The world is running against a climate-change deadline and governments are making commitments to do something about it.
Among many regulatory actions affecting the kinds of cars we drive – and will drive in years to come – various efforts are being made by agencies to themselves practice what is being mandated.
On that note, this month the Clean Energy Ministerial announced eight nations that have agreed to slash their own governmental fleet transportation and other greenhouse gas emissions.
These countries, Canada, China, France, Japan, Norway, Sweden, the United Kingdom, and the U.S., are signatories to Clean Energy Ministerial’s Electric Vehicles Initiative (CEM-EVI).
Their actions follow resolutions made in the Paris Declaration on Electro-Mobility and Climate Change and Call to Action at COP21 during the Lima-Paris Action Agenda (LPAA) Transport Focus.
This specifies at least 20 percent of all road transport vehicles globally should be plug-in hybrids, battery electric vehicles or hydrogen fuel cell by 2030 – if warming is to be limited to 2°C or less.
And that temperature rise threshold is the all-important one with predictions of coastlines and even whole islands threatened with flooding in a worse-case scenario.
Actions following the Paris Accord, says the CEM, are to curb worldwide average temperature to well below 2°C (3.6°F) above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5 °C (2.7°F) above pre-industrial levels.
The CEM says transportation sector greenhouse-gases emissions are otherwise anticipated to rise from today’s levels by nearly 20 percent by 2030 and close to 50 percent by 2050 unless major action is undertaken.
Ambitious goals include helping to facilitate the global deployment of 20 million plug-in hybrid, all-electric, and fuel cell vehicles by 2020 over the less than 2 million on the road today.
Following are takeaways from the various nations signed onto the Clean Energy Ministerial’s Electric Vehicles Initiative while they also encourge others to follow their lead.
The nation of Canada, whose car market is about a tenth the size of the U.S., had signed onto the COP21 along with 195 countries in December 2015.
Saying “leadership starts with government itself” Canada calls for reducing emissions from government operations by 40 percent by 2030 based on 2005 levels, while attempting to meet this goal as soon as 2025.
“The federal government will use cleaner energy and become more energy efficient across many areas — from buildings, to transportation, to buying more sustainable products,” says Canada’s representatives.
In 2014, the Chinese government promulgated the Implementation Plan for the Purchase of New Energy Vehicles by Government Organs and Public Institutions.
New energy vehicles are defined as Battery Electric Vehicles (BEVs), Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEVs), Fuel cell Electric Vehicles (FCEVs).
These accounted from 2014-2016 for at least 30 percent of annual new vehicles purchased by government departments, government organs and public institutions at the level of central government and this is mandated to increase.
The Implementation Plan further requires a minimum procurement by municipal and regional government organs and public institutions, and these too are on the rise.
The French State and its public bodies say when renewing their fleets they are committed to a minimum of 50-percent low CO2 emissions vehicles, mainly including BEVs and PHEVs. Local authorities in turn are required to at least 20 percent of the same.
This follows France’s adoption in 2015 of the Energy Transition for the Green Growth Act.
“This is expected to result in 5,000 low emission vehicles per year for the central government and its public bodies and 4,000 low emission vehicles per year for local authorities from 1st January 2017,” says France’s representatives.
By 2030, Japan says all government vehicles will be next-generation vehicles, except for where no alternative next-generation vehicles exist.
These include hybrid, electric, plug-in hybrid, fuel cell, clean diesel and compressed natural gas vehicles.
This action follows the Japanese Plan for Global Warming Countermeasures Related to Government Affairs
By 2020, the nation has the intermediate goal that approximately 40 percent of fleet – close to 9,000 vehicles out of 22,600 – will be composed of next-generation vehicles.
“This means that most of the governmental vehicles scheduled for renewal will need to be next-generation vehicles from now to 2020,” says Japan’s representatives.
In all, Japan calls for the increase to one million the total stock of electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles by its Road Map for the Dissemination of Electric and Plug-in Hybrid Vehicles
Much smaller than other nations involved, Norway represents an outsized proportion of commitment. Under ther Paris Agreement, it committed to 40 percent reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 compared with 1990 levels.
Its National Transport plan for 2018-2029 is being readied for Spring 2017, and meanwhile it was the fourth nation to buy 100,000 plug-in electrified vehicles.
Measures that contributed to this in a nation of just 5.1 million include numerous economic and other incentives. Plug-in electrified vehicles have no sales tax, no VAT, and reduced annual fee and reduced benefit tax for electric cars used as company cars.
Further, electrified vehicles may travel free on toll roads, and enjoy access to public transport lanes and free passage on ferries connecting national roads.
“The Swedish government has announced that Sweden will be one of the world’s first fossil- free welfare nations, and that in the long term our energy system will be based on 100 percent renewable energy,” says its representatives.
As such, it has launched government fleet incentives, including that agencies are forced to consider the environmental aspect in the procurement of vehicles, by purchasing electric vehicles or by using biofuels.
Also, electric buses recently received a subsidy program.
The Office for Low Emission Vehicles has a number of programs aimed at supporting the UK public sector in the uptake of ULEVs.
Also, a £5 million ($6.26 million) public ULEV readiness program is to bring 300 vehicles into the public fleet and support installation of recharging infrastructure.
A number of other inititives with money allocated are in place to see ULEVs in cities and sectors. To date 1,000 charge points have been government paid for.
Also in the works are fuel cell vehicles under the Hydrogen for Transport Advancement Programme (HyTAP), and £11 million program which is trialing 30 fuel cell electric vehicles in use by public sector bodies
United States of America
As things stand, in 2015 the Obama Administration saw aggressive targets set to reduce its federal greenhouse gas emissions 30 percent by 2025 and acquire 20 percent of all new passenger vehicles as zero emission (ZEV) or plug-in hybrid by 2020 and 50 percent by 2025.
The federal government has also partnered with state and local governments to make public commitments to fleet electrification.
Such collaboration is expected to aggregate demand and reduce purchase costs, while promoting electrified vehicle innovation and adoption and expand national electric vehicle infrastructure.
“Twenty-four state and local governments have joined the federal government to electrify our fleets,” says the U.S. reprentatives “These new commitments account for over 2,500 new electric vehicles in 2017 alone and help pave a path for a sustained level of purchases into the future.
“This builds upon prior commitment and action by forward leaning states and cities that have and continue to pursue fleet electrification.”