Global Alliance Aims for 1 Million More EVs on the Road by 2015

A new global alliance chaired by Prince Albert II of Monaco and convened by The Climate Group has set a target of getting 1 million more electrical vehicles on the road in the next five years than automakers had planned to bring to market.

The EV20 alliance of businesses and government leaders was announced today at the opening ceremony of Climate Week NYºC 2010. [Reports, analyses and other coverage of the week's events are available at GreenBiz.com/ClimateWeek2010.]

The group includes global fleet owner TNT, auto manufacturers PSA Peugeot Citroën and Smith Electric Vehicles, Johnson Controls Inc., Better Place and Deutsche Bank. The state governments of Basque Country, New York, Quebec, South Australia and Victoria also joined the group.

“The rapid growth of an e-car market will cut city pollution and global greenhouse gas emissions helping to conserve our climate and our energy resources,” said Prince Albert II. “The development of EV fleets could also help to shift the way we use and store energy.”

EV20 members have agreed to work together over the next three years to pursue targets that they believe will change the game on the EV market. The business and government partners aim to achieve this through brokering international fleet procurement alliances, developing national, state and municipal policy frameworks, and financing solutions.

“EV20 aims to connect the leaders in the field, speed up the learning process and pool resources,” said Jim Walker, a cofounder of The Climate Group and the organization’s director of International Programmes & Strategy. “We’re delighted that these influential organizations have joined us in this effort. Electric vehicles are cleaner and more efficient, even based on today’s energy sources. Governments, banks and businesses around the world are grappling with the same challenge: How to harness the potential of plug-in vehicles for their citizens, workers and investors.”

As part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the U.S. government recently invested $2.4 billion to develop next-generation batteries and electric drive components. This could lead to tens of thousands of US manufacturing jobs and half a million batteries a year by late 2014. Later this year, the Nissan Leaf and Chevy Volt will reach US showrooms.

The Climate Group’s EV20 meeting in New York City is the latest in a series of meetings to build an international “coalition of the willing” to rapidly advance the commercial deployment of EVs around the world. There will be further meetings at the UN climate talks in Cancun (Mexico) later this year.  The alliance is made possible with support from the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation, Dutch Postcode Lottery and the HSBC Climate Partnership.

TNT CEO Peter Bakker said, “TNT is proud to be a partner of The Climate Group as we believe electric vehicles are at the brink of revolutionizing the transport sector. There is a perfect fit for electric vehicles in our pick up and delivery fleet with relatively short distances driven and a high number of stops. On top of that, electric vehicles can address the increasing problem of inner city pollution. Now that the technology of electric vehicles has made a leap forward, we see the vehicles playing a prominent role in our emission reduction strategy, Planet Me.”

“While Better Place believes the transition to EVs is inevitable, the right policies and key players working together can measurably accelerate the global market and the transformative shift that is already underway,” said Better Place Vice President for North America Jason Wolf.

“We look forward to joining the other private- and public-sector collaborators, stepping on the low-carbon pedal to scale EV deployment worldwide, and achieving the alliance’s targets as rapidly as possible,” said Wolf. [His post "How to Drive Broad Adoption of Electric Cars" is available at GreenBiz.com.]

From Johnson Controls, Vice President of Technology and Innovation Mary Ann Wright said, “As a leading supplier of li-ion automotive batteries, Johnson Controls is proud to be manufacturing batteries for today’s fuel-efficient hybrid and electric vehicles.

“Through our Johnson Controls-Saft joint venture, we are expanding our manufacturing facility in France and we are launching our new facility in Michigan. However, we now run the risk of too much capacity. It is more critical than ever to collaborate together as we are through The Climate Group’s EV20, to create demand for these vehicles by electrifying our fleets, maintaining tax incentives, and investing in research and development.”

Ayoul Grouvel, director of electric vehicles at PSA Peugeot Citroën S.A. said, “By the end of the year PSA will be the first European manufacturer to offer a full range of electric vehicles, delivered under our Peugeot and Citroën brands. Joining The Climate Group and the EV20 initiative is a logical step for PSA and builds on our reputation for environmental leadership. By uniting different stakeholders EV20 will help electric vehicles to get off the ground and gain market share in the world’s automotive markets.”

“Today’s EV20 launch represents an important commitment from policy and business leaders to realize a cleaner and more cost-effective future,” said Smith Electric Vehicles CEO Bryan Hansel. “At Smith we enthusiastically share the EV20′s goal of promoting the use of electric vehicles globally. The commercial adoption of all-electric trucks is real and our customers are seeing an immediate ROI, such as reducing fuel and lowering maintenance costs as well as leaving a smaller carbon footprint.”

Other comments from the international alliance came from:

Premier Mike Rann of South Australia said: “We are working to re-think the way the world travels by road and believe that with progressive policy decisions and supportive mechanisms it will be possible to speed a global transition.”

Minister Bernabé Unda, minister for Industry, Innovation, Trade and Tourism of Spain’s Basque Country, said: “The Basque Government has defined a strategy to introduce the electric vehicle in the Basque Country, as a means to improve energy efficiency in transport and promote new business opportunities in the Basque industrial fabric.”

Minister Pierre Arcand, minister of Sustainable Development, Environment and Parks, Quebec said: ”Leaders in government and business need to work together to promote the use of electric vehicles. A forum like the EV20 helps foster international cooperation so we can all reap the economic and environmental benefits of electric transportation.”

Tim Pallas, Victorian minister for Roads and Ports, said, “Victoria is supporting a transformation in the way we travel by working with the EV20 to set the stage for fast EV roll out through our all-encompassing trial that models a complete EV market from vehicle choice, recharge infrastructure type and location, impacts on electricity generation and distribution and fleet operations.”

Pete Grannis, commissioner of New York State’s Department of Environmental Conservation, said:  “Electric vehicles are an essential part of a comprehensive strategy to reduce carbon emissions needed to address the looming crisis of climate change.  New York is committed to working with other states and provinces to implement the strategies needed to accelerate the deployment of electric vehicles.”

Sarah Skikne is the electric vehicle project manager for The Climate Group and is managing the launch and strategy development of the organization’s EV20 initiativeArticles, analyses and resource material about Climate Week NYºC are available at www.greenbiz.com/topic/climate-week-nyc-2010. For more information and event developments, visit www.climateweeknyc.org and Twitter @ClimateWeekNYC.

Sarah Skikne

http://www.greenbiz.com/blog/2010/09/20/global-alliance-aims-1-million-more-evs-road-2015