EPA recently proposed new standards to set limits on climate pollution from heavy-duty vehicles. These new standards will apply to freight trucks, buses, and tractors, and will consider the crucial role that zero-emitting vehicles (ZEVs) can play in reducing pollution.
The standards are eminently feasible thanks to historic investments from the Inflation Reduction Act and Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, manufacturer commitments to levels of new ZEV deployment that exceed EPA’s projections, and ongoing adoption of California’s Advanced Clean Trucks rule by states.
A 2022 study for EDF by Roush Industries, from before the Inflation Reduction Act, had found that most market segments of electric trucks and buses will reach upfront cost parity with diesel vehicles by 2027. An updated study considering the impact of the IRA shows accelerated purchase parity of these vehicles. The study estimates that in many heavy-duty vehicle segments battery-electric trucks are likely to have a total cost of operation cheaper than their traditional counterparts by 2024.
EPA also recently adopted a separate rule setting clean truck standards focused on pollutants that form smog and soot for model years 2027 and beyond.
Transition to ZEV trucks and buses
According to an EDF analysis, national standards that achieve 100 percent new ZEV sales by 2040 would:
- Avoid 224 million metric tons of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions every year by 2040 and eliminate tailpipe CO2 emissions from the heavy-duty fleet by 2050
- Reduce ozone-forming nitrogen oxides (NOx) pollution by more than 450,000 tons and harmful particulate pollution by nearly 9,000 tons every year by 2040
- Prevent as many as 2,600 premature deaths and 140,000 lost workdays each year by 2040 and as many as 57,000 premature deaths in total through 2050
- Provide our nation with up to $485 billion in health and environmental benefits.
Manufacturers and fleets are committed to ZEVs
Momentum for the transition to ZEVs is quickly building in the medium and heavy-duty sector. Manufacturers are committing to a zero-emission future and investing billions of dollars to bring ZEVs to market.
- Ford expects 50% of its global vehicle volume and 100% of its European vehicle volume to be fully electric by 2030 – this will be reached by producing 2 million EVs annually.
- Daimler announced a target that all new trucks and buses in North America will be carbon neutral by 2039 and has allocated $85 billion toward the goal.
- Stellantis aims for 100% of sales in Europe and 50% in the U.S. to be entirely from battery-electric vehicles.
- Volvo, owner of Mack Trucks, has said it aims to have 100% of its new truck and bus sales be fossil free by 2030.
- General Motors, which announced plans to eliminate tailpipe pollution from its passenger cars by 2035, plans to sell ZEV versions of all HD trucks by 2035.
- Navistar is investing $275 million in a San Antonio plant that will produce diesel and electric trucks, supporting 650 new jobs.
- Honda has committed to being carbon neutral by 2050 through electrifying its vehicle fleet and 100% ZEV sales by 2040 in North America.
Shippers and trucking fleets across the country are also embracing ZEV trucks. EDF has created an Electric Fleet Deployment and Commitment List to track their deployments and commitments. A few examples include:
- Walmart is targeting zero global operational emissions by 2040, including electrifying all long-haul trucks. It has ordered 5,000 BrightDrop electric vehicles.
- FedEx has pledged a 100% electric pick-up and delivery fleet and carbon-neutral operations by 2040.
- Amazon has ordered more than 100,000 electric delivery trucks from Rivian.
- FedEx has reserved 2,000 GM BrightDrop cargo vans with plans to add up to 20,000 more.
- Merchant Fleet expanded its order of BrightDrop electric vehicles to 18,000.
- February 2018: Supplemental comment from EDF on the proposed repeal of high-polluting glider vehicles standards, regarding concerns over TTU Study | Second Supplemental comment | Third Supplemental comment | Fourth Supplemental comment [PDF]
- January 2018: Comments from EDF and others on the proposed repeal of high-polluting glider vehicles standards* | Appendix A | Appendix B | Appendix C | Appendix D | Appendix E [PDF] *This document reflects non-substantive typographical corrections made post-submission
- May 2023: Impact of the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 on Medium- and Heavy-Duty Electrification Costs for MYs 2024 and 2027: Analysis conducted by Roush for EDF that assesses and quantifies the key impacts of the 2022 Inflation Reduction Act on the cost of electrifying medium and heavy-duty vehicles.
- July 2021: Medium-& Heavy-Duty Vehicles: Market Structure, Environmental Impact, and EV Readiness: Analysis conducted for EDF by M.J. Bradley and Associates that assesses the readiness of medium- and heavy-duty ZEVs in different applications.
- June 2021: Medium and Heavy Duty Zero Emissions Vehicle Supply Chain Analysis: EDF report that assesses the current supply chain for medium- and heavy-duty ZEVs.
- May 2021: Zero-Emission Bus and Truck Market in the United States and Canada: A 2020 Update: A follow-up to “Race to Zero,” updated analysis by EDF in collaboration with the International Council on Clean Transportation and Propulsion Québec. May 2021 Analysis.
- March 2021: Clean Trucks, Clean Air, American Jobs: Eliminating pollution from all new truck and buses by 2040 — and urban and community applications by 2035 — will save thousands of lives, cut climate pollution, and result in shared economic benefits: EDF analysis that estimates economic savings and reductions in climate and criteria emissions as a result of all new medium and heavy-duty vehicle sales being 100% ZEV by 2040.
- October 2020: Race to Zero: How manufacturers are positioned for zero emission commercial trucks and buses in North America: Joint analysis by EDF, the International Council on Clean Transportation, and Propulsion Quebec that looks at the cost and market feasibility of medium- and heavy-duty ZEVs.
- October 2016: Broad Support Across America for Phase II Greenhouse Gas and Fuel Economy Standards for Freight Trucks and Buses [PDF]
- February 2022: Clean Trucks, Clean Air, American Jobs: Summary of health burden of dirty trucks, the health and economic benefits of transition to ZEV trucks, fleet and manufacturer commitments to ZEVs, current deployments, and states taking the lead.
- February 2022: Electric Fleet Deployment and Commitment List: Fact Sheet. EDF generated Google sheet that will be updated periodically to reflect the latest medium- and heavy-duty fleet deployment and commitment numbers.
- August 2020: Accelerating to 100% Clean: Zero Emitting Vehicles Save Lives, Advance Justice, Create Jobs: A compilation of health studies related to near roadway air pollution and the benefits of electrification.
- August 2017: Trump Administration Rolling Back Freight Truck Standards that Save Money, Reduce Pollution
Blogs and Blog Posts
- August 2016: New Standards for Cleaner Freight Trucks – By the Numbers
- March 2016: Go Farther, Faster to Cut Truck Pollution
- August 2016: EDF Applauds Pollution Standards for Cleaner Freight Trucks
- February 2022: Medium and Heavy-duty Electrification Costs for MY2027-2030: EDF contracted with Roush Industries to conduct an evaluation of the cost of electrifying several medium/heavy-duty market segments.
- November 2020: Financing the Transition: Unlocking Capital to Electrify Truck and Bus Fleet: A report by EDF, M.J. Bradley and Associates and Vivid Economics that provides a toolkit of solutions that can help close the gap between traditional financing tools and what fleet owners need to make safe and sound financial decisions.