Drive to Zero Newsletter – January 2021

Dear Drive to Zero Pledge Partners and Allies:

Brighter days lie ahead in the United States with a new federal administration that prioritizes not only the health of their citizens but also climate change and a speedy economic recovery with investments in zero-emission vehicles. We’ll be working with the new administration to support a complete package of regulations and incentives to accelerate the deployment of zero-emission commercial vehicles (ZECVs) and much stronger ZECV commitments ahead of COP-26 later this year.

And while we often emphasize that ZE urban delivery vehicles are primed for faster deployment, ZE tractor trailers are not much behind. An analysis CALSTART and FIER Automotive published in December for the International ZEV Alliance indicated that all ZE truck applications will achieve cost parity by 2030, and much sooner with the right incentives in place. ZE tractor trailers are emerging now for regional haul, soon (2023-25) for longer haul and in 2025+ for the long haul. For example, the California Air Resources Board is launching its Project 800 to support the deployment of 800 ZE port trucks in 2021 (CARB is holding a free public webinar for Project 800 on January 21). With more and better product offerings and strong government signals indicating their commitment to ZECVs, we’ll be able to speed their deployment to foster clean jobs, social equity, and a healthier climate.

We were also fortunate to celebrate a number of important milestones, including Drive to Zero  becoming an official campaign of the Clean Energy Ministerial, and expanding our partnership with nine nations now working together to accelerate the market for zero-emission trucks and buses. In 2021 Drive to Zero will launch a global effort towards 100% zero-emission truck and bus sales by 2050, with many vehicle applications driving to zero a lot faster. And to support these efforts, we will continue to develop the tools, events, and publications to better equip our partners in charting a course to zero.

To help kick off your holiday reading and reflect on what this year has meant for the Global Commercial Vehicle Drive to ZeroTM program and campaign, our team has recently published an end-of-year blog post. I hope you enjoy it.

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

Drive to Zero Program Progress and Updates

Drive to Zero Campaign Tops 100 Pledge Partners, Including Logistics Giant DHL

The Drive to Zero campaign now has more than 100 pledge partners thanks to an influx of pledge partners in the second half of 2020, with notable inclusions such as logistics leader DHL, truck manufacturer Scania, and many others. “Our pledge partners are international leaders and innovators in their respective fields. They set the bar when it comes to technology, trailblazing business and service models and sustainability,” said Dr. Cristiano Façanha, Global Director of Drive to Zero. (LINK)

Drive to Zero 2020: A Year of Challenges, a Year of Growth

In case you missed our end-of-year summary from the last edition, find out more about Drive to Zero’s 2020 progress. We were officially recognized as a new Clean Energy Ministerial campaign under the Electric Vehicle initiative, welcomed eight national governments as pledge partners, supported the launch of a new MOU to reach 100 percent zero-emissions trucks and buses by 2050, and much more! (LINK)

Clean Commercial Transportation Update

Our weekly news update is returning for 2021. Join us this and 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)

Call for Media: Pledge Partner Activities

We love to showcase the innovative work of our pledge partners via social media channels, our website and direct outreach efforts. To help us highlight your groundbreaking technologies, events or milestones, please send us a high-quality photo file (to which you own the copyright) with suggested caption and courtesy information. Please send all files to Roxanna Smith If your organization is not a Drive to Zero pledge partner but would like to be featured, you can learn more about the Pledge here.

News Updates

Several U.S. states ended 2020 on a hopeful note by signing on to the Transportation and Climate Initiative, a collective effort aimed at capping transportation emissions in the U.S. Northeast and Mid-Atlantic and investing in cleaner, greener transportation alternatives. The initiative, which was signed by Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and the District of Columbia, may still be signed by other states in the region. According to a recent study, the initiative’s potential health benefits are expected to match or exceed the revenue generated from auction proceeds. New York State has not yet signed on, but Governor Cuomo has dedicated nearly $19 million through the CALSTART-managed New York Truck Voucher Incentive Program for electric transit and school buses.

