April 2020 Drive to Zero Newsletter

Welcome to the April 2020 Edition of the Global Commercial Vehicle Drive to Zero Newsletter! In these uncertain times of COVID-19, we hope you are staying safe, healthy and optimistic. We have several program and news updates from around the world. As always, please share new information, potential partners, and innovative practices to achieve  your own Drive to Zero goals at info@globaldrivetozero.org. Please feel free to share this newsletter with others.

We are also excited to share that we are hiring for our team! The Global Drive to Zero program is looking for a highly-motivated, experienced and results-oriented Project Manager to support our Global Commercial Vehicle Drive to Zero program. The Project Manager will support the Global Director and other CALSTART staff to recruit new Drive to Zero partners, manage regional and global alliances, develop knowledge products, disseminate information, support priority projects, and track progress towards our goals. For more information, check out the position listing.

Lastly, social media alert! @TeamDriveToZero is now live on Twitter. Please follow us and interact as we grow our network in the coming weeks. And let us know about your Twitter handle, if we have not already become a follower of yours. We look forward to sharing exciting new updates!

Dan Welch
Senior Project Manager

Program Progress and Actions

Regional Collaborative as a Model for Infrastructure Planning

CALSTART has led an exciting collaborative infrastructure effort in states along the U.S. West Coast that we think can be a valuable template for other groups interested in expanding alternative fuel infrastructure. The West Coast Collaborative and CALSTART have developed guidance on how to design alternative fuel infrastructure in California, Oregon, and Washington to enable the next wave of near- or zero-emission travel and commerce. This blog explains how the collaborative was developed and the brief lessons that could be replicable to strategically site alternative fuel infrastructure in other regions.

Share the Zero-Emission Technology Inventory (ZETI)

A number of pledge partners have asked for guidance in including Drive to Zero’s ZETI tool on their websites. If you are interested in spreading the word about ZETI – and we invite you to do so – please use the below language to introduce the tool to your audiences.

CALSTART’s Zero-Emission Technology Inventory (ZETI) is a publicly-available interactive online tool that catalogs models of current and upcoming zero-emission commercial trucks, buses and off-road equipment across key regions around the world. The tool provides a non-biased foundation for understanding this rapidly evolving market. ZETI contains vehicle data for more than 400 vehicle models globally, spanning nine different types of commercial vehicle platforms—transit buses, school buses, shuttle buses, cargo vans, yard tractors, medium-duty trucks and step vans, heavy-duty trucks and more. ZETI is continuously updated with new information about anticipated commercial availability as new technologies debut. National nonprofit clean transportation accelerator CALSTART created ZETI and its first-of-its-kind interactive dashboard as part of its Global Commercial Vehicle Drive to Zero program.

A New Research Resource for U.S. Transit Agencies

The Clean Transit Innovation Network (CTIN) is a centralized help center for United States transit agencies and representative seeking a step-by-step pathway to creating cleaner bus fleets.

CTIN reports an efforts to deploy, test and commercialize low- and zero-emission transit buses. It provides critical tools to support agencies as they transition their fleets to near- and zero-emission vehicles and adopt clean fuels infrastructure. We are helping transit agencies in communities of all shapes and sizes to transform bus fleets nationwide. The CTIN is funded by a grant from the Federal Transit Administration and is administered by CALSTART.

For questions about CTIN, contact us at info@cleantransitnetwork.org.

News Updates

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused severe impacts on human health and the economy, while also providing some glimpses into the environmental possibilities of a world with fewer fossil fuel-powered vehicles. Restrictions on personal mobility as non-essential workers shelter in place may result in global greenhouse gas emissions falling by as much as five percent, the largest percentage drop since World War II. In Los Angeles – notorious for its poor air quality due to vehicle tailpipe emissions – social distancing has resulted in the city having the best air quality of any major city in the world. This improvement has been observed across the world, such as the Punjab region in India, where residents have been able to see the Himalaya Mountains for the first time in decades due to a rapid decline in particulate matter emissions. Obviously, reductions in greenhouse gas emissions and air pollutants will be temporary, and emissions will likely return to scale quickly once safe socializing is once again permitted. The need to preserve improvements in air pollution and human health has been starkly underscored by the impacts of COVID-19 on disadvantaged communities, though. A recent study indicates that residents in areas with very high levels of particulate matter are most likely to suffer the most severe health consequences from the novel coronavirus.

