Edison Electric Institute (EEI) recently recognized National Drive Electric Week by highlighting member companies that are leading by example on fleet electrification. Member companies have collectively reduced their carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions approximately 45% below 2005 levels, while keeping electricity reliable and affordable for customers.
Nearly 40% of U.S. power generation now comes from carbon-free sources. The EEI's member companies are charting clear paths forward that will leverage this growth in clean energy to help achieve deep carbon reductions in the transportation sector, which is the single largest source of greenhouse gas emissions at both the state and federal level — a key driver behind climate change and a major source of air pollution.
In 2014, the EEI's member companies committed to invest at least 5% of their annual vehicle fleet budgets in plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs) and technologies. This target quickly was eclipsed, with participating members investing 10% of their total budgets on average by 2015. In every year since, companies have consistently met or exceeded the investment target.
Building on this early success, more than 70% of EEI member companies — serving more than 200 million U.S. customers — have already made new fleet electrification commitments. Collectively, these new goals put the EEI's member companies on track to electrify more than one-third of their total fleet by 2030, including two-thirds of the passenger vehicles in their fleet.
"Carbon emissions in the power sector are at their lowest level in more than 30 years and they continue to fall," said EEI President Tom Kuhn. "As the transportation sector increasingly electrifies, it is also getting cleaner. National Drive Electric Week provides an opportunity to celebrate the clean energy progress we have made, while highlighting the new technologies and corporate commitments that are leading us forward."
"Our collective commitments to electrify our fleets both show our customers the path to clean transportation and send a clear message to automakers that our industry, and many others, are committed to an EV future," said Pedro Pizarro, Edison International president and CEO, and co-chair of the EEI's CEO task force on electric transportation.
Many company announcements also include targets for electrifying medium- and heavy-duty vehicles, which make up about 5% of all vehicles on U.S. roads but contribute 28% of all vehicle greenhouse gas emissions. Most vehicles in EEI member company fleets are work trucks. When these trucks are electrified, workers can operate bucket lifts, digger derricks, and work lights without idling the engine.
"Auto Innovators' members are leading the way in advancing technologies for vehicle electrification," said John Bozzella, Alliance for Automotive Innovation President and CEO. "Our members offer more than 40 electric models and that number is expected to more than triple by 2025. But putting EVs on the market is just part of the equation. Fleet purchasing commitments, such as these, are key to increasing consumer awareness, boosting market penetration, and aligning demand with the need for more charging infrastructure."
Today, the largest challenge facing the EV market is the charging infrastructure needed to support market growth, not the energy grid that powers that infrastructure. A report from the EEI and the Institute for Electric Innovation predicts that, by 2030, U.S. EV sales will exceed 3.5 million per year and that 18.7 million passenger EVs will be on U.S. roads, requiring about 9.6 million charging stations. Electric companies are partnering with many stakeholders to support the growth of EVs and to provide the needed charging infrastructure in cities and communities across the country.
"EVs improve air quality at work sites and in our local communities, and building out the charging infrastructure needed to electrify the transportation sector creates new job opportunities for our highly skilled workforce," said International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers International President Lonnie Stephenson.
As of the end of August 2020, the EEI's member companies are investing more than US$2.6 billion in customer programs and projects to deploy charging infrastructure and accelerate electric transportation. Investments from all stakeholders — including electric companies, automakers, and charging network providers — are growing and driving transportation electrification forward.
"The EEI's member companies are leading by example as they invest in EVs, charging infrastructure, and technologies that will enable them to greatly reduce carbon emissions from their own vehicle fleets," said Kuhn. "Across the country, electric companies are already transferring the lessons from their own experiences to help customers, large and small, develop the charging infrastructure they need to deploy EV fleets that will reduce costs and carbon emissions. This is a win-win for vehicle owners and for the environment."