Electric fleets can fuel decarbonisation efforts. Here’s how

First published in World Economic Forum

By Saul Lopez, eMobility Manager at T&E; Maya Ben Dror, Project Lead, Future of Mobility at the Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution of the World Economic Forum; Mary Loane Project Lead, Future of Mobility at the World Economic Forum

Without drastic action, emissions from mobility are on track to double by 2050 - making climate change irreversible and leading to a global misery greater than the pandemic. During the pandemic, a growing number of cities announced their plans to forge multi-modal sustainable urban mobility ecosystem, with public transport and active travel as a critical city-supported backbone, as well as electrification. To accomplish this goal, electrifying fleets provide a unique opportunity to scale change. 

By electrifying urban fleets, we can mitigate over 70% of mobility CO2 urban emissions, remove 50% of city air pollution, and electrify rides for everyone - making the electrification transition more effective and equitable. This is why we are excited to announce the launch of a collaborative umbrella network that will help sync and synergize related global initiatives: the Zero Emissions Urban Fleets (ZEUF) network.

The gradual EV transition to date, reaching just 8% by 2030, underlines that electrifying private vehicles won’t be quick enough to halt global warming below a 2 (let alone the desired 1.5) degrees increase. By electrifying fleets we can accelerate electrification by 3-4 times during this critical decade. Fleet operators and facilitators, from buses to microtransit, ride-hailing platforms, taxies, delivery vehicles, lease firms and fleet operators represent an increasing buying power and facilitators of urban fleets, capable of propelling a greater variety of zero emissions vehicles selection at a faster production rate. 

Moreover, fleet electrification extends to all types of users, making the transition more equitable than through privately owned EVs. The economic benefits from owning an EV are bigger for fleets than private users. Last, by combining electrification with shared and automated rides, we can further reduce carbon emissions from 4,600 to less than 700 megatons by 2050 while also accounting for increasing mobility demand. 

Despite the pandemic and its harsh impact on the transportation sector, multiple actors’ efforts to-date have borne fruits: Uber’s SPARK! report committed to 50% across 7 key cities by 2025,  Bolt, Free Now, Lyft, and Ola, have also announced commitments to rapid fleet electrification; LeasePlan has already achieved success, with 16.2% of all new deliveries being for EVs or plug-in hybrids; 31 cities to date announced plans for phasing out sales of internal combustion vehicles over the coming 1-2 decades, and more cities are designing zero-emission areas; city coalitions and IOs are providing structured support (e.g. C40, Polis Network under EC ReVeAl, OECD-ITF, WEF-GNMC) and NGOs advocate (e.g. T&E, WeMeanBusiness and Race to Zero). 

All of this will not be internalized without vehicle manufacturers' commitments to an all electric and net-zero carbon production in the immediate term. Luckily this too is being internalized: GM announced 30 EV models by 2025, Renault’s rEVolution on path for zero emissions of 2050 with a suite of EVs underway, and Daimler declaring carbon neutrality goal by 2039; The challenge has been accepted by private, public and third party actors. However, a synergic coordination of this positive energy is needed for ensuring commitments are aligned, lessons are iterated, and rapid scaling is paved.

The ZEUF network, initiated by the World Economic Forum in partnership with Uber, Free Now, LeasePlan, Door2Door, Blot, Lime, Voi, AEDIVE, Polis, T&E, The Climate Group, Race to Zero, and others, will convene relevant stakeholders periodically to facilitate informal know-how exchange and efforts coordination. ZEUF initiators will further work to increase awareness about fleet electrification benefits, instrumental partnership models, and adopted transition pathways. In 2021 these efforts will focus on placing European city actors on path to achieve a 50% and 100% electrification by 2025 and 2030, respectively. 

Join us!

The Zero Emissions Urban Fleets (ZEUF) is a network of stakeholders for accelerating urban fleets electrification, targeting 100% by 2030. Initiated by the World Economic Forum’s Global New Mobility Coalition in partnership with Uber, T&E, Free Now, LeasePlan, Door2Door, Lime, Blot, Voi, AEDIVE, Polis, EuroCities, The Climate Group, Race to Zero, and others, ZEUF is an open network that convenes periodically to facilitate informal know-how exchange and efforts coordination. 

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About the author

Saul Lopez's picture

Manager, E-mobility