In this article, we look at the Climate Group’s EV100 initiative that is focused on driving an accelerated transition to zero-emission vehicles globally.
Transportation is the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in the United States, accounting for 29% of all emissions. To be net zero by 2050, we must globally move towards zero-emission transportation—and fast. Businesses can make a significant impact in reducing global transportation emissions.
Based on findings from a recent report led by the Climate Group and SYSTEMIQ Ltd, businesses and governments around the world can switch their bus and light-duty fleets to electric by 2030, delivering transformational benefits for our climate, health, and infrastructure. Some benefits include cumulatively cutting 3 billion tonnes of CO2 emissions (equivalent to the annual emissions of India), growing the used EV market by 40%, and avoiding 120,000 premature deaths a year from transportation-related air pollution.
As businesses have a crucial role in reducing global transportation emissions, the Climate Group is determined to drive the necessary corporate change needed to accelerate climate action. And in a world where the climate is changing so drastically, harming all communities and populations, the Climate Group’s goal is a world of net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, with greater prosperity for all.
We had the chance to sit down with Vartan Badalian, the EV100 Program Manager at Climate Group, to learn more about EV100, an initiative that is driving an accelerated transition to zero-emission vehicles globally.
EVmatch: What is EV100?
Vartan: EV100 is a global initiative led by the international nonprofit the Climate Group, which brings together companies committed to making electric transport the new normal by 2030. Businesses must lead the shift to electric vehicles through their investment decisions and their influence on millions of staff and customers worldwide. Members are increasing demand, influencing policy, and driving mass electric vehicle adoption — helping to make electric cars more rapidly affordable for everyone.
Globally, EV100 has secured commitments from more than 110 companies with over five million vehicles committed to going electric and over 7,000 locations set to receive charging stations by 2030. Members include leaders like National Grid, ABB, Ikea, Siemens, Lyft, Genentech, Deloitte, AstraZeneca, and more.
EVmatch: What are the biggest steps that are needed to electrify transportation in the United States?
Vartan: Through our work with the world’s leading businesses on transitioning their fleets to electric by 2030, we are gaining clarity on what is needed to electrify a fleet and transportation overall. While it’s much more complicated than described here, these are some of the key components. We need an abundant supply of viable electric vehicles with long range (preferably above 300 miles) and a well established, reliable, and interoperable charging network of both Level 2 and Direct Current Fast Charging stations.
We are excited to see that in the U.S., so many auto manufacturers (including General Motors) have committed to going 100% electric by 2030 or 2035. We already have so many more electric vehicles available for purchase now compared to 2020 and 2019, so it’s clear the market is growing in the right direction. Additionally, it’s great to see such a strong interest to build out a reliable charging network, especially from the Biden-Harris Administration through President Biden’s goal of 500,000 new charging stations by 2030.
EVmatch: What are the biggest challenges to an electric vehicle transition?
Vartan: As you can imagine, we still have a long way to go in achieving 100% electric vehicle adoption. Based on findings from our 2021 EV100 Annual Progress and Insights Report, we see the top 5 barriers continue to be (1) lack of charging access, (2) lack of correct vehicle types, (3) high capital costs, (4) operational change impacts (e.g., time needed for charging), and (5) an uncertain, underdeveloped policy landscape. The most pressing barrier is the lack of charging infrastructure.
EVmatch: How can peer-to-peer charging networks help achieve our transportation electrification goals?
Vartan: I think peer-to-peer charging networks, like EVmatch, have a very important and unique role to play in improving charging and transportation electrification. By having the ability to be the “Airbnb” of electric vehicle charging, peer-to-peer charging networks offer the ability to greatly expand access to charging while also creating a functioning business model.
On top of that, charging station owners are more incentivized to keep charging stations operational as they can serve two functions: one for owner use and one for public/subscribers use. Such incentivization could improve the ability to find reliable and working chargers, as we see that is a major issue impacting the public charging networks.
EVmatch: Where do you see the most innovation occurring in the electric mobility industry?
Vartan: Innovation is happening across the industry, and it’s extremely hard to say where it’s happening most. But that is what’s so exciting about this space right now. We are literally transitioning to a new way of mobility, one that is better for our planet and ourselves. If I had to pick one, it would be in battery technology. We are seeing so much advancement in reducing battery costs, which are one of the biggest drivers in the cost of an electric vehicle.
Based on Bloomberg’s new 2021 Electric Vehicle Outlook, we are seeing lithium-ion battery pack prices falling immensely – down 89% from 2010 to 2020 – with a volume-weighted average of $137/kWh. The sweet spot where electric vehicles become cost comparable and cheaper than gasoline vehicles is below $100/kWh and BNEF expects that to hit by 2024, and that is truly some amazing innovation.
EVmatch: What motivated you to enter the world of electric mobility?
Vartan: When I was in my undergrad at SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry, I was studying Sustainable Energy Management. I knew I needed to do more with my education, so I went to law school at Lewis & Clark Law School to study environmental and energy law. It was at law school, around 2016, I realized that the transportation industry is going to go through a systematic change towards electrification.
This realization coincided with the beginning of the rise of and excitement for Tesla. Vehicles are so tangible, and we see them every day. I knew I wanted to make a positive difference in our climate, and upon seeing this opportunity build, it only made sense to go all-in and carve my place.
EVmatch: What’s your advice to young professionals entering or interested in the clean mobility industry?
Vartan: I would say right now is the time to be interested in clean mobility. The industry is surging and rightly so, because we have a limited amount of time to address climate change. I would recommend understanding and focusing on a specific part of the industry, whether that is the vehicle side, charging, etc., and striving to learn everything you can.
Understanding what the challenges are, where the successes are happening around the world, and so on will only improve your knowledge and value-add to the plethora of organizations focused on advancing electric vehicles.
If interested in learning more about EV100, please reach out to Vartan at firstname.lastname@example.org.