Despite the economic uncertainty and supply chain disruptions that COVID-19 have created, the market potential for zero-emission vehicles shines remains strong. Our Drive to Zero pledge partners are actively engaged in providing solutions during this time of global crisis. To highlight just one story, electric vehicle upfitter Lightning Systems will deliver 12 all-electric vans into the California Department of State Hospitals. The Class 3 vans will serve the Southern California regional medical health communities. Many other fleets are beginning to transition to large-scale medium-duty electric truck fleets, with several fleets anticipating heavy-duty long-haul acquisitions beginning as early as 2021. Said one freight haul company president, “We want them quicker than the manufacturers can produce them.” Manufacturers are scaling up production to meet growing fleet demand, taking advantage of knowledgeable labor pools in manufacturing hubs such as Detroit and tech hubs such as North Carolina and California. The efforts are matched by companies producing vehicles in Europe and China with the cumulative effect of creating new economic opportunities for local workers.

The Canadian economy would also stand to benefit from a greater national focus on EV production and purchases. Navius Research and the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT) identified a strong EV production mandate as a potential solution to reduce the gap between Canada and  other major economies in producing EVs as a percentage of all vehicle manufacturing.

Zero-emission vehicles continue to provide economic and environmental opportunities through deployments in new and growing markets around the world.

The availability of adequate charging infrastructure is a growing concern for fleet operators considering a switch to zero-emission vehicles. Nearly half of fleet owners at the most recent Advanced Clean Transportation (ACT) Expo identified infrastructure availability as the leading barrier, twice as many as those that identified purchase price. In Europe, vehicle manufacturers and charging service providers are stepping in to ease the transition. The European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association is calling for binding infrastructure targets that would support the number of electric- and hydrogen-powered vehicles needed to meet European Union 2025 and 2030 heavy-duty vehicle targets for greenhouse gases. Major charging hardware and software providers are also supporting European charging market by creating a lobbying group, “ChargeUp Europe,” to collaboratively support the right market conditions that encourage investment and create a consumer-oriented, open market model for charging infrastructure in Europe.


Events / Reports

  • Los Angeles has notoriously polluted air – but currently has some of the cleanest of any major city (LINK)
  • Canada needs stronger EV manufacturing policies to retain its place in the evolving automotive sector: report (LINK)
  • Portrait of a ZEV economy: jobs in transportation, manufacturing, infrastructure and growth for Canada (LINK)
  • Webinar Charges Up Conversation on Electric School Buses (LINK)
  • Covid-19 death rate rises in counties with high air pollution, study says (LINK)

Fleet Deployments

  • ZEBRA to bring electric buses to South America (LINK)
  • Solaris’ Recurring Customer Orders 20 More Electric Buses (LINK)
  • Berlin: BVG builds on electric bus fleet (LINK)
  • First batch of 10 electric buses now being used on five Singapore routes (LINK)
  • Maine Waste-to-Energy Facility Commits to Trucks Powered by Trash (LINK)
  • Severn Trent Water takes EV100 pledge to electrify full fleet (LINK)
  • EMBARK Awards Zero-Emission Contract to New Flyer (LINK)
  • California Dept. of State Hospitals Orders 12 Electric Cargo Vans (LINK)
  • 20 BYD electric trucks headed for Ecuador (LINK)


  • Big Rigs Begin to Trade Diesel for Electric Motors (LINK)
  • Electric trucks deliver engineering and production jobs to Detroit (LINK)
  • Electric Trucks And Sustainability: A Lot To Consider (LINK)
  • People in India say they’re seeing the Himalayas for first time in decades amid drop in air pollution (LINK)

Manufacturers and Models: Trucks and Buses

  • Liebherr Releases First All-Electric Cement Mixer (LINK)
  • Toyota announces heavy-duty fuel cell truck development plans (LINK)

Manufacturers and Models: Port Equipment and Off-Road

  • Oslo’s first zero emissions construction site in action (LINK)

Government Policies

  • Oregon climate change: Governor’s new plan leans on supersizing the Clean Fuels Program (LINK)
  • New Energy Mobility Paradigm for India (LINK)


  • ACEA demands 90,000 electric truck charge points by 2030 (LINK)
  • ChargeUp Europe to lobby for charging industry (LINK)

Batteries & Technology

  • Loop Energy Receives Fuel Cell Range Extender Order for Transit Buses in Nanjing China (LINK)
  • Manufacturers Are Struggling To Supply Electric Vehicles With Batteries (LINK)