Across the globe, the Governor of Jakarta is also focusing on electric transit bus deployment through an ambitious adoption goal: 10,000 new electric buses purchased by 2030, which would account for more than 80 percent of the fleet.
Increasing dedication to ZEV procurement has led to a greater number of ZEV manufacturers and larger orders. For a few examples from the past several weeks:

  • General Motors will develop commercial electric vans under the BrightDrop brand that will offer “an integrated ecosystem of electric products, software and services.” The initial rollout will be conducted in partnership with FedEx by the end of 2021.
  • BYD continued its commercial successes in Latin America by securing a new order of 406 electric buses for the Bogotá City Public Transport Authority. The new order follows December’s delivery of 470 electric buses to the Colombian capital.
  • Workhorse received an order to build 6,320 of its last-mile electric delivery vans, which represents a substantial increase from the 1,800 vans it had planned to build this year. The order comes from Pride Group Enterprises, a company that focuses on equipment sales, rental, and leasing for the logistics industry.
  • These companies and others are featured in an obligatory turning-the-calendar online list of exciting electric truck and van companies to watch in 2021 – nearly half of which are Drive to Zero pledge partners!

ZEVs should gain even more traction in marketplaces as battery production costs continue to fall. Cost data from the International Energy Agency indicates that the price of lithium-ion automotive battery packs was nearly halved between 2016 and 2019. As prices drop, investments in greater production capacity are ramping up. Leading Chinese manufacturer CATL alone isaiming to produce up to 230 gigawatt-hours of battery cells this year and up to 1,200 gigawatt-hours annually by 2025. Efforts to expand battery capacity are ongoing globally, such as in Norway, where manufacturer Morrow Batteries has chosen a site for its factory that will be capable of 32 gigawatt-hour annual production. How these batteries will be produced and disposed of is analyzed in a new report by the International Council on Clean Transportation.

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

  • How technology, recycling, and policy can mitigate supply risks to the long-term transition to zero-emission vehicles (LINK)
  • Making Sense of Heavy-Duty Hydrogen Fuel Cell Tractors (LINK)
  • A (U.S.) Regulatory Roadmap for Vehicle-Grid Integration (LINK)
  • Research Update on Health Benefits of TCI Policy Scenarios (LINK)
  • ZETA Releases 2030 Roadmap for Transportation Electrification (LINK)


  • BYD’s U.S. Million-Mile Zero Emissions Club (LINK)

 Fleet Deployments

  • Jakarta aims for 10,000 electric buses by 2030 (LINK)
  • IndianOil to test 15 hydrogen buses in Delhi (LINK)
  • BYD wins order for another 406 electric buses in Bogotá, Colombia (LINK)

Manufacturers and Models: Trucks and Buses

  • GM to build electric delivery vans under new BrightDrop brand (LINK)
  • Workhorse gets order for 6,320 electric delivery vans – it had planned to build 1,800 this year (LINK)
  • Keep your eyes on these 9 electric truck and van companies in 2021 (LINK)

Manufacturers and Models: Port Equipment and Off-Road

  • John Deere Joint Tests Its First Electric-Powered Backhoe with National Grid (LINK)

Financial Incentives

  • NY Governor Cuomo Announces Initiatives to Electrify Transit Buses, Boosting Access to Clean Transportation and Building Healthier Communities (LINK)
  • U.S. Congress Extends Tax Credits for Alternative Fuels (LINK)

Government Policies

  • The District of Columbia, three states sign agreement to curb transportation emissions (LINK)

Utility Policies

  • SoCalGas Looks to Expand Network of Hydrogen Fueling Stations (LINK)

Fuels & Infrastructure

  • Clean Energy, bp Developing RNG Facilities (LINK)
  • Siemens to equip Europe’s largest e-bus depot with charging (LINK)

 Batteries & Technology

  • ABB to use AFC Energy’s off-grid DC charging solution (LINK)
  • CATL aims for 230 GWh production in 2021 (LINK)
  • Morrow Batteries to build 32 GWh battery factory in Norway (LINK)
  • China: BYD to build 20 GWh battery plant in Bengbu (LINK)
  • EV Battery Packs About 50 Percent Cheaper Than In 2016 (LINK)