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What Would Electrifying All Vehicle Fleets Mean for Emissions?

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Jane Marsh's picture
Editor Environment.co

Jane Marsh is the Editor-in-Chief of Environment.co. She covers topics related to climate policy, sustainability, renewable energy and more.

  • Member since 2020
  • 79 items added with 60,223 views
  • Jul 5, 2022
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Electric cars are largely marketed to individual consumers. These drivers make up a large portion of the market, but they aren’t the only ones who need to be concerned with emissions. Buses and light-duty fleet vehicles represent approximately 21% of the cars on the road and more than one-quarter of all transport-related emissions.

What would electrifying all fleet vehicles mean for emissions?

Reducing CO2 Emissions

The first and perhaps most important impact of electrifying fleet vehicles is a substantial reduction in the amount of CO2 pollution generated every year. Switching to electric fleet vehicles could eliminate 3.2 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions by 2025. If EV adoption continues at the expected pace, it could cut upwards of 7.6 million metric tons of greenhouse gases.

Finding Uses for Secondhand EVs

There will be a secondary benefit if electrifying light-duty fleet vehicles takes off the way experts hope. These newly electrified fleets will produce a growing number of secondhand or used EVs, making them more accessible to consumers that might not have the means to purchase or finance a new model. This availability will serve to reduce residential transportation emissions as well as commercial ones.

Improving EV Charging Infrastructure

According to the Department of Energy, there were 46,000 public EV charging stations in the United States in April 2022. Most are in urban centers, leaving rural areas without an option for charging their EVs other than private stations installed in their homes. Electrifying fleet vehicles would create a demand for an improved charging infrastructure. If fleets are replaced with EVs at the rate experts hope to see, thousands of new public charging stations will need to be installed across the country to support commercial and residential needs.

Supporting Battery Innovation

New technologies always start expensive and become more affordable and accessible to the masses as time passes. Increasing the number of EVs on the road can help fuel battery innovation, reducing their prices and lowering the overall cost of electric vehicles, making them more accessible to individual drivers and fleet owners. This innovation could also help move the industry from relying on lithium-ion batteries, which could reduce the overall reliance on materials like lithium from China.

Combating Climate Change

Climate change is a looming threat. Experts believe that globally, the human race needs to reduce its CO2 emissions by 43% by 2030 and reach net zero by 2050. This reduction can limit global warming to 1.5 C, which will prevent a global crisis. Reducing the number of gasoline or diesel-powered fleet vehicles on the road can help countries reach these CO2 reduction goals. Individuals driving EVs don’t have nearly the same impact as companies swapping their gas-powered fleets for electric cars.

Improving Public Health

Public health is another major concern when swapping traditional fleet vehicles for EVs. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, pollution from cars with internal combustion engines is directly responsible for 40,000 premature deaths and more than 34,000 hospitalizations yearly. Switching to EVs helps eliminate the emissions that can cause these public health problems.

Creating an EV-Centric Future

Electric vehicles are the future of transportation. This technology is just as beneficial in a commercial environment with fleet vehicles as it is for consumers and their daily drivers. In addition to reducing companies’ carbon footprints, electrifying all fleet vehicles will help improve public health and contribute to the growth and expansion of the EV industry in commercial and residential circles.

Instead of looking at EVs as fancy toys for people to waste money on, companies need to start exploring these vehicles as an alternative or replacement for their traditional fleets.

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Matt Chester's picture
Matt Chester on Jul 5, 2022

Let's also not lose track that if we really want to reduce transportation sector emissions, alternatives to cars (even EVs) are more important than anything else-- fostering communities that can rely upon public transit, walking/biking, etc. 

Jim Stack's picture
Jim Stack on Jul 6, 2022

The benefits and cost savings of Electric Vehicles is really great. Every group I have talked with and advised can't believe how many ways they save from no oil changes to no transmission to the REGEN braking. No pollution is almost lose in the many other great things they get everyday. Also like cell phones and Laptop the cars keep getting better. 

Michael Keller's picture
Michael Keller on Jul 11, 2022

… and how much would it cost? Pretty good example of pie-in-the-sky environmental elitism that has no problem consigning today’s poor and the middle class to being economically worse off. All this economic destruction for what is essentially a religious belief. Namely, future generations are doomed because of atmospheric CO2 created by man.

 

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