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

Freight Waves: Canada signs pledge for zero-emissions commercial vehicles

Nate Tabak, Canada Correspondent  June 6, 2019

Canada became the first country to join an international initiative that seeks to have most new commercial vehicles be zero-emissions by 2040.

The Drive to Zero Pledge, signed by the federal government of Justin Trudeau, is non-binding. But it is consistent with the government’s policies, including carbon taxes and incentives for green investments.

“In Canada, transportation is the second largest source of emissions. As we move to a cleaner economy, we know we need to do something about that,” the Minister of the Environment Catherine McKenna tweeted on June 1. British Columbia also signed the initiative.

Read more here.

Canada’s National Observer: Canada becomes first country to sign pledge for zero emission commercial vehicles

 May 29th 2019

Canada has become the first country to sign on to the Drive to Zero Pledge, an international initiative aimed at increasing the number of zero and low emission vehicles in the medium- and heavy-duty transportation sector.

By signing the pledge, Canada is joining other partners, including municipal governments, in committing to eliminate barriers and implement mechanisms that accelerate the viability and growth of zero emission technology for these commercial vehicles.

Read more here.

Vancouver Workshop Highlights

Photo highlights from the May 28th Drive to Zero Workshop in Vancouver

Check out the BYD – it has a 200km (124.3 mile) range and can be charged in three-and-one-half to four hours.

Global and Canadian leaders in goods movement, services and public transport explain what is needed to speed fleet transition. Featured experts include Claude Nahon, Sustainable Development Director, Electricitéde France (EDF); Russell Davies, Manager of Transit Fleet, City of Calgary; Julie Johnson, Manager, National Business Development, Ryder Systems.

The zero-emission, battery-electric New Flyer Xcelsior CHARGE™ has up to 309km (192 miles) range, and also features SmartRider™ intelligent leveling technology, allowing the bus to “kneel” to any curb height and making it fully accessible to all passengers.

Frank Rieck, Applied Research Professor, Smart e-Mobility, Automotive Center of Expertise

First-mover truck and bus makers and their supply partners will unveil the roll out of low carbon, clean trucks and buses, and what is needed to make it happen faster. Featured experts are Randy MacEwen, President & CEO, Ballard Power Systems; Stella Li, President, BYD Motors, Inc.; David Warren, Director of Sustainable Technology, New Flyer; and Manfred Schmidt, Senior Director Global Business Development Electric Commercial Vehicles, Siemens AG.

Leading urban centers describe their actions to drive early change and the results to date. Featured experts are Amy Sidwell, Manager of Equipment Services, City of Vancouver; Don Iveson, Mayor, City of Edmonton; and Kees Slingerland, Director, Automotive Center of Expertise, The Netherlands.

Leading regions of the world describe their actions to drive early change and results to date. Featured experts are Amol Phadke, Lead, India Research Program, Lawrence Berkeley National Lab; Mark Zacharias, Deputy Minister, British Columbia, Ministry of Environment and Climate Change; Sonja Munnix, Senior Advisor, Netherlands Enterprise Agency; and David Hochschild, Chair, California Energy Commission.

Minister Amarjeet Sohi delivers remarks at the Drive to Zero workshop in Vancouver at CEM10/MI-4.

Minister Catherine McKenna announces Canada’s support for Drive to Zero.

Representatives from Canada, British Columbia and Vancouver endorse the Drive to Zero program at CEM10/MI-4.

Government of Canada Endorses CALSTART’s Global Commercial Vehicle Drive to Zero Program

Canada is joined by Province of British Columbia, City of Vancouver, City of Helmond, California Energy Commission, Chile Sustainable Energy Agency and BAE Systems as Latest Pledge Partners of Drive to Zero

CALSTART’s Global Commercial Vehicle Drive to Zero welcomes first nation member at CEM10/MI-4

VANCOUVER, Canada – As part of its growing momentum CALSTART’s Global Commercial Vehicle Drive to Zero (Drive to Zero) today was officially endorsed by the Government of Canada, becoming the first nation to do so. Canada was joined by several new pledge partners including the Province of British Columbia, the City of Vancouver, the City of Helmond, the California Energy Commission, the Chile Sustainable Energy Agency and BAE Systems.

