Businesses grasp electric vehicle opportunity to tackle air pollution and rising transport emissions

Reading time: 3 minutes
10 December 2018
  • BT Group, E.ON, Schenker AG, Ontario Power Generation and Genesis Energy commit to large-scale electrification of their fleets by 2030  
  • Biggest buyers of cars take lead in tackling transport emissions
  • Calls for faster action on electric transport globally

Katowice, Poland: Businesses are outpacing national governments in rolling out zero emission vehicles across Europe, North America and New Zealand, The Climate Group said today as another five leading companies joined its corporate leadership initiative EV100 and pledged to electrification of their fleets by 2030.

British telecommunications giant BT Group, European energy company E.ON and logistics company Schenker AG, Canadian Ontario Power Generation (OPG) and New Zealand’s Genesis Energy, have all signed up to EV100, which aims to make electric transport ‘the new normal’ by 2030.

These businesses are delivering certainty and direction for global electric vehicle markets by stepping up through their purchasing decisions and influence over millions of staff and customers. With Brexit presenting uncertainty in the UK, the US Administration questioning subsidies for electric vehicles (EVs), and Germany two years behind its target of one million EVs on the road by 2020, business action is accelerating the pace in driving down transport emissions.

The new commitments follow an announcement by Volkswagen AG last week that it is moving to producing only electric vehicles by 2026. 14 countries have also made such commitments to date, but with target dates ranging from 2021 to 2050.

Helen Clarkson, CEO, The Climate Group, said: “Forward-thinking companies are forging ahead on electric vehicles to demonstrate leadership, reduce their emissions, and ready their business operations for a low-carbon economy. Despite uncertain times internationally the economic opportunities are vast, and business is simply getting on with it.

“These ambitious commitments will help to tackle air pollution in our towns and cities and channel investment into smarter energy infrastructure. Every major company – and government – should be switching to electric transport.”

Commercial fleets represent an increasing number of vehicles on the road. According to the European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association (ACEA), the first 10 months of 2018 saw a 3.9% increase in the European Union, bringing more than two million new vehicles onto the road.

Electromobility is currently a focus of the COP24 climate negotiations in Katowice, Poland, where last week more than 40 countries signed an EV declaration championing EV100 and calling for increased business and government collaboration in accelerating the roll-out of electric transport.

BT Group

Telecommunications company BT Group has a fleet of approximately 34,000 vehicles, ranging from cars to heavy goods vehicles, including 25,000 in its Openreach network engineering business. BT aims to convert its vehicles to EVs where this is the best technical and economic solution and pursue other ultra-low emission solutions where electric vehicles are not viable.

Working towards the EV100 goal will help BT to achieve its science-based targets, specifically to reduce its direct emissions intensity by 87% by 2030 compared to 2016/17, and to become net-zero by 2045. The company is already committed to source 100% renewable electricity through its membership of RE100.  

Andy Wales, Chief Digital Impact and Sustainability Officer, BT Group said:

“At BT, we have committed to net zero carbon emissions by 2045. Joining EV100 is an important step to help achieve that goal. We recognize that we are dependent on the right vehicles and charging infrastructure becoming available at scale and being part of the EV100 movement helps drive that change.”

E.ON

E.ON is a leading European energy company. Its EV100 commitment will see the company switch its entire fleet to electric and install charging stations across 100 office sites for staff, guest and customer to use, building on the 400 charge points already introduced. Through its electric mobility brand E.ON Drive, E.ON provides smart charging infrastructure for its customers in more than 10 European countries and builds a Ultra-Fast charging network across Europe from Trondheim to Rome.

Andreas Pfeiffer, Global Domain Head E-Mobility, E.ON, said:

“We are convinced, that electric corporate mobility will accelerate the general breakthrough of E-Mobility. We heavily invest to support our business customer to make this conversion possible in a way that electric vehicles will even become part of the future energy system.”

 Schenker AG

German freight logistics operator Schenker AG will transition its fleet according to EV100 provisions to electric, covering 250 vehicles, as well as provide electric bikes for its 17,000 employees in Germany. The company will – as soon as there is significant market penetration - require electric vehicle shares in its service contracts, which as a first step will see Schenker AG provide subcontractors with funding information and learnings from its own fleet.

Andrea Dorthea Schoen, Climate Protection Management, Schenker AG said: “We want to be an active part of the transformation of the freight transport sector towards innovative, low emission and sustainable logistics services.”

Ontario Power Generation (OPG)

Ontario Power Generation is Ontario’s largest clean energy generator, and more than 99% of its power is free of smog and carbon emissions. To reach its EV100 target, the company will transition its fleet of over 400 vehicles, where technically and economically feasible, by 2030. It will also install 100 charging points across its sites. The company estimates savings of 1,000 tonnes of CO2 and more than $500,000 in fuel savings annually, from 2030 onwards.

Having implemented North America’s largest climate change action to date with its coal closures, OPG hopes to help decarbonize Ontario’s transportation and other sectors by promoting electrification. OPG forecasts 25-45% of Ontario’s electricity demand growth over the next 20 years could come from an increased number of electric vehicles on the road, and OPG will be at the forefront of this shift.

Jeff Lyash, President & CEO, Ontario Power Generation, said:

“Our current mix of power is diverse, secure, and among the least carbon-intensive in the world at a cost that is very competitive. All of this gives Ontario a strong platform to use its clean electricity to replace carbon-heavy power sources in other industries, like the transportation sector, which is currently Ontario’s largest emitter of greenhouse gas emissions.”

Genesis Energy

New Zealand’s Genesis Energy will shift its fleet of 86 light and 82 heavy vehicles to electric. The company has already transitioned 41% of its light duty fleet and is aiming for 100% of light vehicles to be electric/hybrid by 2020 and 50% of its heavy vehicles to be electric/hybrid by 2025. Genesis Energy is also actively encouraging its staff to use electric vehicles by offering discounts, highlighting charging points available on site, and installing charging stations at strategic sites throughout its network.

Marc England, CEO, Genesis Energy, said: “In New Zealand, we have a unique carbon emissions profile where 85% of what we generate comes from renewable sources. That means our electric cars will be mostly powered by renewable energy too – which makes switching to EVs a straightforward decision, especially for an energy company. We’re really happy with our progress so far, with almost half our light vehicle fleet already electric. Our main challenge will be around finding the right heavy vehicles for our LPG delivery fleet to meet the unique demands we have for them – and we’re intending to trial two electric LPG trucks during 2019”.

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