Survey finds that access to specific zero emission vehicle models is more important than brand loyalty for major companies and fleet operators

A major alliance of large companies is calling on U.S. auto and truck manufacturers to produce new and more diverse zero emission vehicle models and to support the deployment of critical charging infrastructure and to actively collaborate to improve interoperability between vehicle brands and charging networks. 

In a letter released today, the Corporate Electric Vehicle Alliance, a group led by Ceres, urged manufacturers to expand their zero-emission model offerings, and shared the results of a recent internal survey of Alliance members, which showed that respondents plan to buy at least 377,750 U.S.-based, zero-emission vehicles in the next five purchase years — and 95% of them would switch vehicle manufacturers in order to get the specific capacity and features they need.

“Over the next few years, the accelerating demand for zero emission vehicles will be both substantial and specific,” said Sara Forni, senior manager of clean vehicles at Ceres, and leader of the Corporate Electric Vehicle Alliance. “Global car and truck manufacturers are already racing to fulfill company and consumer needs in new models. This is a critical moment if the U.S. industry hopes to compete on the global stage, and if we hope to drive zero emission vehicle deployment at the speed and scale necessary to meet the demands of the global climate and public health crises.”

The Alliance, which is made up of 28 members including Amazon, DHL, T-Mobile, Uber, and UNFI (United Natural Foods, Inc.), represent more than $1 trillion in annual revenue and collectively own, operate, or lease more than 1.3 million on-road vehicles in the U.S. alone.  Members represent a wide variety of industries including shipping and logistics, e-commerce, electric power, and telecommunications, and are committed to engaging in collaboration and leveraging industry and policy advocacy to drive radical change.

The survey collected information about range and other critical specifications, including minimum towing capacity, gross vehicle weight rating, and cargo capacity, for a variety of desired vehicle types and segments, including sedans, pick-up trucks, SUVs, box trucks and tractor trailers. 

The survey also found that roughly 51% of survey respondents’ planned charging will occur at a fleet depot, 30% at employees’ homes, and 20% on-route or while travelling. Companies need both vehicle models with sufficient battery capacity and strategically placed, cost-effective charging infrastructure in order to successfully electrify commercial fleets, particularly for long-haul and regional use cases and transportation network companies.

“The results from Ceres’ survey are reflective of a fundamental shift in the transportation market – it’s no longer a question of if we’re seeking an EV future in the United States– it’s happening right now,” said John DeBoer, head of Siemens eMobility solutions and Future Grid Business in North America. “With a goal of transitioning our own fleet to carbon neutral by 2030 and also deploying the next generation of electric vehicle charging infrastructure to support our customers and suppliers in their electrification journey, Siemens will continue championing an open and accessible EV charging infrastructure and the workforce needed to support it.”

“As states across the country consider adopting policies like California’s Advanced Clean Truck rule, manufacturers have a golden opportunity to get out ahead of any upcoming regulations,” Forni said. “Policies like the Advanced Clean Truck rule help drive availability of zero emission medium- and heavy-duty vehicles in the U.S., and have strong support from businesses, investors, and institutions.” 

“As a member of the Corporate Electric Vehicle Alliance, AT&T supports the transition to zero-emission vehicles,” said Charles Herget, AVP of Global Environmental Sustainability, AT&T. “We’ve committed to be carbon neutral across our global operations by 2035. To meet that goal, we’ve already reduced U.S. ground fleet emissions by 38% from our 2008 baseline, and we’re exploring the electrification of our vehicles to lower fleet emissions further. AT&T connectivity also plays a critical role in helping to optimize EV charging station performance and overcome EV range anxiety by making it easy for drivers to find and operate charging stations.”

“We understand that, in order to design and produce new ZEV [zero emission vehicle] models outside of your current production plans, you need strong evidence of customer demand and a clear business case,” the letter to manufacturers reads. “We’re hoping to provide just that. By demonstrating the significant demand among our members for existing, new, and diverse ZEV models, we hope to provide the proof points you need to fill gaps in the current market and meet the needs of some of your largest customers.”

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