Drive to Zero Newsletter – May 2023

Our monthly newsletter keeps you informed of the innovative new policies, technologies, tools, and actions accelerating our progress toward zero-emission transport. Zero-emission trucks and buses are delivering a healthier climate and cleaner air, as well as business, operational, and economic benefits—let’s drive to zero faster together!

Dear Drive to Zero™ Pledge Partners and Allies:

Many public and private sector leaders working collaboratively to decarbonize transportation met on May 22-23 in Berlin to workshop solutions for overcoming barriers to zero-emission transport. All attendees were signatories or endorsers of the Global Memorandum of Understanding on Zero-Emission Medium- and Heavy-Duty Vehicles (Global MOU). Co-led by the Netherlands and CALSTART’s Drive to Zero, the nonbinding Global MOU sets goals of at least 30 percent new zero-emission medium- and heavy-duty vehicle (ZE-MHDV) sales by 2030 and 100 percent new ZE-MHDV sales by 2040 at the latest. Currently, 27 countries including the United States, United Kingdom, and 11 European Member States including Norway, Finland, Netherlands, Portugal, Austria, and others have signed the agreement.

Signatories and endorsers at the first Global MOU in-person meeting in Berlin

Recognizing the importance of setting actionable short-term goals, identifying ambitious long-term emissions reduction targets, and working collaboratively with the public and private sector to advance zero-emission transport, everyone who met in Berlin shared tools, discussed ideas, bolstered our resolve to exceed our 2030 goals, and strategized. We are working now to make COP28 the venue for a much-needed global paradigm shift in the transport sector.

If countries can unite around the common cause of zero-emission transport, we can demonstrate to the world that addressing climate change is our collective moral responsibility. The transport sector is ready and able to answer a call to raise our ambitions.

— Stephanie Kodish, Global Director, CALSTART / Drive to Zero

Staff Announcement

New Project Manager EU – Drive to Zero

Rowana Legito headshotCALSTART made its third international hire, bringing aboard Rowana Legito to serve as Drive to Zero’s Project Manager for the European Union. Based in Amsterdam, Rowana previously worked as a zero-emission consultant at EVConsult, handling various types of electric transport and charging infrastructure projects with the government of the Netherlands, provinces, municipalities, and corporate entities. Prior to EVConsult, Rowana worked in the boating industry as an account manager and later project manager for an e-commerce firm.

Legito earned a master’s degree in political science/international political economy from the University of Amsterdam and a bachelor’s degree in international relations and international organization from the University of Groningen. An avid salsa dancer and home cook, Rowana stated that as a grade schooler she already wanted “to make the world a better place.” Welcome, Rowana! We know you will make an extraordinary addition to the Drive to Zero team.

News Updates

New large orders placed for zero-emission buses and trucks demonstrate that strong zero-emission truck and bus sales goals—like those set under the Global MOU—are achievable, not just aspirational. Earlier this month, Volvo Group’s Nova Bus won a bid to make 1,229 battery-electric buses for public transit authorities in Quebec, the largest single order of battery-electric buses ever in North America. This customer interest was clearly felt companywide, as Volvo released its numbers stating that its electric truck orders are up 141 percent versus the same period a year ago. Another major sale was made by China’s SAIC, which will soon deliver 703 Maxus battery-electric transporters to the Austrian Post. Additionally, Škoda Group won a bid to produce 91 electric trolleybuses for a transport operator in Lithuania, and Sweden’s Einride ordered 50 all-electric DAF trucks.

To help power all these zero-emission vehicles, major investments are being made in charging infrastructure. WattEV debuted its 26-truck charging plaza at the Port of Long Beach in California, and Sysco introduced its plan for its major Electric Vehicle Hub to be built in Riverside, CA. Global MOU endorser Scania just undertook its first test of ABB E-mobility megawatt charging system, which enables heavy-duty vehicles to be charged in half the time. Ambitiously, Sweden announced plans to open more than 1,800 miles of the world’s first permanently electric road that charges EVs while they drive on it.

Other innovations surrounding ZE-MHDVs were announced, including Mercedes-Benz’s plan to build all future commercial and private midsize and large vans on modular battery-electric architecture called VAN.EA. Scania unveiled Scania Charging Access, a no-hassle, streamlined public charging service for electric trucks and buses. Rev Group’s Collins Bus announced that it was taking orders for the first Type A School Bus on an electric powertrainmade from a full-line automaker. In Britain, grocery giant Sainsbury’s launched its Innovation Investments program and announced that its London superstore will now deliver using a fully battery-electric van fleet.

Hydrogen continued to progress as an option for zero-emission power, with Nikola stating that it will be shifting its production focus to fuel cell electric trucks. Dutch VDL Groep announced a partnership with Toyota to make hydrogen-powered trucks in Europe, and Isuzu will be collaborating with Honda to produce a hydrogen fuel cell truck to be released in 2027. Promisingly, Quantron unveiled a fuel cell truck that it claims has a range of up to 850 miles.

Federal and state governments have also been throwing their weight behind the zero-emission transition, with the Biden-Harris Administration announcingplans to invest $4 billion in clean ports. The California Air Resources Board recently voted to ban the sale of new trucks with combustion engines in the state by 2036. France took a large step to boost the production of EVs in Europe by deciding to only subsidize the purchase of electric cars made within the continent. Finally, Scotland just kicked off the second phase of its Zero Emission Bus Challenge Fund (ScotZEB), which will make up to £58 million available for purchases of zero-emission buses and related infrastructure.

Please share new information, potential partners, and innovative practices to achieve our Drive to Zero goals at Follow us on Twitter @TeamDrivetoZero. Please feel free to share this newsletter with others.

– Justin Slosky, Technical Writer, CALSTART

News Digest

 Fleet Deployments

Manufacturers and Models: Trucks and Buses

Government Policies

Financial Incentives

Fuels & Infrastructure

Batteries & Technology