Need a school bus? There’s an electric vehicle for that.
Electric vehicles are great for gliding venture capitalists to weekend homes, but if you want a garbage truck or a dump truck you need the muscle of diesel, right? No, not anymore.
In the past you could only find petrol-powered versions of these workhorses. Now if you need a school bus, a cargo van, or a utility truck, there’s an electric vehicle for that. The technology is changing fast, so fast it’s hard to keep track. So a transportation nonprofit focused on clean tech launched a new online tool to tell cities and businesses what’s available.
CALSTART, based in Pasadena, California, made this tool after hearing from business leaders and city managers that they were having trouble figuring out what kinds of electric vehicles were on offer now or coming in the near future. Presumably, some are buying gas-powered vehicles because they think they have no other option.
“City officials need access to reliable information on the zero-emission vehicles coming to market,” said Cristina Miclea, of C40 Cities, an international network of cities focused on climate change, in a statement.
The shift to heavy electric vehicles has already begun. UPS recently commited to buying 10,000 electric delivery trucks and Amazon ordered 100,000-ish late last year. Los Angeles plans to make its buses electric by 2028, Ann Arbor, Michigan is aiming to make every city vehicle electric by the end of 2020, and Seattle just got the country’s first electric garbage truck. But the corporate giants and big cities making these strides have enough money to employ a sustainability officer — or a whole sustainability team — to research the options. For smaller towns and companies, it’s not so easy to figure out what new vehicles are on the market.
The new tool is pretty simple: You just pick the vehicle you are looking for, and the part of the world you are in, and it gives you a list of the models on offer, with links to the companies making them. It saves a lot of time that would otherwise be spent on internet searches.
This tool removes the objection that the right electric vehicles simply aren’t available when businesses and governments shop for their fleets. Of course, there are other considerations, like price, but there’s a tool for that, too.