Businesses Call on Virginia Governor to Support Electric Trucks and Buses

April 14, 2021

Businesses Call on Virginia Governor to Support Electric Trucks and Buses

Forty-nine businesses urged Gov. Northam to join multi-state agreement to electrify medium- and heavy-duty vehicles

Washington, D.C.— Dozens of businesses, including vehicle manufacturing leaders, urged Gov. Ralph Northam to support the electrification of trucks and buses throughout the commonwealth Wednesday. The Electrification Coalition delivered a letter signed by 49 businesses, urging the governor to join in the Multi-State Medium- and Heavy-Duty Zero Emission Vehicle Memorandum of Understanding, pledging that at least 30 percent of all new trucks and buses sold in the commonwealth will be zero-emission vehicles by 2030, and 100 percent by 2050. Fifteen states and the District of Columbia have already signed onto the agreement.

“Volvo Trucks is committed to advancing electromobility, both globally and right here in Virginia,” said Peter Voorhoeve, president of Volvo Trucks North America. “Gov. Northam’s participation in the Multi-State Medium- and Heavy-Duty Zero Emission Vehicle MOU would send a strong message to the market that Virginia is ready for vehicle manufacturers to invest in and deploy zero-emission trucks here. These investments will bring good jobs, clean air, energy security and climate protection.”

Volvo Trucks North America is producing its VNR Electric Class 8 truck at its plant in Dublin, Va., and the company aims for its global product range to be fossil free by 2040. Other signatories on the letter to Gov. Northam include Amply, EVgo, Mack, Proterra, Rivian, Siemens, Nestlé USA, Sonny Merryman and more than 30 small businesses throughout the commonwealth.

“There is no question the future of human mobility, including buses, and global sustainability is electric, which is why we are so excited about our role in delivering the first electric school buses in Virginia,” said Floyd Merryman, President & CEO of the Sonny Merryman company, Virginia’s largest bus dealer. “Our company and customer partners are eager to deploy this transformational technology, and we encourage Gov. Northam to take appropriate actions to accelerate this transition. It is important for the health of the environment and the many thousands of students who ride our buses, and it will benefit all Virginians.”

The United States is the world’s largest consumer of petroleum, accounting for one-fifth of global daily supply; oil accounts for more than 90 percent of energy use in the U.S. transportation sector. The country’s overwhelming dependence on oil has broad implications for public health, energy security, the economy and the climate.

Robust public investment and regulatory reform along the EV supply chain has the potential to create more than 500,000 jobs across the United States over a five-year period, according to a report by the Electrification Coalition and Securing America’s Future Energy. Nearly 154,000 of those jobs would stem from incentives that make it less expensive to purchase medium- and heavy-duty EVs like trucks and buses.

Vehicles are a leading source of air pollutants that affect human health. Vehicle emissions contribute to the formation of ground-level ozone, which can trigger health problems such as aggravated asthma, reduced lung capacity and increased susceptibility to respiratory illnesses, including pneumonia and bronchitis. Transportation is also the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in the United States.

Motor vehicles, particularly those used for freight, are also a major source of particulate matter, which is linked to lung cancer, heart attacks and other health issues. Low-income and minority communities are more likely to be located near highways and other transportation facilities that lead to negative health effects resulting from vehicle emissions.

According to the American Lung Association, widespread adoption of electric vehicles by 2050 would result in an estimated savings of $72 billion per year in health costs nationally. In Virginia alone, the annual benefits would include $1.3 billion in avoided health-impact costs, 115 premature deaths avoided, 1,783 asthma attacks avoided and 8,189 lost work days avoided.

“We take a lot of pride in providing sustainable products to Virginians and customers across the country,” said Haden Polseno-Hensley, co-owner of Red Rooster Coffee Roaster, located in Floyd, Virginia. “We feel very strongly that the delivery of our coffee should also be sustainable, and we know that’s something our customers value, too. The electrification of trucks and buses is really important to us as a small business that relies on freight vehicles to move our products every day.”

 

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About the Electrification Coalition: The Electrification Coalition is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization committed to policies and actions that facilitate widespread deployment and adoption of plug-in electric vehicles (EVs) to combat the economic, public health, and national security threats posed by America’s dependence on oil. For more information, visit electrificationcoalition.org.