Commercial Vehicles Increasingly Go Electric

Tesla stole the headlines in mid-November when it unveiled its much-anticipated electric semi truck. DHL, Wal-Mart and trucking firm J.B. Hunt are among the companies that have placed orders, even as questions remain about the trucks’ range and battery size.

Elon Musk’s company is far from alone in looking to electrify commercial and public vehicles. Germanys Daimler is accelerating its plans to produce electric trucks, saying its Fuso eCanter “urban delivery truck” will be cost-competitive with diesel trucks within two years as battery prices continue to fall.  UPS has signed up to buy eCanters, and Daimler supplied a fleet of the vehicles to some non-profits in New York in October. And Mercedes-Benz will soon offer electric versions of all of its commercial vans and trucks.

The city of Shenzhen in southern China says its public bus fleet will be 100% electric by the end of this year. BYD is the main supplier of electric buses to Shenzhen, which has a population of about 12 million.  The city also plans to test self-driving buses on two routes, also by the end of this year.

Copenhagen will also have an all-electric fleet of buses and ferries by 2025, according to a city official, who says sustainable transportation is a key factor in the city reaching its target of having zero carbon emissions by that time. As part of those plans, the city is also building two new subway lines that will open starting in 2019, and has planted 40,000 trees out of an eventual 100,000.

Other EV News:

Ford, Volkswagen, BMW and Daimler are teaming up to develop a High-Power Charging network for EVs across Europe. The joint venture, being called IONITY, expects to install 400 HPC stations by 2020.

The government of New York City will buy more electric vehicles by using cash it’s getting as a rebate for charging its existing EVs overnight. Local utility Consolidated Edison rewards customers for charging their EV cars and fleets at night, when demand is lower. New York City, which currently has more than 1,000 electric cars and trucks, expects to get about  $150,000 a year through the program.

Daimler will invest some $750 million in China to increase capacity to produce batteries and electric cars in the country. The large investment will help automakers in China meet the country’s goals for green car production and sales. The government has instituted quotes for EV and plug-in hybrid cards, which go into effect in 2019.

BMW says it will invest about $238 million in a battery cell “competence center” in Munich, intending to develop battery technology faster. The company is also developing electric motors that don’t use so-called “rare earth” minerals, making the company less dependent on those materials.

In Other Sustainable Investment News…

Big banks are continuing to show commitment to sustainability and investing to fight climate change. HSBC this month said it will make available up to $100 billion to finance low-carbon projects around the world; it will also stop financing coal mines. In July, JPMorgan also committed to funding low-carbon projects, promising $200 billion in financing for such projects.

HSBC has also launched what it calls a new type of sustainable bond, one that is based on the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. The bank raised $1 billion through the bond and will use the money for projects that offer “broad social, economic and environmental benefits” in line with the UN goals. Such projects could include schools, hospitals, small-scale renewable power plants and public rail systems.

And JPMorgan is working to make its Chase bank branches greener. For instance, in mid-November the bank said it will retrofit the majority of its branches in the city with LED lighting and new Building Management System software to make the buildings run more efficiently. The program is part of the $150 million commitment the bank made to support Detroit’s economic recovery.


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