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Cities, States, Business Push for More Electric Vehicles

As the technology improves electric vehicle prices are becoming competitive with internal combustion vehicles. (whodol/Pixabay)
As the technology improves electric vehicle prices are becoming competitive with internal combustion vehicles. (whodol/Pixabay)
July 12, 2018

PITTSBURGH, Pa. — Cities and states are using their collective influence to speed up the transition to electric vehicles. This weekend is the second running of the Formula E Championship, ten teams driving electric cars in a race along the Brooklyn waterfront.

Against that backdrop, The Climate Group, an international organization dedicated to fighting global climate change, launched the "Zero Emission Vehicle Challenge." Climate Group CEO Helen Clarkson said cities and businesses operate large fleets, and by switching to electric, they send a signal to car manufacturers.

"Zero-emission vehicles are here today, so the sooner we can really get them into the market, the better,” Clarkson said. “And by really pulling this demand signal together, we give the surety to manufacturers that they can switch, and they can switch quickly."

The State of California, as well as cities like Pittsburgh, Los Angeles, London, Paris, and major businesses around the world, have joined the Zero Emission Vehicle Challenge.

According to Grant Ervin, Pittsburgh's Chief Resilience Officer, they are not only bringing low- and zero-emission vehicles into the city's fleet, they're adding infrastructure, like solar-powered charging stations.

"What we're looking to do is create a total zero-emissions lifecycle where we can not just have zero emissions at the tailpipe but also, using renewable energy to power those vehicles, as well,” Ervin said.

He said the city is also installing charging stations in public garages to encourage residents to make the shift to electric vehicles.

Clarkson noted that as demand increases, the price of electric vehicles is falling. As more cities, states and businesses commit to the Zero Emission Challenge, she said, the message is clear.

"We want with this challenge to say to the automotive industry, 'Tell us what your end game is,’” Clarkson said. “This is happening, so how quickly can you do it? What can you commit to by 2025, and what can you commit to beyond that?"

She added that several countries, including the United Kingdom, Norway, France and India, have said they will ban internal-combustion engines beginning in the year 2040.

Andrea Sears, Public News Service - PA