Alliance Makes Global Push for Zero-Emission Vehicles


California, The Netherlands and Quebec have announced they are launching the International Zero-Emission Vehicle Alliance (ZEV Alliance) to accelerate global adoption of zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs). The three partners also committed to recruiting other countries and sub-national jurisdictions to join them as founders of the alliance.

ZEVs include plug-in, battery-electric and hybrid-electric vehicles, as well as hydrogen-powered fuel cell electric vehicles (EVs). According to a California Environmental Protection Agency (CalEPA) press release, large-scale adoption of ZEVs is essential for progress on improving air quality, limiting climate change, ending oil dependence and growing the low-carbon economy. International collaboration will accelerate adoption, create economies of scale and unlock ZEVs' benefits.

The release says that as participants in the ZEV Alliance, leadership countries and sub-nationals will promote innovation and investment and raise international awareness of expanding ZEV markets and opportunities. They will make greater deployment possible through exchanges of best practices and jointly encouraging ambition in policies that drive ZEV adoption.

“We will only achieve our long-term climate objectives with a change to cleaner, more energy-efficient vehicles,” says Matt Rodriquez, California's secretary for environmental protection. “We're pleased to expand our partnerships with The Netherlands and Quebec and encourage other countries, states and provinces to work with us to put more and more drivers from all income levels at the wheel of zero-emission vehicles.”

CalEPA says California is working toward a goal of 1.5 million ZEVs on the road by 2025. In 2014, the state joined Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island and Vermont in unveiling the Multi-State ZEV Action Plan to increase clean cars across the nation. Key actions include encouraging fleets to acquire ZEVs, planning and investing in ZEV infrastructure such as charging stations, and tracking progress toward the goal to get a combined 3.3 million ZEVs on U.S. highways by 2025.

Furthermore, California recently joined with Oregon, Washington and British Columbia to team up with West Coast cities, counties and utilities to launch the West Coast Electric Fleets initiative.

CalEPA says California and The Netherlands are leaders in global ZEV deployment. California is home to about one in every six ZEVs sold in the world, while in The Netherlands, ZEVs are approaching 5% of the share of new cars sold, the agency adds.

The two jurisdictions have a history of environmental collaboration starting in October 2013, when Wilma Mansveld, the Dutch minister for the environment, and Rodriquez signed a letter of intent to cooperate on policies in climate, energy and sustainable transportation. This led to the signing of a memorandum of cooperation regarding the initiation of the ZEV Alliance.

“The next phase is crucial, where we invite the rest of the world to join us and build upon our successful ZEV cooperation,” says Mansveld.

According to the release, the Netherlands has the world's largest network of public EV charging stations and is ready for expanded use of electric and other zero-emission vehicles on its roads. Through its Coast to Coast e-Mobility program, it has initiated collaboration with California on knowledge exchange, innovation and business development. The release notes players like Tesla Motors, Zero Motorcycles and Greenlots have chosen The Netherlands as their jumping-off point into Europe.

For its part, Quebec has the largest ZEV fleet in Canada and presently accounts for close to 50% of the country's market, according to the release. Public charging infrastructure in Quebec, developed in collaboration with over 100 public and private partners, is now well established in every region of the province. The release says government policies have been a key component in this progress by providing incentives to purchase ZEVs and to install charging stations at home and in the workplace. ZEV deployment is thus progressing rapidly in Quebec, as the number of ZEVs registered has increased by 134% over the last 16 months, the release adds.

Quebec and California have been partners in developing the Western Climate Initiative carbon market since 2008, linking their respective cap-and-trade programs on Jan. 1, 2014. In December 2014, the release continues, they decided to extend this partnership to ZEV strategies in order to learn from each other's best practices.

“The deployment of ZEVs is one of Quebec's main strategies to reduce its carbon footprint in the transportation sector. It also represents interesting opportunities for Quebec businesses which have a solid expertise on EV batteries, electric motorization, charging stations and other components of ZEVs,” says David Heurtel, Quebec's minister for sustainable development, the environment and the fight against climate change.

“Our participation in the alliance will allow us to show the many benefits for our societies of opting for clean transportation, starting with air quality in the cities to the creation of new jobs in this promising field of economic development,” adds Heurtel.

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