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With its new zero-emission commitment, FedEx raises the bar on climate leadership

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Blog, Environmental Defense Fund

EDF's energy experts discuss how to accelerate the transition to a clean, low-carbon energy economy. Guided by science and economics, EDF tackles urgent threats with practical solutions. Founded...

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  • Mar 3, 2021

By Jason Mathers

The pace of vehicle electrification continues to pick up steam. The latest company to make a big splash is FedEx — the delivery behemoth with more than 80,000 vehicles in its fleet. The company announced its pickup and delivery fleet will include only zero-emission vehicles by 2040.

This is an important step forward, not just for FedEx, but for the delivery vehicle market in general. The delivery vehicle market is particularly ripe for electrification, with numerous vehicle options already on or coming to the market. Recognizing the readiness of the technology, delivery company customers are pushing for their fleet partners to embrace these vehicles.

FedEx’s action today is consistent with two decades of leadership to improve the environmental performance of trucks. Nearly 20 years ago, EDF and FedEx launched a partnership that included the first commercial hybrid fleet trucks and surpassed two million miles on the road. Our work together also highlighted the importance of national policy to scaling fuel-saving equipment and of corporate America’s voice in getting those policies enacted. FedEx used its political leverage to support efficiency standards for heavy trucks in 2007 and strong heavy-truck greenhouse gas emission standards in 2015. Now, it’s demonstrating the need to embrace zero-emission solutions.

This announcement is also a call to action for policymakers. The race to build and deploy zero-emission solutions has started. Manufacturers are investing billions of dollars and have more than 125 zero-emission truck and bus models in production, development or demonstration. Still, the current global market is dominated by manufacturers in China and, increasingly, Europe.

The United States needs to move fast to retain its global leadership position on truck manufacturing and fortify the tens of thousands of good paying jobs associated with this industry. We need federal policies now that recognize the need to move swiftly to build and deploy zero-emission trucks here in the United States. This includes ambitious federal standards — in full partnership with leading states — that deliver significant, multipollutant emission reductions and investments to build the charging infrastructure that will accelerate the adoption of these trucks.

It’s encouraging to see FedEx join with other fleets, including Walmart, to set ambitious zero-emission fleet goals. These companies are showing us what is possible. Other companies with large fleets, policymakers and utilities should take notice and embrace their part in bringing about our zero-emission future.

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