- New York City, Paris, Los Angeles and Pittsburgh are among the many international cities backing the Zero Emissions Vehicle (ZEV) Challenge, which calls on automakers to speed up the transition to electric vehicles (EVs) and for businesses to commit to purchasing more EVs. The initiative from The Climate Group and C40 Cities seeks to build more purchasing and lobbying power around electric cars.
- The challenge asks automakers to pledge setting a phase-out date for combustion engine vehicles and to promise a certain percentage of sales will be electric by 2025. Businesses, meanwhile, are asked to pledge to the Climate Group’s EV100 commitment, which aspires for companies’ fleets to be electrified by 2030.
- "It is time to talk about the endgame for the combustion engine and speed up the move from vehicles whose emissions pose health risks and a growing contribution to climate change," said Helen Clarkson, CEO of The Climate Group. "We want automotive companies to do more to help us get there."
The alliance of city and state governments — which also includes the State of California and the cities of London, Milan, Rome, Copenhagen, Mexico City, Medellin and two regions of Australia — represents another sub-national effort on climate change. With the Trump administration's decision to pull the U.S. out of the Paris climate agreement, cities and states have emerged as leaders on the issue, forming alliances to pledge emissions cuts and purchase renewable energy.
California has been a leader on clean vehicles; Gov. Jerry Brown set a goal this year of deploying five million EVs in the state by 2030 and is suing the Trump administration over rollbacks to national fuel economy standards. The state also has the authority to set higher fuel economy goals than the federal government, and more than a dozen states have committed to aligned standards, the kind of collective power that could push the auto industry even in the absence of federal rules.
Northeast states have partnered with automakers for an advertising campaign to promote electric vehicles, and 30 cities also asked automakers last year about the viability of purchasing $10 billion in electric cars and trucks. Similarly, 12 large cities last year signed a pledge to clean up public transit by purchasing zero-emission buses and setting off one area of the city as zero emission by 2030. Even without a commitment to purchase electric cars, collective lobbying efforts can work to compel the auto industry that there will be a market, as well as spur government action to create incentives for consumers and businesses.