US joins zero-emissions truck pledge

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by Emily Atkins

The United States has agreed to join the Global Memorandum of Understanding on Zero-Emission Medium- and Heavy-Duty Vehicles.

It made the announcement along with Ukraine, Ireland, Aruba, Belgium, Croatia, Curaçao, Dominican Republic, Liechtenstein, and Lithuania at the COP27 summit this past week.

First introduced at COP26, the Global MOU puts countries on a path to 100 percent new zero-emission medium- and heavy-duty vehicle (MHDV) sales by 2040 at the latest, with an interim goal of at least 30 percent new sales by 2030. Canada signed the agreement at COP26. It now has 26 signatories.

“The United States sends a powerful message today to the international community that it will work strategically and collaboratively to transition the commercial vehicle sector to zero-emissions. Today’s action will advance zero-emission vehicle manufacturing, boost our economy, and create good paying jobs while reducing greenhouse gas emissions,” said John Boesel, CEO of CALSTART. The Global MOU is co-led by the nation of the Netherlands and CALSTART’s Global Commercial Vehicle Drive to Zero (Drive to ZeroTM) program and campaign.

In a coordinated effort, subnational governments like Québec, and Telengana, India, as well as top manufacturers and fleets like Scania, DHL, and Heineken are endorsing the MOU and agreeing to work collaboratively toward the same 2030 and 2040 goals.

Across the Netherlands cities will be implementing zero-emission zones for freight with effect from 2025, in pursuit of emission-free deliveries. Grants will be available to help entrepreneurs switch to clean delivery vans or lorries. Cities will thus become healthier and more comfortable places in which to live and work, whilst reducing the emission of harmful gases and particles.

“Together, we can make the difference. By sending a clear signal to the market that, in the near future, there’ll be more options for transport companies wishing to make the switch to electric or hydrogen vehicles. That’s good for them and good for the climate. I’d like to call on other countries to join us in this endeavor,” said Minister Vivianne Heijnen, Dutch Minister for the Environment.

The transition to 100 percent zero-emission technologies for trucks and buses will require massive investments in battery and electric component manufacturing and charging infrastructure as well as cross-collaboration between countries and the public and private sector.

“We endorse this global agreement on zero-emission trucks and buses as part of wider efforts to accelerate the shift towards sustainable transport. We will do our part to facilitate scaling of solutions faster and more cost-efficiently, not the least through initiatives that spur the build out of charging infrastructure for heavy vehicles,” says Christian Levin, president and CEO, Scania.