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States, regions, cities, international business groups and non-governmental organizations are calling for broader adoption of electric vehicles in order to decarbonize the transport sector through the Zero Emission Vehicle Challenge.

The challenge was launched by The Climate Group and C40 Cities on 10 July 2018 in advance of the Global Climate Action Summit (GCAS), which will convene in San Francisco, US, from 12-14 September 2018. It urges the global auto industry to accelerate the manufacture of electric vehicles and increase production to fulfill growing demand, bringing together the collective purchasing power and influence on the market of stakeholders and existing programmes, which have until now been focused on separate sectors. In this way, the challenge provides an opportunity for the auto sector to take the lead in the large-scale transition to electric vehicles and help deliver the goals of the Paris Agreement on climate change.

The ZEV Challenge calls on:

  • automakers to signal their willingness to work towards an endgame for combustion engine vehicles running on fossil fuels, and in the meantime, commit to a ZEV percentage of sales by 2025;
  • more multinational businesses to join EV100, which brings together forward-looking companies committed to fleet electrification and making electric transport the ‘new normal’ by 2030; and
  • states and regions to join a new Under2 Coalition ZEV initiative that focuses on procurement, infrastructure and policy.

The challenge is currently being supported by the State of California, EDF Energy, LeasePlan, Unilever, New York City, Paris, Los Angeles, London, Milan, Rome, Mexico City, Medellín, Copenhagen, Pittsburgh, and the regions of the Australian Capital Territory and Navarra, Spain.

Several countries like France and the UK have already announced end dates for the sale of fossil fuel-run vehicles, and the State of California has committed to putting five million zero-emission vehicles on roads and highways by 2030.Several countries like France and the UK have already announced end dates for the sale of fossil fuel-run vehicles, and the State of California has committed to putting five million zero-emission vehicles on roads and highways by 2030.

Speaking about the challenge, Pittsburgh Mayor William Peduto said governments have the purchasing power to force manufacturers to provide off-the-shelf electric vehicle technologies. Mexico City Mayor José Ramón Amieva said his city is already working on the country’s first electric bus corridor.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan noted the city’s introduction of the world’s first Ultra Low Emission Zone beginning in April 2019, which will provide the opportunity for industry and government to work together to create more sustainable cities. Shane Rattenbury, ACT Minister for Climate Change and Sustainability, noted the ACT government’s commitment to a zero emissions passenger vehicle fleet from 2019-2020 and a 100% renewable electricity supply from 2020.

Manu Ayerdi, Vice-President for Economic Development, Navarra, Spain, said his region has achieved an 82% increase in electric vehicles annually through progressive policies such as a 30% tax deduction for individuals and companies purchasing them. Medellín Mayor Federico Gutierrez Zuluaga said buses in the city’s bus rapid transit system will be equipped with electric buses.

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