LOS ANGELES – Businesses, cities and the state of California are using their collective power to push automakers toward an electric future.
This week, the Climate Group, an international organization dedicated to fighting global climate change, launched the “Zero Emission Vehicle Challenge” in cities around the world, including Los Angeles, London, New York and Paris.
Lauren Faber O’Connor, chief sustainability officer for Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, says her city is well on its way to electrifying its vehicle fleet. She says cities will be better poised to influence the auto industry if they join forces.
“If you have cities acting together, you can make a real impact on the market and tell automakers that if they provide these vehicles, we will buy them,” says Faber O’Connor.
Faber O’Connor notes that Los Angeles already has met its goal of electrifying at least half the city’s vehicles. The city also plans to have an all-electric bus fleet by 2030.
The ZEV Challenge is calling on automakers to commit a large percentage of their sales to be zero-emission vehicles by 2025. The state of California has joined the challenge, along with major businesses around the world.
Mary Nichols, who chairs the California Air Resources Board, says a comprehensive effort is under way to move the market toward electric vehicles.
She says the state’s public utilities commission recently approved more than $700 dollars in public charging infrastructure for electric vehicles in pursuit of California’s ambitious plans for the future.
“We believe that by 2050, every new car sold in California needs to be electric,” says Nichols. “And to get to that point, we obviously have to scale up rapidly from where we are now.”
Opponents of this goal say the higher cost of electric cars is a barrier that could end up hurting families and businesses’ budgets.
Faber O’Connor says Los Angeles has the largest electric-vehicle charging network in the country, with more than 1,500 chargers spread throughout the city. She says curbing the effects of climate change underpins all of this.
“We’re a car culture, but we’ve always been ahead of the curve when it comes to adopting new transportation technologies and new transportation strategies,” says Faber O’Connor. “This is no different. We are throwing ourselves full on into zero-emissions transition because of our responsibility to lead on climate change.”