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EGEB: Global megacities call for a ‘green recovery’ for public transport

In today’s Electrek Green Energy Brief (EGEB):

  • C40 mayors, transport workers, and unions call for stimulus funding for public transport.
  • The EDF releases two sets of policy recommendations on heavy-duty truck electrification and infrastructure.
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‘The Future of Public Transport’

New research published by C40 Cities, “a network of the world’s megacities [metropolitan areas with a population of more than 10 million people] committed to addressing climate change,” titled “The Future of Public Transport,” reports that green investment in global public transport systems will not only safeguard existing jobs, but will also create millions of sustainable jobs and cut emissions from the transport sector in cities by more than 50% in the next decade.

The pandemic hit public transport hard due to the need for social distancing. So it makes sense that globally, C40 mayors (that’s nearly 100 international mayors); the International Transport Workers’ Federation, which represents 20 million transport workers; and numerous unions and environmental groups are demanding that governments provide stimulus funding for public transport and infrastructure in order to address the climate crisis, drive economic stimulus, and create millions of jobs.

Page 27 of the report states about electrification [Electrek editor’s note: We would have liked to have seen it featured more prominently in the report]:

The electrification of public transport is also happening at a significantly faster pace than the electrification of private vehicles in cities. Whilst the sales of electric cars are rapidly growing,
electric cars made up just 2.6% of sales in 2019 and 1% of global car stock.

Virtually all city light rail and metro systems now operate using electricity and great strides are being made in bus electrification.

At least eight C40 cities are currently procuring only electric buses and at least 29 have set ambitious targets for all new buses to be electric from 2025.

This matches the most ambitious national commitments for the phasing out of new fossil fuel cars, and is well in advance of the ambitious 2030 date set by an increasing number of countries. As the pace of bus electrification continues at a higher rate than private vehicle electrification, the resulting climate benefits of public transport over private vehicles will continue to increase.

In the conclusion, the report states:

Specifically, financial support should be conditioned on compliance with science-based targets for emission reductions and transition plans aligned with the Paris Agreement.

C40 chair and Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti said:

This report solidifies what mayors already know: Any recovery from COVID-19 must be green, just, fair, and driven by investments in public transportation that will help create jobs, reduce emissions, and lift up our most vulnerable residents.

And in a just-released American Jobs Plan from the Biden administration, it states about public transit:

President Biden is calling on Congress to invest $85 billion to modernize existing transit and help agencies expand their systems to meet rider demand.

President Biden is calling on Congress to invest $80 billion to address Amtrak’s repair backlog; modernize the high traffic Northeast Corridor; improve existing corridors and connect new city pairs; and enhance grant and loan programs that support passenger and freight rail safety, efficiency, and electrification.

How heavy-duty trucking can go electric

The Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) has just released a set of US policy recommendations – “Charging Forward” and “Heavy-Duty Fleet Electrification” – that provide insight into the linchpin of truck electrification: charging infrastructure.

Recommendations based on Gladstein, Neandross & Associates’ research for EDF found that electrifying heavy-duty trucks is achievable with existing technology if two key strategies are implemented:

  • Fleets adopt managed and/or smart charging strategies.
  • Fleet companies deploy onsite clean distributed energy resources, such as solar and storage.

Managed charging allows fleets to use real-time data like grid load and electricity cost to determine optimum charging schedules and will be a critical strategy to reduce the cost of transitioning to electric fleets. 

The study analyzed one year of real-world trip data from 50 Class 8 NFI trucks and 42 Class 8 Schneider trucks, both operating in California, to evaluate the trip capabilities of electric trucks, the requirements and costs of charging systems, and the impact of managed charging and onsite distributed energy resources.

The reports also outline cost estimates for upfront infrastructure costs required for electrification and annual fuel savings estimates by electrification for NFI and Schneider.

Pamela MacDougall, senior manager, grid modernization at EDF, told Electrek:

It’s clear that vehicle grid integration together with onsite distributed energy resources (DERs) are key to getting the economics right for heavy-duty truck charging and ensuring long-term grid stability.

In the short term, additional support for infrastructure is necessary to ensure these fleets are able to meet their transition targets without being overly burdened with high charging infrastructure costs.

You can read MacDougall’s blog about the reports here.

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Avatar for Michelle Lewis Michelle Lewis

Michelle Lewis is a writer and editor on Electrek and an editor on DroneDJ, 9to5Mac, and 9to5Google. She lives in White River Junction, Vermont. She has previously worked for Fast Company, the Guardian, News Deeply, Time, and others. Message Michelle on Twitter or at Check out her personal blog.