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Multinationals Join Large-Scale Push for Zero Emission Vehicles

zero emission vehicle

The Climate Group launched a new initiative this week called Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) Challenge that unites the global purchasing power of businesses, cities, states, regions, and NGOs for electric and other non-fossil-fuel vehicles.

Multinationals including Unilever, LeasePlan, and Metro AG have already accepted the challenge. The Climate Group, which also leads the RE100 initiative, is encouraging more businesses to join their EV100 campaign. Members commit to accelerating the transition to electric vehicles and making electric transport the new normal by 2030.

“This marks the first time some of the world’s largest states, regions, cities and businesses are uniting to show the global auto industry the full scale of demand that already exists for electric vehicles,” the nonprofit said. “It brings together existing world-leading programs, which up to now have been focused on separate sectors, to amplify their collective purchasing power and influence on the market.”

In 2015, Unilever joined the RE100 initiative. Last fall they were the first fast-moving consumer goods company to become an EV100 member. The multinational is one of 10 founding members of the zero emission vehicle effort along with Baidu, Deutsche Post DHL Group, Heathrow Airport, HP Inc., Ikea Group, LeasePlan, Metro AG, PG&E, and Vattenfall.

“As part of EV100, we have committed to a phased integration of electric vehicles into the fleets that we directly control — the ones we own or lease,” Unilever said in September. “We are aiming for these fleets to be 25% EV/hybrid by 2020, 50% by 2025, and 100% by 2030.”

Metro AG’s director of energy management Olaf Schulze said that the food service company is fully behind the push to bring more EVs to the road. “In our own operations, we provide EV-charging for our more than 21 million wholesale customers in 35 countries who visit our stores day by day,” he said. “Together with fellow companies and public bodies, we can create real change.”

International fleet management company LeasePlan is also an EV100 member. “Although we’re seeing the appetite for EVs rise every day, the vehicles, infrastructure or policies to meet this demand aren’t there yet,” said CEO Tex Gunning. “We’re therefore delighted to join the Global ZEV Challenge and work with the industry to make zero emission mobility a reality.”

Citing projections from the US Energy Information Administration, the Climate Group says that nearly 3 million cars and light trucks will be sold to commercial and government fleets next year, representing 18% of expected 2019 automobile sales. If those vehicles were EVs, the nonprofit says, those businesses would save money on gasoline and reduce their dependence on volatile global oil markets.

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