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Published on January 27th, 2020 | by Zachary Shahan


Amazon, AT&T, IKEA, Clif Bar, DHL, & Others Launch “Corporate Electric Vehicle Alliance”

January 27th, 2020 by  

When we think about the need for the world to go electric, we generally think about the need for people — individual humans — to go electric. However, more than half of the vehicles on US roads are vehicles from corporate fleets, according to Ceres, a nonprofit investor coalition representing $11 trillion that is focused on sustainability matters.

To more broadly, effectively, and efficiently electrify transport in corporate fleets, Ceres brought together approximately a dozen major names in the world of business and formed the Corporate Electric Vehicle Alliance (CEVA). The goal, simply put, is to help companies accelerate their transition to electric vehicles.

One important aspect of corporate vehicle ownership is that businesses typically give a lot more consideration to total cost of ownership. Whereas Joe Shmoe or Zach Smack may pretend to be rational but really buy a car because it’s pretty or he liked the car’s TV commercials, someone tasked with buying tens, hundreds, or thousands of vehicles for business use is much more likely to pull up a spreadsheet; make the best assumptions possible regarding fuel costs, miles driven, resale value, etc.; and try to make a decision that fits the companies needs at the lowest cost. As I’ve written many times, electric vehicles have big benefits when it comes to operational costs and long-term value that lead to much more competitive total cost of ownership than people typically presume. The Tesla Model 3 is our main car of focus for such comparisons, but there are additional competitive models and the industry trends hint at a coming tsunami of EV competitiveness across dozens of models.

So, it shouldn’t be too hard at this point to both do the right thing and save money. Electric vehicles also improve safety.

As indicated in the headline, initial partners include Amazon, AT&T, IKEA, Clif Bar, and DHL. Also on the banner of “flagship members” are Consumers Energy, Direct Energy, LeasePlan, Genentech, Siemens, and Lime. What do flagship members get and give for their involvement? “The Corporate Electric Vehicle Alliance will help member companies make and achieve bold commitments to fleet electrification, and is expected to boost the electric vehicle market by signaling the breadth and scale of corporate demand for electric vehicles — expanding the business case for the production of a more diverse array of electric vehicle models,” Ceres writes. “It will also provide a platform to coordinate support for policies that enable fleet electrification.”

Furthermore, the organization notes that there is not a broad enough variety of EV models and certainly not the volume of production/supply needed to bring about compelling economies of scale. “Ceres launched the Corporate Electric Vehicle Alliance to address the fact that the electric vehicle market is advancing, but not fast enough to meet the needs of every company. Automakers are not producing the necessary range of light-, medium-, and heavy-duty electric vehicle models at the economies of scale many fleet operators need. There are also opportunities for an improved state and federal policy landscape to accelerate development and deployment of electric vehicles and infrastructure at scale.

“The Corporate Electric Vehicle Alliance helps address these challenges by providing a platform for members to collaborate to identify challenges and potential solutions, and to leverage aggregate corporate demand to:

  • Expand production of new and increased volumes of electric vehicle models,
  • Grow the electric vehicle market and improve economies of scale,
  • Encourage the adoption of supportive policies and the removal of policy barriers, and
  • Foster peer-to-peer learning by sharing industry best practices.”

That sounds like a noble vision with a practical approach. As with many things, it comes down to implementation, but Ceres has the connections, influence, and business savvy to genuinely step on the accelerator pedal and help the industry move forward more rapidly.

Announcing the news, executives from the flagship member companies had some nice things to say about the new alliance (total shocker).

Kara Hurst, Head of Worldwide Sustainability at Amazon: “As part of The Climate Pledge, which includes the purchase of 100,000 Rivian electric delivery vans and a commitment to deliver 50% of shipments with net zero carbon by 2030, we are pursuing the highest standards in transportation sustainability. But we can’t get there alone. We’re looking forward to working with fellow Corporate Electric Vehicle Alliance members to share best practices to remove carbon emissions from our transportation business.”

Elysa Hammond, Vice President of Environmental Stewardship, Clif Bar & Company: “We’re working to reduce our ecological footprint in everything we do, from field to final product – and that includes transportation, the largest source of carbon emissions in the U.S. We’ve committed to electrifying our fleet, supporting our employees transition their own cars, and working with other companies to accelerate the shift to electric vehicles. Carbon emissions need to be cut, and there’s no time for the slow lane.”

Mike Parra, CEO, DHL Express Americas: “DHL is very excited to be joining the Corporate Electric Vehicle Alliance as a founding member. As part of our commitment to achieve net zero emissions from transport activities by 2050 globally, we have set the ambitious interim target of performing 70% of first- and last-mile operations with green vehicles by 2025.”

You can join the alliance right here. You can read the perspective of other flaship members, head over here.

Image courtesy Ceres

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About the Author

is tryin' to help society help itself one word at a time. He spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as its director, chief editor, and CEO. Zach is recognized globally as an electric vehicle, solar energy, and energy storage expert. He has presented about cleantech at conferences in India, the UAE, Ukraine, Poland, Germany, the Netherlands, the USA, Canada, and Curaçao. Zach has long-term investments in Tesla [TSLA] — after years of covering solar and EVs, he simply has a lot of faith in this company and feels like it is a good cleantech company to invest in. But he does not offer (explicitly or implicitly) investment advice of any sort on Tesla or any other company.

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