Six major U.S. utilities including American Electric Power, Dominion Energy, Duke Energy, Entergy Corporation, Southern Co., and the Tennessee Valley Authority, announced earlier this month that they are uniting to form the Electric Highway Coalition. The consortium of utilities will work in their respective territories to add DC fast chargers for electric vehicles (EVs) in convenient locations. It’s a sign that America is propelling closer to an electric future.
The group’s formation follows another promising indicator of an all-zero-emissions vehicle future: the November 2020 announcement of the Zero Emissions Transportation Association (ZETA). ZETA is “a new organization advocating for national policies that will enable 100 percent electric vehicle sales throughout the light-, medium-, and heavy-duty sectors by 2030.” The trade group – made up of major EV makers like Tesla, Rivian, Lordstown Motors, and Lucid, charging companies like Volta and EVgo, and rideshare giant Uber – is pushing for greater federal EV charging infrastructure funds. It is also advocating for EV-boosting policies like emissions targets and consumer incentives for EV drivers.
ZETA – comprised of 28 companies that employ hundreds of thousands of people across the country – says in a press release that it is “the first industry coalition of its kind calling for an accelerated transition to electric vehicles,” and that this “will create hundreds of thousands of new jobs, secure American global EV manufacturing leadership, dramatically improve public health and significantly reduce carbon pollution.”
“For the first time in a generation, transportation is the leading emitter of U.S. carbon emissions. By embracing EVs, federal policymakers can help drive innovation, create hundreds of thousands of new jobs and improve air quality and public health,” said Executive Director of ZETA Joe Britton in the release. “ZETA’s formation recognizes a pivotal moment for national leadership and reflects the will of the growing clean transportation sector.”
The coalition calls for five integral pillars of policy that it says can together work with the U.S. to get on track to total EV adoption by 2030. These include:
• Outcome-driven consumer EV incentives
• Emissions/performance standards enabling full electrification by 2030
• Infrastructure investments
• Domestic manufacturing
• Federal leadership and cooperation with sub-national entities
“The next decade will be critical in implementing federal policies that accelerate the transition to zero emissions vehicles and help address these problems head-on,” added Britton. “The clean vehicle sector already boasts hundreds of thousands of jobs but, if we encourage its growth, the United States can decisively win the global race to develop a new clean transportation economy and employ hundreds of thousands of Americans right here at home.”
EV trade groups like ZETA can help move the dial on electrifying America’s auto industry by encouraging lawmakers to codify an EV adoption-accelerating policy. ZETA’s formation and its influential member companies could be an indicator that other similar initiatives may soon emerge.
As Bloomberg reports, ZETA is not the only group of companies that have joined forces to work in concert with the Biden Administration’s sustainability initiatives. Outside of the auto sector, the American Clean Power Association launched in February and is comprised of some of the Nation’s largest clean energy corporations such as Berkshire Hathaway Energy and NextEra Energy Inc. It has a goal of “uniting the power of America’s renewable energy industry to advance our shared goals and to transform the U.S. power grid to an affordable, reliable and clean power system.”