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article imageStates set to jump-start the transition to electric trucks

By Karen Graham     Jul 19, 2020 in Technology
A coalition of states is following California’s lead in setting goals to jump-start a transition to electric-powered trucks, vans and buses in order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve air quality for communities choked by diesel fumes.
The group of 15 states plus the District of Columbia agreed last week to develop an action plan aimed at having 100 percent of all new medium- and heavy-duty vehicles sold be zero-emission by 2050. They also set an interim target of 30 percent zero emission sales by 2030, according to the Business Journal.
The memorandum of understanding was signed July 14 by California, Connecticut, Colorado, Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington, plus the District of Columbia.
“This is a really big deal in sending a powerful signal to industry with directions on where we need to be going with transportation,” said Bill Van Amburg, executive vice president of CALSTART, a nonprofit consortium focused on building a clean transportation industry. “You can now justify further investment to develop more products.”
The coalition has a couple of options as they work toward transitioning to all-electric trucks and buses. They could adopt the mandate California’s Air Resources Board (CARB) announced on June 25, or could focus on subsidies and incentives, as well as investment in charging infrastructure, according to the Associated Press.
The CARB clean truck rule includes two key provisions: a requirement for medium and heavy-duty vehicle manufacturers to sell zero-emission vehicles as a portion of their annual sales; and a one-time fleet-reporting requirement that will be used to inform future zero-emission vehicle adoption strategies.
The I-75 / I-85 Downtown Connector in Atlanta  Georgia. Keeping infrastructure in top condition is n...
The I-75 / I-85 Downtown Connector in Atlanta, Georgia. Keeping infrastructure in top condition is necessary to maintain economic growth.
“The important step will be the details that emerge from this agreement,” said Jimmy O’Dea, a vehicles analyst at the Union of Concerned Scientists. “The direction the states need to go should be in response to the urgency of the situation, both on air quality and climate change.”
There are currently about 28 million trucks and buses in the United States, making up about 10 percent of all vehicles. Yet that small percentage of trucks and buses makes up about 28 percent of total carbon emissions in the transportation sector.
It’s anticipated that 300,000 trucks and buses will be electric-powered by 2035, making up 15 percent of the total trucks and buses on roadways, said O'Dea.
More about electric trucks, California Air Resources Board, heavyduty trucks and buses, Zero emissions
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