• The scale of opportunity is bigger than we’ve ever seen before as states and regions, cities, businesses and NGOs unite – bringing together global purchasing power for electric and other clean vehicles.
  • Leaders in automotive industry also asked to signal an endgame for fossil-fuel vehicles and drive forward progress towards a clean future.


New York City – Red Hook, Brooklyn, site of Formula E Season Finale – Today, a new Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) Challenge, led by The Climate Group and C40 Cities, is being launched.

The ZEV Challenge is being supported by: The State of California, New York City, EDF Energy, LeasePlan and Unilever. In addition, the cities of Paris, Los Angeles, London, Milan, Rome, Copenhagen, Pittsburgh, Mexico City, Medellin, Quito and the regions of Australian Capital Territory and Navarra.  

The ZEV Challenge will see states, regions, cities and international business use their purchasing and policy influence to massively accelerate the adoption of electric vehicles around the world. 

These zero emissions leaders are urging the global auto industry to commit to accelerating the manufacture of electric vehicles and step up production to satisfy the growing demand. 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. 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.

The Zero Emission Vehicle Challenge, as well as linking the purchasing power from existing commitments, urges more leaders in key groups to step up and join the effort:

Auto sector – Automakers are being asked to signal their willingness to work towards an endgame for combustion engine vehicles, and in the meantime commit to a ZEV percentage of sales by 2025.

Helen Clarkson, CEO, The Climate Group, said at an event in New York against the backdrop of a Generation 2 electric Formula-E racing car. “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. We want automotive companies to do more to help us get there.”

Businesses – more multinational businesses are being challenged to join EV100, the lead business commitment to fleet electrification by 2030 and charging infrastructure, run by The Climate Group.

States and regions – are called upon to join a new Under2 Coalition ZEV initiative, run in close cooperation with the ZEV Alliance, focused on procurement, infrastructure and policy.

“Zero emission vehicles are the way to go,” said California Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. “They’re good for people’s health, they’re good for the air and they’re good for helping to stop the catastrophic increase in global warming.” 

Cities – some of the largest cities in the world are today also backing this call. 

Bill de Blasio, Mayor of New York City said, “Living in a coastal city, New Yorkers know the existential threat posed by climate change. That is why we are leading the fight with our pledge to implement the goals of the Paris climate agreement and rolling out critical infrastructure to speed our conversion to electric vehicles. We are proud to join cities around the world as we take action on this global problem.”

“The citizens of Paris and cities around the world demand clean air to breathe,” said Anne Hidalgo, Mayor of Paris & Chair of C40. “As mayors of the world’s great cities we are transforming the way that our citizens move around the city – prioritising walking, cycling, and clean public transport through initiatives like C40’s Green & Healthy Streets Declaration. I urge car manufacturers to seize this opportunity and help us shape a sustainable future, by accelerating the shift to electric vehicles.”

EDF Energy, the global energy company and LeasePlan, one of the world’s leading leasing companies, are speaking at today’s Challenge launch event; 

EDF Energy President Jean-Bernard Levy said “The ZEV Challenge resonates with our belief in the electrification of the economy, and when beliefs are aligned with actions, people are happy to deliver. People get the sense of urgency and this helps us align our strategy with concrete goals.” 

Tex Gunning, CEO LeasePlan: “Although we’re seeing the appetite for EVs rise every day, the vehicles, infrastructure or policies to meet this demand aren’t there yet. We’re therefore delighted to join the Global ZEV Challenge and work with the industry to make zero emission mobility a reality. Starting electric can be one of the easiest ways to tackle climate change, but only if everyone rises to the ZEV Challenge.”

The ZEV Challenge provides an opportunity for key players in the auto sector to position themselves as leaders in the large-scale transition to electric vehicles, increase the speed to a Zero Emissions Future, and play a full role to deliver the goals of the Paris Agreement.

Mary D. Nichols, Chair, California Air Resources Board, said “The auto industry knows this is a global trend and many are racing to be part of it. Companies that fail to adapt do so at their peril. We call on all manufacturers to join us in this historic transformation, to be leaders in the race that will leave old-style combustion-driven inefficient, pollution-spewing engines in the dust. That’s our challenge.”

This announcement is designed to accelerate trends already underway in several nations, regions, states and cities. Several countries like France and the UK have already announced end dates for the sale of vehicles powered by gasoline and diesel-fuelled engines. Others like California have committed to putting 5 million zero-emission vehicles on their roads and highways by 2030.

Helen Clarkson, CEO, The Climate Group, added “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.” 

Alejandro Agag, CEO, Formula E, said “The ABB FIA Formula E Championship is delighted to support this most important initiative to accelerate the adoption of electric vehicles around the world in the hope to eventually see electric mobility as a global reality.” 


More Quotes

Mayor of Los Angeles, and C40 Vice-Chair, Eric Garcetti said “The decisions we make today have real consequences tomorrow — and when it comes to climate change, action isn’t a choice, but a necessity. Clean air is a basic human right, and the Zero Emission Vehicle Challenge will help accelerate the innovation taking place in cities by pioneering sustainable transportation solutions.”

Mayor of Milan, and C40 Vice-Chair, Giuseppe Sala said, “Transition to clean transport is key for the health of our citizens. The city of Milan is committed to procuring zero-emission buses and is carrying out a progressive ban on diesel cars.  It will be a delicate transition, but we think it is time for it. We call for the private sector, businesses and manufacturers to support us in this process”

Lord Mayor of Copenhagen, and C40 Vice-Chair, Frank Jensen said, “The problem of petrol- and diesel vehicles polluting our streets needs to be fixed if we want to improve air quality. I therefore strongly urge the car manufacturers to phase out the production of petrol- and diesel cars. These companies should focus on more sustainable alternatives such as electrical vehicles: Our citizens have a right to clean air.”

