CALSTART’s Global Commercial Vehicle Drive to Zero Program Taps International Clean Truck and Bus Expert, Engineer, Coalition Builder as Director | July 1, 2019

Cristiano Facanha is named Program Director of CALSTART’s Drive to Zero program.

PASADENA, Calif. ­- National clean transportation technology innovator and accelerator CALSTART has hired Cristiano Façanha, Ph.D., as Program Director of its Global Commercial Vehicle Drive to Zero program (Drive to Zero). A strategic international initiative designed to catalyze the growth of the zero-emission and near-zero-emission truck and bus sector, Drive to Zero recently made headlines when the nation of Canada endorsed the program.

“Dr. Façanha is a noted clean bus and truck and policy expert, coalition builder, and a civil and environmental engineer with strong roots in South America. He believes deeply in our mission of achieving full market penetration of clean trucks and buses by 2040 and he has the knowledge, relationships and skills to help get us there,” said John Boesel, President and CEO of CALSTART, a national nonprofit consortium that partners with 210+ member company and agency innovators to build a prosperous, efficient and clean high-tech transportation industry.

At the recent 10th Clean Energy Ministerial in Vancouver, the government of Canada became the first nation to take the pledge to Drive to Zero. It joined British Columbia, Vancouver, the California Energy Commission, Chile Sustainable Energy Agency, BAE Systems and the City of Helmond as the latest governments, industry and fleets to sign the pledge, bringing the total to more than 50. Pledge partners promise to collectively put in place supporting mechanisms to speed the early market for these vehicles and equipment. Read the full Drive to Zero pledge here.

“Dr. Façanha not only has a deep understanding of the clean transportation technologies we need to solve the economic, climate and air quality challenges we face, he also has on-the-ground experience building coalitions and driving policies that bring real-world outcomes,” said Bill Van Amburg, Executive Vice President of CALSTART and head of the Drive to Zero program. “Cristiano has proven himself to be a thoughtful collaborator who advocates bold action, then assembles and energizes the needed partners to achieve tangible results. Focusing on ‘how’ to achieve change is exactly what Drive to Zero does and what’s needed to reach our Paris Accord goals.”

Façanha most recently headed a number of global programs for the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT) including the Green Freight program, which aims to improve the energy efficiency and environmental performance of freight systems through a mix of policies and market-based approaches worldwide. A transportation and environmental engineer by trade, Dr. Façanha also led ICCT’s activities in Brazil and oversaw the development and application of emission inventory tools.

“Medium- and heavy-duty vehicles, despite being relatively small in number, contribute to a disproportionate and growing share of worldwide oil consumption and urban air pollution,” said Façanha. “We can reverse these damaging trends while spurring technology innovation and economic growth by targeting the right vehicles in key regions that set the pace for the rest of the world.”

In previous positions at ICF International, Façanha helped the U.S. government and industry leaders address complex policy, planning and operational issues involving transportation, energy, and environment. At American President Lines and Emery Worldwide, he helped develop and implement transportation and warehousing programs for automakers in the U.S., China, Mexico, Brazil and Thailand. He holds a Ph.D. in Civil and Environmental Engineering from the University of California at Berkeley and an M.S. in Transportation Management from Chalmers University of Technology in Gothenburg, Sweden. Façanha was raised in Brazil and is fluent in English, Portuguese and Spanish.

Over the next five years, Drive to Zero and its participants will focus on galvanizing support, sharing information, identifying best practices, eliminating barriers, and coordinating among stakeholders to ensure success of beachhead markets in regions in Asia, North and South America and Europe. If you would like to learn more about Drive to Zero and take the Drive to Zero pledge, visit our website.

MEDIA CONTACT: Roxanna Smith,, (626)744-5609 or (510)326-0390