Virginia Joins Agreement to Electrify Trucks and Buses

Gov. Ralph Northam signed a multi-state agreement to hit ambitious sales targets for electric medium- and heavy-duty vehicles

Virginia Governor Ralph Northam addresses the EC's Medium- and Heavy-Duty EV Bootcamp
Gov Ralph Northam

Washington, D.C.— Governor Ralph Northam signed onto a multi-state agreement Thursday to accelerate the electrification of medium- and heavy-duty vehicles, 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. Virginia joins 15 other states and the District of Columbia as signatories on the Multi-State Medium- and Heavy-Duty Zero Emission Vehicle Memorandum of Understanding.

Northam made the announcement Thursday morning via pre-recorded video at an online event hosted by the Electrification Coalition, convening stakeholders from across Virginia for in-depth discussions on the manufacture, deployment and adoption of medium- and heavy-duty electric vehicles throughout the commonwealth.

“One of the best ways to reduce transportation pollution is to plug our transportation system into our electric grid – this is vital to maintaining Virginia’s place as an economic, cultural and environmental leader,” Northam said. “We’ve heard from many of you – transportation businesses, major retailers, environmental and health advocates – how important it is to send this signal that Virginia is open for the business of clean transportation. This agreement will ensure that our state agencies work with peers across the country to identify best practices and elevate the best policy solutions to meet the goals of the MOU, including 100% electric trucks and buses by 2050.”

In April, the Electrification Coalition delivered a letter signed by 47 businesses, urging Virginia to join the agreement, in recognition of the public health, national security and economic risks that stem from the transportation sector’s dependence on oil. Signatories on the letter to Gov. Northam included Amply, EVgo, Mack, Proterra, Rivian, Siemens, Volvo Group North America, Nestlé USA, Sonny Merryman and more than 30 small businesses throughout the commonwealth.

“We applaud the Commonwealth of Virginia for joining the agreement to electrify trucks and buses,” said Ben Prochazka, executive director of the Electrification Coalition. “States are playing a vital role in the work to transform our transportation system, and Virginia’s participation in this commitment represents a substantial boost to our momentum.”

Motor vehicles, particularly those used for freight, emit harmful pollutants linked to negative health effects, including asthma, chronic bronchitis, heart attacks and lung cancer. Low-income and minority communities are more likely to be located near highways and facilities that are major sources of transportation pollution from medium- and heavy-duty vehicles. According to the American Lung Association, widespread adoption of electric vehicles by 2050 would result in annual estimated savings of $1.3 billion in health costs in Virginia and would prevent 115 premature deaths, 1,783 asthma attacks, and 8,189 lost work days per year.

“Over the past four years we’ve been ranked among the top states in the policies and actions we’ve taken to advance electric transportation. We’ve dedicated funding to communities burdened by pollution. As a doctor, I know all too well how tackling pollution isn’t just a good climate choice – it’s an investment in public health,” Northam said.

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, and transportation is the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in the United States.

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.

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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.