Take that, EV nay-sayers! As automakers prepare to meet with the new US regime to discuss watering down fuel efficiency regulations – which some fear is the first step to scaling back their EV programs – mayors of cities around the country have joined to demonstrate their interest in low-emission vehicles.
Thirty cities, including New York, Los Angeles and Chicago, jointly asked automakers for the cost and feasibility of providing 114,000 EVs – which would amount to around $10 billion, and would be equivalent to 72 percent of total US plug-in sales last year. The mayors expressed interest in police cruisers, street sweepers and trash haulers, said Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti (via Bloomberg), who is coordinating the effort.
Automakers have long argued that buyers aren’t interested in EVs (even though they seldom advertise them, and most auto dealers make little effort to sell them). They have devoted much effort (and money) to lobbying for federal CAFE regulations, which have the effect of forcing automakers to produce EVs, to be relaxed.
US carmakers currently offer 95 different hybrid and electric models, but Americans clearly prefer gas-guzzlers, said Wade Newton, a spokesman for the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers. “Combined, those [electrified] models were all outsold by a single model of pickup truck.”
The EV-loving mayors, mostly Democrats, want to demonstrate that demand for low-emission vehicles is strong. Los Angeles began organizing the effort for a joint EV order in late 2015. The request for proposals was sent to automakers earlier this year, and nearly 40 automakers, truck makers, bus makers and others have responded so far, according to Matt Petersen, Los Angeles Chief Sustainability Officer.
“No matter what President Trump does or what happens in Washington, cities will continue leading the way on tackling climate change,” Petersen told Bloomberg.
“Now more than ever there is a need for cities’ leadership on climate,” said Daniel Zarrilli, New York City’s Senior Director of Climate Policy and Programs. “We really want to send a message that there is a growing market for electric vehicles – regardless of what is happening in DC.”