions. As we begin the critical decade for climate action, where global emissions must be cut in half by 2030 to limit the worst impacts of a warming planet, transitioning away from polluting vehicles to clean electric transport will be a key part of the solution.
To make electric transport the new normal by 2030, The Climate Group’s corporate initiative, EV100, works with leading global companies such as Ingka Group (IKEA) and HP Inc. These and many more businesses are driving a clean revolution to address the climate emergency and meet growing customer expectations.
Our recent EV100 Progress and Insights Annual Report shows that our 67 members have committed more than 2.5 million vehicles to switch to net-zero emission by 2030 (of which 240,000 are all-electric), which will avoid 42 million metric tons of CO2 emissions in the next 10 years. With an accumulated reach in over 80 global markets, members are making ambitious commitments to achieve all-electric fleets by 2030, often earlier than city and state electrification goals.
Companies are starting to take action across multiple areas of the clean energy transition
To date, global members have deployed over 80,000 EVs and installed 10,000 charging points that provide access to electric vehicle charging for 60,000 employees. By 2030, more than one million employees will have access to charging through our members’ initiatives.
In addition, companies are starting to take action across multiple areas of the clean energy transition: 43%of EV100 companies are using 100% renewable electricity at their charging sites and five of those companies are also a part of RE100, The Climate Group’s leadership initiative on transitioning to 100% renewable power.
Electric vehicles are cleaner than internal combustion engines, regardless of the type of electricity used to charge the vehicle (the engine is more efficient and there are no tailpipe emissions), but powering EVs with 100% renewable electricity is the ultimate goal to clean our air and reduce global warming emissions.
Some examples of what our EV100 members are doing include:
Clif Bar & Company. Not only has it committed to electrify its fleet and install EV charging at all its sites by 2030, Clif Bar also encourages a cleaner commute by offering financial incentives to its employees to support the purchase of commuter bikes, fuel-efficient vehicles and EVs.
HP Inc has already installed more than 120 EV charging stations to employees in five different countries, including the US.
Our newest member, global e-scooter operator Lime, is converting more than 300 maintenance vehicles to all-electric – so not only is Lime reducing the dependency on personal automobiles for short-distance journeys via its e-scooter service, the company will use an all-electric fleet when it needs to reallocate its e-scooter inventory within a city.
Ingka Group has a goal of a 100% zero-emission owned, leased, and shared vehicle fleet by 2025, and is in discussions with university campuses and churches in North America to set up EV chargers in parking facilities for their suppliers to charge their electric delivery vehicles overnight.
While great progress is being made, one of the biggest obstacles to the electric vehicle transition is a lack of vehicle supply and models from automakers, particularly in the US.
By seeing emissions standards rolled back rather than tightened, automotive makers are receiving mixed messages
Christine Weydig, director of environmental and energy programmes for another EV100 member, Port Authority of New York & New Jersey, agrees that vehicle availability is a big challenge. While the Port Authority seeks to procure American vehicles, US manufacturers are much further behind than some foreign automakers due to the lack of US federal policy support.
By seeing emissions standards rolled back rather than tightened, automotive makers are receiving mixed messages as businesses, state and city governments forge ahead with the electric vehicle transition despite the federal government’s lack of support.
Earlier this year, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio signed an executive order to transition New York City to an all-electric fleet by 2040, while New Jersey adopted new EV legislation that will help the state reach its climate goal to transition to 100% clean energy by 2050. California continues to drive forward innovations in the electric vehicle space, and most notably, is challenging the federal administration’s attempt to ease up on fuel efficiency rules in an ongoing lawsuit.
To get on track for the ambitious emissions reductions goals of the Climate Decade, The Climate Group is calling on auto manufacturers to heed the signals from major businesses, state and local governments, and to speed the transition to 100% clean transportation – specifically to speed up production of all-electric commercial vans and zero emissions heavy-duty vehicles.
If not, the US automotive market is at risk of falling far behind its foreign competitors in its ability to innovate.
If we can capture this opportunity to lead 21st century manufacturing of all-electric vehicles, the US can lead the way in the climate decade.
Amy Davidsen is the executive director, North America, at The Climate Group
This article was altered on 8 April to correct a factual error on use of renewable energy at charging sites.