Clean trucks such as the Tesla Semi are needed now more than ever. According to Popular Mechanics, in 2016, there were at least 2.8 million semi trucks registered in the US. Paul Billings from the American Lung Association told The New York Times, “Trucks remain a major source of pollution that creates smog, and smog is linked with coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath, and can cause asthma and premature death.”
Despite the fact that COVID-19 has more people staying home, GreenBiz reports that larger polluters are exploiting the pandemic to attack vital environmental rules. They pressure government agencies for regulatory delays and rollbacks, and also to try to weaken enforcement. GreenBiz points out that a major target of their lobbying is the Advanced Clean Trucks rule, which aims to put clean, zero-emission trucks on California’s roads in 2024.
The type of symptoms caused by smog may sound familiar, since they are also symptoms of COVID-19. In fact, studies have shown those living in more polluted cities have had more cases with the virus — perhaps due to smog. Research shows that almost 80% of COVID-19 deaths across four countries were in heavily polluted regions.
Other large vehicles that put out more pollution than regular cars include emergency vehicles such as fire trucks and ambulances. There are also buses — such as school buses and even Greyhound buses. We have some established electric bus companies, such as Proterra, that are manufacturing clean, zero-emissions buses, but we still have a ways to go. One of the many challenges is the cost of making these vehicles. We’re getting there, though. As battery and electric powertrain costs come down, they benefit electric vehicles across all classes.
The great thing is that there are more electric cars on the road today than there were a few years ago, and as Tesla and other companies continue to have success in these industries, more automakers and other vehicle manufacturers will notice that the trend is in favor of electrification and cleaner vehicles.
We need these vehicles today, more than ever, due to the ill effects of diseases such as asthma (which almost killed me when I was younger), lung cancer, and even the coronavirus currently wreaking havoc on our world.