London, New York and Paris to spearhead new electric vehicle accelerator

The Climate Group and C40 Cities have launched a new initiative to “massively accelerate” the adoption of electric vehicles (EV), with cities including London, New York and Paris all agreeing to support the new programme.

The Zero Emission Vehicle Challenge, launched on Tuesday (July 10), will see states, regions, cities and international businesses use their purchasing power and policy influence to accelerate the uptake of fully-electric vehicles, encouraging other leaders in key groups to step up efforts in decarbonising the road transport sector.

Supporters of the initiative, which include Unilever and EDF Energy, are urging top carmakers to accelerate the manufacture of EVs, expand their EV portfolios and provide greater funding for battery research to achieve cost reductions for all parties.

Specifically, members of the Challenge will ask carmakers to work towards a phase-out date for combustion engine vehicles and to commit to selling a minimum number of zero-emission vehicles by 2025.

“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,” The Climate Group’s chief executive, Helen Clarkson, said at the launch of the initiative.

“We are calling on more global cities, states and businesses with the biggest fleets of cars and trucks to join this effort to put tens of millions of zero-emission vehicles on the roads and highways of every nation.”

As well as mobilising carmakers, members of the initiative, including the cities of Los Angeles and Rome, are calling for more businesses to join those already committed to integrating EVs into fleets through The Climate Group’s EV100 initiative.

Corporations to have signed up to the EV100 so far include Ikea, HP, Heathrow Airport and Vattenfall, which have all pledged to ensure that their fleet vehicles weighing up to 3.5 tonnes are EVs by 2030.

Shifting gears

Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) has predicted that EVs will account for more than half of new car sales by 2040, with its most recent analysis finding that “the EV revolution is going to hit the car market even harder and faster” than anticipated.

The analysis found that a record 1.1 million EVs were sold worldwide in 2017, with this figure set to surge to 30 million by 2030 – so it’s hardly surprising that  top carmakers including VWRenaultFord and Jaguar Land Rover are all moving to ramp up investment into EV production and battery research and innovation.

However, representatives from BMW and Toyota have claimed that their firms continue to see combustion engines and hybrid engines as important parts of their vehicle mix, despite nations including France, India and the UK setting phase-out dates for the sale of new petrol and diesel cars. 

Sarah George

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