Drive to Zero Newsletter – October 2020

Dear Drive to Zero Pledge Partners and Allies:

Last month California’s Governor issued an Executive Order requiring all new cars and passenger trucks sold in the state be zero-emission vehicles by 2035. In addition, California committed to developing regulations to ensure all medium- and heavy-duty vehicles be zero-emission by 2045 where feasible, and by 2035 for drayage trucks. Other nations have committed to strong targets for carbon neutrality and zero-emission cars and passenger trucks, but California’s is the strongest signal any government has given specifically for zero-emission commercial vehicles (ZECVs). Through Drive to Zero we’re committed to working with partner nations to adopt strong ZECV targets, policies, and incentives.

– Cristiano Façanha, Global Director, CALSTART/Drive to Zero

Drive to Zero Program Progress and Updates

The Beachhead Model: Catalyzing Mass-Market Opportunities Catalyzing for Zero-Emission Commercial Vehicles

The Drive to Zero program relies on the “Beachhead Model” as the basis for targeting areas of first-success applications for zero-emission commercial vehicles and for supporting the deployment of new applications and technologies. This white paper provides a detailed description of how the Beachhead Model operates, the role of manufacturing and innovation in expanding to new vehicle applications, and how governments and industry can support the growing zero-emission commercial vehicle market. (LINK)

Home Deliveries on the Rise, Vehicle Emissions and Air Pollution Don’t Need to Be

The rapid growth of eCommerce, which is highlighted by Amazon’s Prime Day and the approaching holiday rush amid shifting pandemic purchasing behaviors, underscores the importance of electrifying the last-mile delivery segment to reduce costs and the environmental impacts of diesel-powered trucks. A new Drive to Zero article investigates the intersection between the COVID-19 pandemic, demand for ecommerce services, and the impact of increased volumes of delivery trucks on the road and in urban areas. (LINK)

Drive to Zero at the VERGE20 Online Conference

We will be sharing our insights at VERGE20, where more than 10,000 leaders from the private and public sectors, utilities, solution providers, investors, and startups will be exchanging ideas to facilitate a clean energy economy. Join us for two breakout events on innovative clean commercial vehicles:

  • The Tipping Point for Commercial Zero-Emission Vehicles (October 28 at 11:30am Pacific) (LINK)
  • How Innovative Financing can Scale Zero-Emission Trucks and Buses (October 28 at 12pm Pacific) (LINK)

CALSTART 2020 Annual Meeting

CALSTART will host its 2020 Annual Meeting next month! Mark your calendar for November 17-18 for an interactive virtual experience that showcases industry thought leaders, hosts discussion groups, and looks to our future. More details will be coming out soon, but registration is open. (LINK)

Clean Commercial Transportation Update

Join us every Friday at 11am Pacific for a live 30-minute webcast on the latest in clean transportation news. Hosted by CALSTART’s Bill Van Amburg, Executive Vice President, and Alycia Gilde, Senior Director, we bring you the innovation leaders who are changing transportation for good. (LINK)

News Updates

Government agencies are extending large-scale financial support to help form the zero-emission commercial vehicle market. These incentives and others directly support economic growth in emerging markets and may be seen as offsets for the hidden, negative outcomes associated with fossil fuel emissions. For example, the American Lung Association estimates that a U.S. nationwide transition to zero-emission vehicles by 2050 would avoid thousands of deaths and produce more than $180 billion in public benefits.

Recent government investment news includes:

  • The Canadian federal government will invest CA$1.5 billion to accelerate the adoption of zero-emission buses and associated infrastructure. The investment, part of a CA$10 billion national infrastructure “Growth Plan,” supports growth and innovation in the first wave (transit buses) of the Drive to Zero “Beachhead Model” for zero-emission commercial vehicle application deployments.
  • The European Union will contribute more than €54 million to several zero- and near-zero emission projects and their infrastructure. Additional funding will be available through March 21, or when the funding is exhausted, on a rolling basis through the CEF Transport Blending Facility program.
  • The government of India may offer $4.6 billion in incentives to domestic companies that produce EV batteries. The incentive program would follow the recommendation of influential think tank NITI Aayog and would support the growth of domestic energy production.

Battery manufacturing is expanding in other locations, as well. For example, automaker BYD isexpanding its battery production capacity at a Brazil plant to support its transit bus operations in the region. The expansion reflects the market success that Chinese companies have had in developing transit bus operations across Latin America.

For an in-depth exploration on how the technological and regulatory challenges to zero-emission transit bus adoption have been addressed within the region, consult this report from the World Bank on the experiences of transit bus fleets in Santiago, Chile. Santiago boasts the largest zero-emission transit bus deployment on the continent.

Reach out to us to share new information, potential partners, and innovative practices to achieve our Drive to Zero goals at, and please feel free to share this newsletter with others. The updates described above and additional news stories are linked below.
Dan Welch, Senior Project Manager, CALSTART

News Links

Events / Reports

  • The Beachhead Model: Catalyzing Mass-Market Opportunities Catalyzing for Zero-Emission Commercial Vehicles (LINK)
  • Electric Vehicle Report: The Road to Clean Air (LINK)
  • Lessons from Chile’s Experience with E-mobility: The Integration of E-Buses in Santiago (LINK)

 Fleet Deployments

  • Knight-Swift sets goal to cut emissions 50% — and do it profitably (LINK)
  • Daimler eCascadia Freightliner goes for test run in Sysco regional haul (LINK)
  • Lightning Systems electric shuttle buses now offered on CALACT purchasing contract (LINK)
  • Transit agencies in California can now purchase Phoenix Motorcars’ zero-emission shuttle buses (LINK)
  • Walmart Canada triples its Tesla Semi order (LINK)


  • Latin America gearing up for green commute (LINK)

 Manufacturers and Models: Trucks and Buses

  • Hyundai to bring H2 trucks to US markets in 2022 (LINK)
  • New York City is testing electric garbage trucks (LINK)

Manufacturers and Models: Port Equipment and Off-Road

  • In Austria, a hydrogen train is set to travel on challenging alpine routes (LINK)

Financial Incentives

  • Scotland awards £7.4 million for electric buses (LINK)

Government Policies

  • Governor Newsom announces California will phase out sales of new gasoline-powered cars and drastically reduce demand for fossil fuel in California’s fight against climate change (LINK)
  • Canadian federal government announces $1.5-billion for zero-emission buses and charging infrastructure (LINK)
  • EU contributing millions to transport electrification projects (LINK)
  • A New York bill quietly seeds the ban of new ICE cars by 2035 (LINK)

 Fuels & Infrastructure

  • “Game-Changer” FERC order opens up wholesale grid markets to distributed energy resources (LINK)
  • What Penske learned about charging electric trucks (LINK)
  • Tel Aviv-Yafo launches electric road pilot to recharge buses (LINK)

 Utility Policies

  • US electric utilities fast-track fleet electrification (LINK)

 Batteries & Technology

  • India plans $4.6 billion in incentives for battery makers in electric vehicle push -document (LINK)
  • Ballard & Mahle to industrialize fuel cell systems for commercial vehicles (LINK)
  • SVOLT to supply Great Wall with cobalt-free batteries (LINK)
  • Li-Cycle to build battery recycling ‘Hub’ in the USA (LINK)
  • BYD launches battery production plant in Brazil (LINK)