Two powerful corporate networks that represent more than 80 companies with a combined $1.3 trillion in annual revenue have today written to the Environmental Protection Agency and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The pair of letters calls for interim strong fuel economy and emission standards and 100% zero-emission vehicle (ZEV) sales of light-duty vehicles by 2035 at the latest.

Zero-emission vehicles by 2035

The Corporate Electric Vehicle Alliance (CEVA) is a group of around 24 companies that want to accelerate the transition to electric vehicles. The Business for Innovative Climate and Energy Policy (BICEP) is made up of more than 65 companies, including dozens of leading consumer brands and Fortune 500s, that advocate for strong climate, clean energy, and water policies at the state and federal levels. Both are led by Boston-based sustainability nonprofit group Ceres.

As Electrek noted in January when the Corporate Electric Vehicle Alliance was launched, its remit is to leverage collective corporate demand to:

  • Produce new and increased volumes of EV models
  • Achieve EV market growth and economies of scale
  • Adopt supportive policies and remove policy barriers
  • Encourage peer-to-peer learning with regard to industry best practices

CEVA’s signatories include Amazon, DHL, IKEA, Lyft, the National Grid, Siemens, and Uber. BICEP’s signatories include Danone North America, General Mills, McDonald’s, Salesforce, and Unilever.

Both groups praised the Biden administration’s commitment to revisit vehicle standard rollbacks in a call for strong standards that will benefit both businesses and consumers. A rapid transition to clean vehicles will reduce fuel costs while enhancing the global competitiveness of the US auto industry, the groups wrote. 

The CEVA letter stated in its opening paragraph:

As companies that represent over $1 trillion in annual revenue and collectively own, lease, or operate nearly 1 million fleet or networked vehicles in the United States, we are writing to express our support for strong light duty vehicle standards. We share a common goal of electrifying our fleets and networks, as well as reducing our transportation carbon footprint, but recognize that strong policies will be necessary to effectuate this critical transition throughout the sector.

And in its concluding paragraph:

We urge you to adopt standards that are aligned with climate science; consistent with a pathway to 100% ZEV sales of light duty vehicles by 2035, while ensuring requisite emission reductions and corresponding improvements in vehicle fuel economy in the interim.

Greg Hewitt, CEO of DHL Express USA, said:

Increased investment in clean and electric vehicles will accelerate their production and integration into transport networks around the world.

We are committed to achieving net zero emissions from transport activities by 2050 globally with an ambitious interim target of having at least 80,000 electric vehicles in our last-mile delivery fleet by 2030. A strong policy framework that supports electric vehicle deployment in an important market like the United States will play a critical role in our ability to reach those targets.

Electrek’s Take

Symbolically, this is a very powerful message of support from the private sector to the Biden administration. When we ran the story about the launch of CEVA on January 23, one of our readers, “Oliver,” commented:

This is better than nothing but real change is only possible from government legislation. The climate crisis will require WW2 levels of re-allocation of capital and resources that is only possible when the government mandates it.

Spot on, Oliver, although I’d include an approach resembling Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s Works Progress Administration. The Biden administration has debuted its huge infrastructure plan, and now powerful corporations are throwing their considerable weight behind it. Two huge hurdles to go: The plan must be passed in Congress despite Republican opposition, and corporations need to implement what they’re calling for. If the two work together, there’s a greater chance of success.

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