The new partners were announced today at Drive to Zero’s workshop at the Tenth Clean Energy Ministerial and Fourth Mission Innovation Ministerial (CEM10/MI-4) in Vancouver, which was co-hosted by Clean Energy Canada and the City of Vancouver. Canada’s Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Catherine McKenna, announced Canada’s decision to endorse Drive to Zero this afternoon as part of a suite of policy announcements at the workshop.

“I am so pleased to announce Canada is joining the Drive to Zero pledge,” Minister McKenna just announced. Minister Amarjeet Sohi, Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources and the host nation minister for CEM 10 commented on the importance of the step.

“Reducing pollution and improving the competitiveness of the transportation sector, including commercial vehicles, is a priority for the Government of Canada. We are proud to endorse the Global Commercial Drive to Zero pledge, bringing us one step closer to a clean energy future,” said Minister Sohi.

“The Drive to Zero Pledge is in line with our efforts and commitment to support the transition to cleaner renewable fuels and low-emission vehicles. Vancouver is proud to continue our efforts in advancing policies that are already supportive and encourage near zero emissions with the opportunity to collaborate with others across industry and government,” said Vancouver Mayor Kennedy Stewart.

Drive to Zero is a strategic international initiative designed to catalyze the growth of the zero-emission (ZE) and near-zero-emission (NZ) medium- and heavy-duty vehicle sector (MHDV), which includes everything from transit buses to eighteen wheelers to box trucks to school buses. Pledge partners promise to collaboratively put in place supporting mechanisms to speed the early market for these vehicles and equipment. Read the full Drive to Zero pledge here.

Canada is the first national and British Columbia is the first provincial level government to sign the Drive to Zero pledge since its inception in September 2018. Vancouver has actively engaged to support Drive to Zero’s mission, goals and the Vancouver workshop, while fostering valuable connections between Drive to Zero and key allies in Canada.

“Canada is well-positioned to be among the leaders transitioning to zero-emission commercial fleets, delivering both environmental and economic benefits. We’re a big country and we move a lot of freight by truck. We’re also a heavily urban country, and as cities grow, more is being invested in public transit. Shifting to zero-emission trucks and buses, many of which are made right here in Canada, will cut both carbon pollution and fuel costs. It’s a win-win,” said Merran Smith, Executive Director of Clean Energy Canada.

The California Energy Commission solidifies the State of California’s support for Drive to Zero as the body joins several other Golden State partners in taking the pledge including the California Air Resources Board.

“We are truly honored that these global transportation innovators recognize the value of tackling this critical sector collaboratively and strategically with the support of the Drive to Zero program,” said John Boesel CEO and President of CALSTART. CALSTART is a US nonprofit consortium that partners with 210+ member company and agency innovators to build a prosperous, efficient and clean high-tech transportation industry. Drive to Zero is a program of CALSTART.

Drive to Zero unites key regions of change, along with leading manufacturers and fleet users, to collaboratively speed adoption through requirements, policies, incentives, investments and infrastructure that support early market success.

Drive to Zero’s goal is to drive market viability for the clean MHDV sector in key urban communities by 2025 and achieve full market penetration by 2040.

It is built upon a technology strategy, called the beachhead strategy, that identifies the commercial vehicle market segments where zero- and near-zero technology is likely to succeed first. Those early successes drive pathways into new segments where the technology can flourish next.

Our strategy from the research is clear: target the right vehicles for first market success, in the right order for sustainable industry growth, in the right regions embracing and supporting change,” said Bill Van Amburg, Executive Vice President of CALSTART and head of the Drive to Zero Program. “Increasingly this strategy is making sense to government and industry partners world-wide searching for smart, coordinated ways to work together and drive change. We are honored by Canada’s strong support and how this helps us take Drive to Zero to the next level.”

