Governments at the national, state and regional, and city level from around the world are leading the transition to zero emission vehicles (ZEVs). Realising the benefits that ZEVs bring not only to the climate, but to economic and public health systems, governments are developing and delivering solutions to tackle one of the largest contributors to greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution globally – the transport sector.
Through the Under2 Coalition’s ZEV Community – a project that brings together all levels of government to share and learn about ZEV initiatives – a new peer forum has been launched.
The ZEV Community Forums create an engaging space for governments to build connections and identify opportunities for collaboration, have meaningful discussions on how to overcome challenges and brainstorm solutions for the transition to ZEVs. Together with support from facilitation experts Edge Effects, the forums involve a variety of innovative virtual workshop methods to inspire positive change.
The first round of forums took place in December 2020 with participants from European, North American and Latin American governments working across various departments and agencies such as transport, climate change and air quality. The diversity of expertise in the group, from policy implementation to technical knowledge has contributed to insightful exchanges and sharing of experiences.
The series ZEVs for a green economy addresses the role of ZEVs in post-COVID-19 economic recovery, including how governments can ensure a just transition, both financially and in terms of job creation and reskilling of the automotive sector.
During the first forum, governments discussed common challenges and opportunities to make electric vehicles accessible and affordable in an equitable manner, how to change perceptions and create networks that ensure a just transition towards a sustainable transport system.
Some of the main conclusions were:
- governments are facing similar challenges, there are more commonalities and synergies across different jurisdictions than differences
- all issues need to be progressed together as an integrated system, and increasing public awareness is essential to progress the transition
- solutions don’t need to come from governments at the same level – lessons can be learned between governments across city, state and national levels
- equity and a just transition, including accessibility, are a major focus and a global issue
- peer networks are essential to enable learning from one another.
The series ZEV technologies and supply chains addresses the transition to zero emission heavy-duty and other specialised vehicles, including the role of hydrogen and how governments can ensure sustainable supply chains. During the first forum, governments discussed experiences around supporting the electrification of heavy-duty vehicles, how to scale charging infrastructure networks and assess local risks, as well as the development of crucial public-private partnerships.
Some of the main conclusions were:
- governments are all facing similar challenges, although they might present differently in each jurisdiction
- there isn’t one single solution for all – there is a need for tailored approaches and innovative, viable financing and business models
- engagement with multiple public and private stakeholders will help make a strong business case
- governments should lead by example, converting their own fleets to attract investment and increase awareness
- greater understanding of the sustainability of the supply chain is needed, from the mining of mineral resources to the supply of vehicles and the recycling of batteries.
Participants recognised and highlighted the benefits of coming together in a platform where they can learn across different jurisdictions, support and encourage each other. They expressed leaving the forums energised for the journey ahead. The discussions showed that similar challenges are being faced by governments around the world, despite the varying contexts.
The decarbonisation of the transport sector is vital to achieving the wider global vision of a net zero world. Ambitious targets and progressive policies are being set all over the world, creating momentum and highlighting the urgent need for action.
By encouraging collaboration and the exchange of best practices, the ZEV Community hopes to support governments in overcoming challenges faced in the ZEV transition, developing the partnerships needed to succeed and accelerating policy development in their jurisdiction.