Mayor of Medellín, and C40 Vice-Chair, Federico Gutierrez Zuluaga said “Our purpose is to become the capital of electric mobility in Latin America to positively impact the welfare of our people. We promote sustainable means of transport, we are replacing and buying electrical buses for our BRT system – Metroplús and we that have decided that 100% of the new vehicles will also be electrical.  In addition, we are committed to promoting the renewal of the diesel or gasoline public transport fleet to 100% electrical vehicles. We are implementing public policies towards the climate change and sustainability, always considering our citizens.” 

Mayor of Rome, Virginia Raggi said, “Car manufacturers have a great opportunity to improve the quality of the air we breathe and contribute to countering climate change. They can speed up the transition to zero-emission vehicles for both public and private transport. In order to give strength and credibility to this path, it is of paramount importance to set a date for stopping the production of petrol or diesel cars. We are trying to design cities that are people- and children-friendly. A place where you can breathe clean air and enjoy walking or cycling. We are making a great effort to establish roadmaps and to set deadlines. We urge car manufacturers to go down this road together.”

“We need to accelerate the transition to zero emission vehicles in Latin America” said José Ramón Amieva, Mayor of Mexico City “Car manufacturers have a key role in offering clean alternatives at much more competitive and affordable prices in order to accelerate the technological shift in the use of fossil fuels and improve air quality in cities. As C40 Mayors, we have committed to deliver concrete actions on zero emissions mobility, and Mexico City is already working on the first Electric Bus corridor in the country, and one of the firsts in the region”. 

Mayor of Quito, Mauricio Rodas said, “The city of Quito is responding to the citizens demand for cleaner air, ensuring a sustainable, low-carbon and resilient development that benefits all.  We are strongly committed with the international initiatives like Green & Healthy Streets Declaration and the Clean Bus Declaration. Locally we are spearheading an ordinance for the gradual decabornization with a horizon to 2025 and promotion of clean technology in the transport sector of Quito, as well as the transformation of our historical city centre into a zero emissions zone. For positive impact of these actions, we need the commitment of all citizens, stakeholders in the transport sector and national and international businesses”.

Mayor of Pittsburgh William Peduto said, “Governments have the purchasing power to force manufacturers to start meeting our demands and provide off-the-shelf electric vehicle technologies. The message is: If you make them, we’ll buy them. This need is especially true for heavy duty vehicles like refuse trucks, snow plows and heavy duty equipment, which are some of our largest polluters.” 

Mary D. Nichols, Chair, California Air Resources Board, added “California needs millions of zero emission vehicles on our streets and highways to meet our clean air and climate goals. We are committed to comprehensive incentives, policies and helping grow a global movement of 100’s of states, cities and a wide range of companies who share our ambition.”

Shane Rattenbury, Australian Capital Territory Minister for Climate Change and Sustainability – Sub-national governments like the Australian Capital Territory can make a big difference and demonstrate leadership by choosing to procure zero emissions vehicles. The ACT Government has committed to shifting to a zero emissions passenger vehicle fleet from 2019-20. We are also working with other Australian local and state governments to make this shift. Our electricity supply will also be 100% renewable from 2020, meaning electric vehicles in the ACT will be running on zero emissions electricity—a great win for our community and the climate.

Manu Ayerdi, Vice-president for Economic Development in Navarra said “States and regions can play a major role in shaping the electric vehicle market. In Navarra, we achieved an 82% surge in EVs year on year, with progressive policies such as a 30% tax deduction for individuals and companies purchasing EVs. We urge other states and regions to support the ZEV Challenge to help move the market and for the automotive industry to be ready to meet the demand.”


Further Information and Impact Data 

The ZEV Challenge combines the EV100 campaign of the Climate Group and a new Under2 Coalition ZEV commitment for global states and regions with the leadership of global cities working with C40 on clean transport initiatives.

EV100 member EDF Energy have 30,000 light vehicles in their fleet in Europe. 

EV100 member LeasePlan have 1.8 million cars globally. 

Nearly 3 million automobiles [or cars and light trucks] will be sold to commercial and government fleets next year, according to projections by the US Energy Information Administration. That’s roughly 18 percent of all automobile projected sales in 2019.

If these new vehicles were electric, those businesses and governments would save money on gasoline and reduce their costly dependence on volatile global oil markets. At the same time, they would reduce vehicle air pollution and help ensure better health for the communities in which they operate.

In 2017 thirty U.S. cities, including New York, Los Angeles and Chicago informed automakers of their intentions to buy 114,000 electric cars and trucks, worth more than $10 billion. The initiative, led by The Climate Mayors, was designed to show manufacturers the potential size of the electric vehicle market in the United States.

The State of California owns and operates a fleet of over 20,000 light-duty passenger vehicles, for which it has set aggressive zero emission vehicle (ZEV) purchasing goals. Not only has the state fleet exceeded each annual light-duty ZEV purchasing target to date, it is also on track to meet the state’s ZEV target of 50 percent of new light-duty purchases by 2030 (less vehicles with special performance requirements necessary to maintain public safety).

New York City has 30,000 owned and leased vehicles, making it the largest municipal fleet in the United States. As of July 2018, New York has 1500 electric vehicles in its fleet, putting it far ahead of schedule to meet the goal of having 2000 electric vehicles by 2025, as outlined in the “NYC Clean Fleet” report. The fleet is currently served by 500 level 2 chargers, 37 of which are entirely solar powered. 

New York City fleet currently operates the largest EV charging network in New York State. In May of 2018, the City committed $10 million dollars to expand its charging network to include level 3 fast chargers to meet the operational demands of its large electric fleet.


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