“The growing availability of clean fuels and clean vehicles in key transportation markets has provided the critical real-world deployment experience to enable greater market share,” said Karen Hamberg, Vice President, Sustainability and External Affairs at   Westport Fuel Systems and Chair of CALSTART’s Board of Directors. “But we must go faster! We must enact the next regulatory frameworks, policies, partnerships and strategies to accelerate and expand commercialization and bring more of these technologies to scale. That’s what Drive to Zero is all about.”

Drive to Zero is developing tools, identifying best practices, eliminating barriers, and coordinating among stakeholders to ensure success of beachhead markets. Today CALSTART is offering a first look at the beta version of one such toolkit to Vancouver attendees. The toolkit, contains a Policy and Action Guide, a Vehicle Availability Tool and Total Cost of Ownership Calculator. Visit the new Drive to Zero website to access the Policy and Action Guide today and the Vehicle Availability Tool and Total Cost of Ownership Calculator in the coming weeks.

To date Drive to Zero is working collaboratively with C40, EV100, the Transport Decarbonisation Alliance, Clean Energy Canada and partners in the Netherlands, China, India and Canada as well as the 50 industry and international leaders who have already taken the Drive to Zero pledge.

Over the next five years, Drive to Zero and its participants will focus on 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 take the pledge, visit our website.

CALSTART | Changing transportation for good

A national nonprofit consortium with offices in New York, Michigan, Colorado and California, CALSTART partners with 210+ member company and agency innovators to build a prosperous, efficient and clean high-tech transportation industry. We knock out barriers to modernization and the adoption of clean vehicles. CALSTART is changing transportation for good.

Visit us at


Join Us May 28 – Vancouver BC

Registration Deadline May 13

Government leaders from across the globe will attend CALSTART’s Commercial Drive to Zero Workshop on May 28th – a partner event to the Clean Energy Ministerial 10. The Workshop includes opportunities to accelerate the commercial viability of zero emission trucks and buses worldwide by 2025.

Prospective attendees are encouraged to sign up now as no registrations will be accepted after May 13 due to attendee background checks required by the Canadian Government. Registration closes at 5:00 p.m. Pacific Time on Monday, May 13. There is no onsite registration option.

Register Today!

First Look: Drive to Zero Toolkit

CALSTART will unveil a first of its kind Drive to Zero Toolkit at the Vancouver Commercial Vehicle Drive to Zero Workshop. The online resource for medium- and heavy-duty fleet operators includes critical tools for fleet owners and policy makers – but you must attend the Workshop to get a first look.

The Drive to Zero Toolkit contains:

  • A Policy Guide that includes global policies and action items for fleets and governments to accelerate the purchase and sale of near- and zero-emission vehicles medium- and heavy-duty vehicles.
  • A Vehicle Availability Guide for fleet owners to track in real time where and when vehicles will be available as well as delivery dates and manufacturer information.
  • A Total Cost of Ownership Guide that allows fleet owners and operators to explore the costs associated with various vehicles, so they may pinpoint the best vehicles for the job.

Thank you to our Canadian partner hosts:

Come to the workshop, explore the strategy, talk with world leaders and be a part of the change.


Global Leaders Take “Drive to Zero” Pledge to Fast-track Adoption of Clean Trucks and Buses

“Drive to Zero” Program Will Accelerate Advanced Technologies and Slash Emissions from Target Market Segments

San Francisco, CA – Today, governments and companies from around the globe signed on to a new program that will accelerate the deployment of zero and near-zero emission commercial vehicles and technologies. The “Global Commercial Vehicle Drive to Zero” pledge is a coordinated, international effort – championed by CALSTART, a non-profit industry organization with more than 190-member companies – aimed at dramatically reducing emissions from trucks and buses in high-potential markets.

“By showing the demand for these vehicles, and focusing on the most viable markets, we can accelerate their adoption, improve air quality and reduce emissions,” said president and CEO of CALSTART, John Boesel. “Once we achieve commercial viability in these areas, we can work to reach economies of scale, bring costs down and increase adoption throughout the entire medium- and heavy-duty vehicle industry.”

The Pledge focuses on eight global market segments for medium- and heavy-duty vehicles. The goals are to achieve commercial success in each of these markets internationally by 2025, and have zero emission technology dominate new sales in these segments by 2040.

“By working across national and state boundaries, through this new focused effort, we can accelerate progress and help bring these important clean technologies to market years earlier. We are very supportive of this program and look forward to collaborating with our partners to achieve our clean air and climate goals,” said Richard W. Corey, executive officer, California Air Resources Board.

The transition would have significant benefits not only in terms of preventing the worst impacts of climate change, but also improving air quality and promoting public health in targeted countries, such as China, India and Mexico, where commercial vehicles represent a larger percentage of the total vehicle population and air pollution problem.

“Our climate ambition is to reduce emissions with 95 percent by 2030. The importance of setting ambitious visions should not be underestimated,” said the governing mayor of Oslo, Norway, Raymond Johansen. “This is why I believe the work of CALSTART, and the Commercial Vehicle Drive to Zero Pledge launched today will be a game-changer. By working globally to achieve zero emission dominance in commercial vehicle sales we can achieve what would not be possible by working in isolation. I am pleased to announce that Oslo joins that pledge.”

Based on analytical work performed by CALSTART – the executive secretariat of the Pledge, the California Air Resources Board has adopted this targeted application approach, known as the “beachhead” strategy, to advance these technologies in California. The Pledge applies this strategy on a global scale, targeting transit buses, shuttle buses, package and delivery trucks, urban “box” trucks, yard tractors, port handling equipment and regional Class 7/8 drayage (cargo) trucks.

“NYC has the largest municipal fleet in the United States with over 31,000 vehicles and 60 percent already operate on some type of alternative fuel including hybrids, plug in electric, natural gas, biofuels and even solar,” states New York City Department of Citywide Administrative Services (DCAS) Deputy Commissioner and NYC Chief Fleet Officer Keith Kerman.  “NYC operates over 1,700 plug in on road vehicles now and is looking forward to expanding hybrid and electric operations in heavy and medium duty trucking. NYC stands ready to work with public and private fleet partners to advance and expedite this transformation and thanks CALSTART for convening this effort.”

The new program will support the advancement of the beachhead markets by identifying barriers, sharing solutions and best practices and conducting analysis. Among the global beachhead markets targeted by the Pledge, transit buses are growing the fastest. There are more than 100,000 zero-emission transit buses now in operation around the world.

The Pledge was announced today at an affiliated event in advance of the Global Climate Action Summit in San Francisco, where supporters include Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, the California Air Resources Board, the Bay Area and South Coast Air Quality Management Districts, Siemens, Southern California Edison, BYD, Proterra and New Flyer.

Signers and Supporters of the Pledge


  • City of New York
  • New York State Energy Research & Development Authority
  • California Air Resources Board
  • South Coast Air Quality Management District
  • Bay Area Air Quality Management District
  • Los Angeles Department of Transportation
  • Foothill Transit

Elected Officials

  • Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti.
  • Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg
  • Stockton Mayor Michael D. Tubbs
  • Oslo Governing Mayor Raymond Johansen


  • Siemens
  • BYD
  • Mitsubishi Fuso Trucks
  • New Flyer of America
  • Proterra
  • Southern California Edison
  • Ballard Power Systems
  • Ryder
  • Chanje Energy
  • AxleTech
  • Effenco
  • Workhorse
  • Orange EV
  • Mayor USA
  • Motiv Power Systems
  • Transpower
  • US Hybrid
  • Lightning Systems
  • Auto Research Institute
  • Viatec
  • XL
  • West Valley Construction
  • Zenith Motors
  • Unique Electrical Solutions
  • Black & Veatch