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Electric trucks are the ‘inevitable future,’ fleets say

By Jim Stinson, Utility Dive


Highlights

  • Many EV truck manufacturers have preorders to help replace traditional fleets. Nikola has 14,000 trucks on preorder, with the first delivery of battery-electric trucks to European fleets expected in 2021 
  • Though the price of oil has dropped significantly over the past few months, fleets are still committed to transitioning to battery-powered trucks to keep on track with company environmental goals:

“Our target customers are typically very large and often global enterprises, and they need our battery-electric vehicles (BEVs) and our fuel-cell electric vehicles (FCEVs) … in order to meet their announced strategic environmental, social and governance commitments,” -Nikola Motor president Mark Russell 

  • One example is Toyota, which has a plan to reduce its vehicle emissions by 90% by 2050
  • Battery costs have declined as much as 80% over the last decade and are expected to decline by an additional 50% over the next decade, making EVs cheaper than gas vehicles by 2030
  • Fleet management company Samsara released survey results of 300 fleet managers, with 90% agreeing that EVs are the future of commercial fleets
  • The survey also found 85% of electric truck owners said traditional vehicles cost more than electric trucks to maintain and half of fleet managers surveyed would use the cost savings to increase pay for their drivers

The Climate Center’s Climate-Safe California campaign calls for investments and bold policies to support clean mobility, including a phase-out of all gas-powered vehicles.


Read more: https://www.utilitydive.com/news/Electric-Class-8-trucks-CARB-2020-coronavirus/578211/?for-guid=63e868fa-1cf5-4fa7-b26b-b327793d1d86

Expansion of fossil-fuel vehicle phase-outs moves world one step closer to a climate-safe future 

By Buddy Burch, The Climate Center

In March 2020, we launched an update to the Survey of Global Activity to Phase Out Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) Vehicles. This survey, which details leadership and innovation in pursuit of electrifying the transportation sector for a climate-safe future, has been an ongoing effort at The Climate Center. We are thrilled at the readership and the response to the survey, and we will continue to ensure that the document serves as a resource for folks working towards zero-emission transportation. 

Below are  changes identified in this update. First, Egypt, Iceland, Slovenia, Sri Lanka, and Sweden have been added to the list of countries working to phase out ICE vehicles. The report now features major players from Europe, Asia, the Middle East and Northern Africa, and South America, making this a global effort. The “countries” section also features an ongoing discussion within the EU. Countries within this economic bloc are currently discussing whether or not to roll out a ban as a single actor, or if the decision will be made on a county-by-country basis. 

Cities are also expanding their efforts to phase out ICE vehicles. This update to the survey included the addition of Amsterdam, Berlin, Birmingham, Honolulu, Jakarta, Liverpool, Greater Manchester, Medellin, Rio de Janeiro, Rotterdam, Santiago, Santa Monica, Seoul, Warsaw, West Hollywood, Bogotá, Bristol, British Columbia, and New York City as cities taking actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from passenger vehicles. In the private sector, we also observed an exciting change in marketing strategies. Most notably, four auto manufacturers (Audi, General Motors, Porsche, and Ford) bought advertisements to showcase their electric cars during the past year’s Super Bowl. The event, which aired with 102.1 million viewers, is an example of a space that holds great potential for creating culture change around consumer preferences. 

The push to electrify transportation will continue as we work together toward net negative emissions by 2030 for a climate-safe future. We welcome your questions and updates as we strive to support speed and scale solutions with the best information available. Future updates to the “Survey on Global Activities to Phase out ICE Vehicles” will be shared at theclimatecenter.org

New study reveals electric cars really are greener than fossil fuel vehicles

By Adam Vaughan, New Scientist


Highlights

A new comprehensive study finds that electric cars are much more climate-friendly than their gas and diesel counterparts.

Florian Knobloch at Radboud University in the Netherlands and his colleagues looked at the average emissions across many classes of car and the projected carbon emissions generated on average over a car’s lifetime, including during its production, while it is being driven and when it is destroyed, for all the conventional and electric cars sold in 59 regions across the world in 2015. These represent 95 percent of the world’s current road traffic. Study findings:

  • Electric vehicles already have lower net carbon emissions in 53 of those 59 regions, making the case for phasing out fossil fuel-powered vehicles as soon as possible 
  • Only in heavily coal-dependent countries, such as India and Poland, are electric vehicle emissions worse than those of fossil fuel-powered cars
  • Many countries’ electricity supplies have become steadily cleaner in the past five years, making electric cars cleaner too, and this trend will continue as grids decarbonize further
  • The same is true for heat pumps, making the case for phasing out natural gas space and water heating

Click here for the Abstract from Nature.com.


The Climate Center’s Climate-Safe California campaign includes supporting clean mobility, including a phase-out of all gas-powered vehicles.


Read more: https://www.newscientist.com/article/2238118-electric-cars-really-are-a-greener-option-than-fossil-fuel-vehicles/

Of EVs and Redtails: a climate-friendly I-5 journey

By Ellie Cohen

As the great-horned owl hooted in the pre-dawn darkness, we packed up our fully charged 2019 Nissan Leaf SV Plus (180 freeway miles per charge) and began our journey south (395 miles south!). Feeling like pioneers of the past, Ann, Amanda and I were prepared.

The week before we’d downloaded the latest PlugShare app. Amanda mapped out where all the CHAdeMO fast chargers* were and calculated how far we could get on each leg to avoid range anxiety but still make it in a reasonable amount of time. We figured that a “normal” drive down to Los Angeles from the North Bay takes about six hours so driving an electric vehicle (EV) would take about nine.

We avoided the morning rush hour traffic by leaving early and reached I-5 as the sun was rising. It was a beautiful, cold January morning and we were hopeful. Before we knew it, we were at our first charging stop, in Santa Nella (124 miles from our start with 33% left on the battery). Using our PlugShare app, we confirmed that the charger had been used recently so, we assumed, it would be working today.

