Industry group seeks federal help for electric trucks


A new coalition of truck makers and electric-fueling players is asking Congress to spend billions of dollars to speed up the arrival of electric fleet trucks and charging infrastructure.

The National Zero-Emission Truck Coalition, which came together in June, has been exploring how the government could apply the kind of federal support that’s boosted electric passenger cars to big commercial vehicles reported E and E News.

“There’s no federal tool set to help us do that,” said Bill Van Amburg, a vice president at Calstart, a clean transportation nonprofit that convened the group.

In a letter to Republican and Democratic leaders, the coalition said that electric commercial vehicles would create jobs and address the threat of climate change.

“It also plays a key part in improving air quality, which is a big concern in our region,” said Michael Backstrom, the managing director of energy and environmental policy at Southern California Edison, one of two California utilities that joined the group.

The pandemic is accelerating a shift to electric trucks, as an explosion of online ordering by homebound consumers is coinciding with an embrace of the new technology by companies like UPS and Inc..

The industry group asks for the federal government to dedicate at least $2 billion to subsidize the making and deployment of electric fleet trucks over five years.

It seeks not a tax credit but a direct credit or other incentive at the point of sale to make the decision more compelling for fleet managers.

Any vehicle that has zero emissions would be eligible, including trucks running on batteries or hydrogen.

Further, the letter calls for a suspension of the federal excise tax on heavy-duty vehicles, and for using existing Department of Transportation and Federal Highway Administration programs to support electric vehicle-truck initiatives in states.

To stimulate EV infrastructure, the group seeks to beef up the tax credit for alternative fuel infrastructure. It would also employ a direct rebate by the Department of Energy and increase funding in research and development to the tune of $250 million a year.

The letter is signed by dozens of truck manufacturers and their suppliers.

They include a bevy of new pure e-truck companies like BYD Motors Inc., Arrival Ltd. and Rivian; industry heavyweights like Ford Motor Co., Navistar International Corp., Daimler Trucks North America LLC and Paccar Inc.; and traditional truck component suppliers including Cummins Inc., Eaton and Meritor Inc.

The letter is also signed by electricity suppliers such as ChargePoint Inc. and Greenlots, which is owned by oil giant Royal Dutch Shell PLC.

Source: E and E News