Businesses Call for North Carolina Governor to Maintain Momentum for Electric Trucks and Buses

June 30, 2021

Businesses Call for North Carolina Governor to Maintain Momentum for Electric Trucks and Buses

Businesses support further action by Gov. Cooper to electrify medium- and heavy-duty vehicles

Washington, D.C.— Dozens of businesses, including global vehicle manufacturing leaders, called for Gov. Roy Cooper to take further action to support the electrification of trucks and buses throughout North Carolina. The Electrification Coalition delivered a letter Wednesday signed by 33 businesses, asking the governor to advance additional policy measures to meet the commitments of 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 North Carolina will be zero-emission vehicles by 2030, and 100 percent by 2050.

Fifteen states, including North Carolina, have signed onto the agreement. To meet its targets, North Carolina must continue to move forward on policy actions such as purchase incentives, electrification of transit and school buses and investment in electric vehicle charging infrastructure.

“We applaud Gov. Cooper for taking the first steps by committing North Carolina to the multi-state agreement to electrify trucks and buses and funding the development of a clean transportation plan,” said Ben Prochazka, executive director of the Electrification Coalition. “It is now vital to build upon that work by taking the necessary actions to meet the objectives outlined in the MOU. Doing so will yield important benefits for the future of North Carolina and the American transportation industry.”

“The Volvo Group has committed to developing electric transport solutions across trucks, buses, construction equipment and even marine and industrial engines. With our North America Trucks headquarters located in Greensboro, we are advancing these solutions right here in North Carolina,” said Jonathan Miller, Senior Vice President of Public Affairs, Volvo Group North America. “North Carolina’s participation in the Multi-State Medium- and Heavy-Duty Zero Emission Vehicle MOU should be the impetus behind additional North Carolina policies to facilitate the deployment of zero-emission vehicles here. These investments are supporting good jobs, clean air, energy security and climate protection.”

Volvo Trucks North America has begun delivering its Volvo VNR Electric Class 8 truck model this year, and Mack Trucks has deployed a Mack LR Electric refuse truck in real-world operations in Hickory, N.C. The Volvo Group aims for its global product range to be fossil free by 2040. Other signatories on the letter to Gov. Cooper include Arrival, Amply, EVgo, Mack Trucks, Nestlé USA, Nova Bus, Proterra, Rivian, Siemens and other large and small businesses throughout the state.

Arrival, a global EV producer, will build its second American Microfactory in Charlotte, N.C. The Microfactory, a $41.2 million investment, will produce electric delivery vans and is expected to bring more than 250 new jobs to Charlotte and Mecklenburg County. The company is establishing its North American headquarters in Charlotte, adding about 150 new employees and investing approximately $3 million towards the company’s new offices in South End.

“Arrival is proud to make North Carolina our U.S. home, and it’s clear that North Carolina policymakers embrace the benefits EV manufacturing will bring to the state,” said Suzanne Merkelson, Arrival Public Policy and Government Affairs. “As we continue to grow in North America, we appreciate policy signals such as the Multi-State Medium- and Heavy-Duty MOU, which let us know that North Carolina is committed to a future of electrified transportation.”

In the letter to Gov. Cooper, businesses called for the following policy actions to maintain the momentum for medium- and heavy-duty (MHD) electrification the governor established by committing to the multi-state MOU:

  • Convene an MHD electrification working group that includes North Carolina’s largest commercial fleets.
  • Electrify public transit and school buses to provide clean, healthy ways for North Carolina’s residents to travel to and from school, work and home.

The letter also called for North Carolina’s support on the following strategies:

  • Incentives, utility investments and state targets that will support the adoption of electric trucks that travel along highways and through neighborhoods.
  • Investment in the development of MHD charging infrastructure to ensure that North Carolina does not miss out on the economic opportunities afforded by the electrification of transportation.

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. Transportation is the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in the United States. The country’s overwhelming dependence on oil has broad implications for public health, national security, the climate and the future of American manufacturing jobs.

“The transport of commercial goods cannot be overlooked as we seek ways to grow our economy, improve our energy security and reduce emissions,” said Mark Marcoplos, founder of Marcoplos Construction in Chapel Hill. “It’s time for us to accelerate the electrification of the medium- and heavy-duty trucks that businesses like mine rely on every day. I urge Gov. Cooper to enact policies that will position North Carolina as a leader in this transformation.”

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.

“We are seeing medium- and heavy-duty EVs driving a transformation in the energy sector, providing cost savings, reducing emissions and supporting grid optimization and resiliency,” said Anita Knight, senior manager of engineering and information services for Roanoke Electric Cooperative. “Here in rural North Carolina and beyond, we hope and expect to see more medium- and heavy-duty EV deployments, particularly with demand for online delivery and e-commerce continuing to grow.”

Conventional vehicles are a leading source of air pollutants that affect human health. Emissions from internal combustion engines contribute to the formation of ground-level ozone and are a major source of particulate matter, which can trigger health problems such as aggravated asthma, reduced lung capacity, lung cancer, heart attacks, increased susceptibility to pneumonia and bronchitis 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.

“As a small business owner, we want to have transportation that’s both reliable and good for the environment,” said Don Rains, owner of Community Hardware in Princeton. “Our wholesalers must move our inventory from their warehouse and our retail store. Electric trucks are win-win for North Carolina – they will benefit our economy and energy security while reducing emissions and improving public health.”

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 North Carolina alone, the annual benefits would include $1.6 billion in avoided health-impact costs, 141 premature deaths avoided, 2,384 asthma attacks avoided and 10,527 lost work days avoided.

“Electrification of trucks and buses is one critical step in decarbonizing and reducing pollution from our domestic supply chains, as well as reshoring manufacturing jobs and closing the trade gap,” said Robert Whitehead, president and CEO of North Carolina-based Green Arrow Labs, which helps manufacturers and retailers, including some of the largest clothing and sports brands in the world, assess and analyze the full impact their global suppliers, products and delivery channels have on human health and the environment.

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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.

Amy Malaki

Amy Malaki is the Director of Partnerships and Policy at SkyNRG and SkyNRG Americas, pioneering global leaders in sustainable aviation fuel production and supply. Prior to SkyNRG, Amy was the Associate Director for the transportation portfolio at the ClimateWorks Foundation where she developed philanthropic investment strategies to advance a sustainable, equitable and low-carbon mobility system. She also pioneered the organization’s international aviation decarbonization strategy. Prior to that she focused on Asia business development at Better Place, a Silicon Valley electric vehicle network startup. She has a B.A. in Chinese and China studies from the University of Washington and an M.A. in international policy studies (energy and environment) from Stanford University.