Editor's Note: Today, Edison Electric Institute (EEI) recognized National Drive Electric Week by highlighting member companies that are leading by example on fleet electrification. At SDG&E, we understand that the transportation sector is the single largest source of greenhouse gas emissions at both the state and federal level – a key driver behind climate change and a major source of air pollution. To address this, California has set a goal of having five million zero-emission vehicles on the road by 2030 and to phase the sales of new gas-powered cars by 2035. To enable this transition, we have been working to aggressively expand the charging infrastructure in our region to support cars, buses, trucks, shuttles and more, while also simultaneously upgrading our own company fleet to drive down emissions. Our company fleet goals are to: Electrify 100% of our light-duty fleet and transition 30% of our overall fleet to zero-emission vehicles by 2030 and to operate a 100% zero-emission fleet by 2040.
All across America, the Edison Electric Institute’s (EEI’s) member companies – the nation’s investor-owned electric companies – are leading a clean energy transformation. Collectively, they are committed to getting the energy they provide as clean as they can as fast as they can, and already have reduced their carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions approximately 45 percent below 2005 levels while keeping electricity reliable and affordable for customers.
Nearly 40 percent of U.S. power generation now comes from carbon-free sources, and EEI’s member companies are charting clear paths forward that will leverage this growth in clean energy to help achieve deep carbon reductions in the transportation sector, which is the largest domestic source of CO2 emissions.
“Carbon emissions in the power sector are at their lowest level in more than 30 years, and they continue to fall,” said EEI President Tom Kuhn. “As the transportation sector increasingly electrifies, it is also getting cleaner. This week is National Drive Electric Week, which provides an opportunity to celebrate the clean energy progress that we have made, while spotlighting the new technologies and corporate commitments that are leading us forward.”
In 2014, EEI's member companies committed to invest at least 5 percent of their annual vehicle fleet budgets in plug-in electric vehicles (EVs) and technologies. This target quickly was eclipsed, with participating members investing 10 percent of their total budgets on average by 2015. In every year since, companies consistently have met or exceeded the investment target.
Building on this early success, more than 70 percent of EEI member companies – serving more than 200 million U.S. customers – already have made new fleet electrification commitments. Collectively, these new goals put EEI’s member companies on track to electrify more than one-third of their total fleets by 2030, including two-thirds of the passenger vehicles in their fleets.
“As an industry, it is critical that we lead by example, and our collective commitments to electrify our fleets both show our customers the path to clean transportation and send a clear message to the automakers that our industry – and many others – are committed to an electric vehicle future,” said Pedro Pizarro, Edison International President and CEO and co-chair of EEI’s CEO task force on electric transportation.
Many company announcements also include targets for electrifying medium- and heavy-duty vehicles, which make up about 5 percent of all vehicles on U.S. roads but contribute 28 percent of all vehicle greenhouse gas emissions. Most vehicles in EEI member company fleets are work trucks. When these trucks are electrified, workers can operate bucket lifts, digger derricks, and work lights without idling the engine.
“Auto Innovators’ members are leading the way in advancing technologies for vehicle electrification,” said Alliance for Automotive Innovation President and CEO John Bozzella. “Our members offer more than 40 electric models, and that number is expected to more than triple by 2025. But putting EVs on the market is just part of the equation. Fleet purchasing commitments, such as these, are key to increasing consumer awareness, boosting market penetration, and aligning demand with the need for more charging infrastructure.”
Today, the largest challenge facing the EV market is the charging infrastructure needed to support market growth, not the energy grid that powers that infrastructure. A report from EEI and the Institute for Electric Innovation predicts that, by 2030, U.S. EV sales will exceed 3.5 million per year and that 18.7 million passenger EVs will be on U.S. roads, requiring about 9.6 million charging stations. Electric companies are partnering with many stakeholders to support the growth of EVs and to provide the needed charging infrastructure in cities and communities across the country.
“Electric vehicles improve air quality at work sites and in our local communities, and building out the charging infrastructure needed to electrify the transportation sector creates new job opportunities for our highly skilled workforce,” said International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers International President Lonnie Stephenson.
As of the end of August 2020, EEI’s member companies are investing more than $2.6 billion in customer programs and projects to deploy charging infrastructure and to accelerate electric transportation. Investments from all stakeholders – including electric companies, automakers, charging network providers, and others – are growing, and driving transportation electrification forward.
“EEI’s member companies are leading by example as they invest in the EVs, charging infrastructure, and technologies that will enable them to greatly reduce carbon emissions from their own vehicle fleets,” said Kuhn. “Across the country, electric companies already are transferring the lessons from their own experiences to help customers large and small develop the charging infrastructure they need to deploy EV fleets that will reduce costs and carbon emissions. This is a win-win for vehicle owners and for the environment.”
Learn more about how EEI’s member companies are leading by example at: www.eei.org/evs