Alas, we pulled up to the Best Western Anderson (next door to the famous purveyor of pea soup and other fine highway foods), and found an ancient looking, and sadly, broken EVgo charger (photo- still believing it was functional!). After spending about 45 minutes trying to make it work (which included making several phone calls to the 800 number on the charger that only yielded endless busy signals, and after engaging with the hotel staff hoping they could make it work but to no avail), we decided to try another charger.

Guided by PlugShare, we simply crossed the freeway and as if entering a futuristic Emerald City, found a row of modern chargers at a Valero gas station (yes, the despised company from Texas that invested millions in California to undo our climate protection laws). There was a single Chargepoint CHAdeMo fast charger that we could use. Across the vast asphalt parking lot, were another 12 gleaming Tesla chargers, whose connectors were cleverly designed for just that, Teslas alone. If only….

Nonetheless, Ann whipped out her Chargepoint card, miraculously set up some time ago with her credit card as this was not something we had planned for. We giddily swiped the card, plugged in the charger, and the blue dashboard indicator lights lit up. It worked (photo- happy and self-assured)! We took a walk, grabbed some coffee, and had a delicious burrito breakfast at a taco truck when Ann was notified on her phone that the charge was complete. One hour and we were fully charged!

We were feeling very confident as we embarked on our next leg. Per our carefully laid out plan, we knew we’d have to charge once more before heading up the Grapevine then down into San Fernando Valley. Our destination was Studio City where we would be staying for five days in Los Angeles, visiting climate and community leaders for insights about our Climate-Safe California campaign for rapid decarbonization.

We were satiated and happy, planning out our upcoming meetings, sharing personal stories, counting an unbelievable 23 total Amazon Prime trucks that day (photo: doctored truck message**), and enjoying each other’s company.

We were not paying attention to our speed.

Now, if you’ve ever driven down I-5, you’d know that the speed limit is 70 but most travel at an average of over 80 miles per hour. The thing about electric cars is that once you start traveling over a certain speed, the remaining battery power can drop quickly and precipitously. At some point during our exuberant conversation, we glanced at our dashboard to check how much battery power we had left.

The mood turned serious. We were down to 36 miles with 34 miles to go. Uh oh…

The next closest CHAdeMO fast charger was 14 miles away but it was an EVGo at a hotel, with no recent users per PlugShare. It did not bode well based on our earlier experience. Sure enough, the outdated-looking charger was not functional. We called the 800 number again but to no avail.

Now we had to decide what to do. We could try for the next CHAdeMO charger but we’d have to drive under 55 miles per hour to hopefully make it or, we could use a trickle charge, regular outlet at the hotel. We decided we should try to add 5% to the battery and then we’d venture south. The front desk attendant was kind enough but at the deserted hotel, seemed a bit concerned about allowing us to plug in inside. We were fortunate to find an outdoor 3-pronged outlet. We plugged in. An hour later, we had only 1% more! We waited another 45 minutes, the percentage reading was the same but we decided to head south.

The next 60 minutes of driving were filled with range angst underlying quiet conversation. Miraculously, around five miles before Route 43 towards Taft (southwest of Bakersfield) where PlugShare indicated the next CHAdeMO charger was located, our remaining mileage started to go up in the car. Another fascinating aspect of EVs is that when you travel downhill or brake, the engine can regenerate energy into the battery! Phew…

There we found, across the lot from even more Tesla charging stations, eight Electrify America chargers (infrastructure owned by Volkswagon and apparently constructed as part of their Dieselgate settlement). Seven of the eight chargers were CCS, usable by many brands of EVs, but not the Nissan Leaf.

One charger was all we needed and there was one CHAdeMO. The sun was starting to set. It was hard to read the screen. Another uh oh…the screen was only showing computer code. It was getting cold. We called the 800 number. Miraculously, a lovely, live human being answered. We provided the serial number of that particular charger and after two lengthy reboots, the screen was up and the charger was humming. We were ecstatic!

Tired and relieved, we sat indoors at an adjacent food mart, charging our cell phones, snacking and listening to country music piped in from the local radio station. Suddenly, breaking through the din of the soft drink refrigerators, we heard someone speaking about climate change. It was a “Tom Steyer for President” ad. No escaping the campaign even here in the southern reaches of the Tulare Basin!

Since the battery was quite low at this point (~ 7% charge remaining), it took another 1.5 hours even with the fast charger to become almost full. The last hundred miles were thankfully uneventful as we cautiously climbed the Grapevine, drove over Tejon Pass (4,160’ elevation) and cruised down into Los Angeles County, completing our more than 12 hour journey with a delicious hot meal in Studio City.

Our days in LA were filled meeting with a dozen inspiring and accomplished civic leaders (photo- after visiting partners at the LA Cleantech Incubator).

On the last night, we planned our drive home.

In just over nine hours, we were back in the North Bay, this time having counted many fewer Amazon Prime trucks, but an impressive 24 Red-tailed Hawks along I-5 (maybe due to the winter storm that had blown through the night before). We had already begun planning our next trip—likely driving a Tesla or maybe even a Bolt instead—and planning out part of our campaign, to expand clean energy EV infrastructure for all!

*There are 3 major types of EV fast chargers: Tesla, CCS and CHAdeMO. CCS is the most common in Europe for a wide range of makes. CHAdeMO is most common in Japan. Read more here.

**Consumption-based emissions, the full life-cycle emissions embedded in goods, foods, travel and services from out-of-boundary locations- are most often not counted in greenhouse gas emissions inventories. In Marin County alone, these are estimated to account for 3x more emissions than tracked emissions. Learn more here and here.