What’s the best way to reach the Inflection Point?
“To Meet ZEV Inflection Point, Infrastructure Investment Must Match Policy Goals”, writes Advanced Clean Tech News:
As governments worldwide turn to zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs) to decarbonize their economies, the concept of the inflection point — at which consumer demand overtakes public policy as the main driver of ZEV demand — has become a critical milestone. Momentum is growing in the U.S. for public policy that moves ZEV adoption toward the inflection point, including in the medium- and heavy-duty (MHD) vehicle sector.
This transition is supported by Partners for a Zero-Emission Vehicle Future (PZEVF). Formed by the four largest truck manufacturers in North America — Daimler, Navistar, Paccar, and Volvo Group — PZEVF is a growing coalition of stakeholders from across the transportation sector united by a commitment to support the adoption of MHD ZEVs and minimize transportation emissions. To achieve this, PZEVF advocates for policies that create the conducive environment needed for MHD ZEV adoption to reach the inflection point — one that is, ultimately, backed by an inherently more efficient nationwide approach.
Clean & Prosperous Washington, too, advocates for policies and incentives – that create an environment conducive to reaching the inflection point for MHD ZEV adoption. In fact, we’ve convened a MHD ZEV Working Group to recommend WA incentive programs that will accelerate the adoption of zero emission trucks and buses. Our working group includes vehicle OEMs, infrastructure companies, environmental NGOs, and public sector partners.
Advanced Clean Tech News continued:
The Trucks are Here…
Encouragingly, the breadth and availability of electric commercial vehicle options has grown significantly in recent years. From only a handful of options, there are now more than 100 different MHD ZEVs available made by more than 50 manufacturers, from school buses and delivery vans to drayage trucks, street sweepers, and refuse trucks.
…But the Infrastructure is Not
Yet despite the growing ZEV market and increased impetus toward ZEV adoption by state governments, challenges still remain. The most critical of these is getting the charging infrastructure in place to meet the ZEV transition ambitions.
Despite the challenges, there are steps that states can take now to create the conducive environment for ZEV adoption. To begin, they can take advantage of significant federal funding through the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.
In addition, the timelines for charging infrastructure deployment – from siting and trenching to final installation – must be shortened. As a result, states should expedite permitting for charging infrastructure. Even for light-duty vehicles, where the momentum for electrification is greater than MHD ZEVs, a myriad of zoning laws and permitting regulations means some municipalities are taking 12 months to approve the installation of a single DC fast charger. And while some cities and counties are now expediting the process for light-duty vehicles, it must be replicated for medium- and heavy-duty vehicles as well. If states want to meet their MHD ZEV adoption goals, red tape should not hold them back.
We can also catalyze the MHD ZEV switch by offering incentives to offset higher purchase prices. To begin, states could exempt commercial ZEVs from sales taxes, in addition to offering upfront rebates for purchases of electric trucks like those offered in California’s HVIP program. Utilities should also work with fleets to develop equitable time of use rates, make-ready programs, and evaluate load estimates for electric charging that will require grid improvements along freight corridors and at transportation hubs.
And while the full article is well worth your time to read, this is our favorite part:
Leading the Way: Washington State
One state that others can look at for guidance on policies to foster electrification, and advocacy that draws diverse stakeholders together for a common goal of ZEV deployment, is Washington State. Its recently-passed cap and trade program — which the state is terming as cap and invest — will generate significant funds that will then be used for vehicle electrification and charging infrastructure development. The state’s Department of Ecology anticipates the program, which will go live in February next year, will be the “cornerstone” of its policy efforts to reduce carbon emissions in communities statewide and build a transportation system that achieves the state’s zero-emission goals.
Helping to advocate for policies such as this is Clean and Prosperous Washington (CaPWA), a broad-based coalition of environmental groups, energy companies, local employers and equity advocates. CaPWA is working at the state level to accelerate the transition to a clean economy with prosperity for all.
Michael Mann, executive director of CaPWA, notes that “because transportation is Washington’s largest source of greenhouse gases, and medium- and heavy-duty vehicles account for a significant share of those GHGs, we see an opportunity to decarbonize freight and goods movement, and to improve air quality in overburdened communities with incentive programs to transition to zero emission technology.” He added, “As we advocate for medium and heavy-duty ZEV incentive programs in Washington, we’re pleased to have PZEVF as a key partner in this coalition. The collective expertise of the traditional truck OEMs will be valued by all.”
Momentum and demand for ZEV trucks in the U.S. is on the rise, but despite this progress there are still significant challenges to overcome before commercial ZEV growth reaches its inflection point. Every state has much to do if it hopes to have the charging infrastructure to match and maintain their medium- and heavy-duty ZEV goals. However, despite these obstacles, there is the political will to do it, and in the case of Washington state, the right suite of policies and partnerships are working diligently to make the commercial ZEV shift a lasting reality.
Join us Thursday, January 5, atop Seattle’s Columbia Tower for the Future of Carbon Policy Forum. We’ll hear from policy-makers leading the decisions to be made during the coming legislative session. It’s during the “long session” that begins January 9 in Olympia that Governor Inslee’s proposed biennial budget will be considered, and investments toward the MHD ZEV inflection point will be proposed.
Space is limited and we expect to sell out, so save your place today: