Padilla, Whitehouse, Clean Heavy-Duty Vehicle Industry Leaders Call on EPA to Finalize Strong Emissions Rule

WATCH: Padilla pushes for finalization of strong emissions rule by early 2024

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, U.S. Senators Alex Padilla (D-Calif.) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) and leaders from the heavy-duty vehicle industry called on the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to finalize the strongest possible Phase 3 heavy-duty vehicles emissions rule by early 2024. The Senators were joined by industry leaders including Forum Mobility CEO Matt LeDucq, InCharge Chief Technology Officer Nikolas Runge, Lion Electric Senior Vice President of Commercial Development Nate Baguio, TeraWatt Infrastructure Senior Policy Manager Sam Vercellotti, and Workhorse Vice President of Government Affairs Ben Drake. The press conference was convened by transportation nonprofit CALSTART.

Despite making up only 10 percent of all vehicles on the road, heavy-duty vehicles produce over a quarter of the transportation sector’s greenhouse gas emissions, almost half of its nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions, and over half of all particulate matter emissions. As government officials head to the 2023 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP28) this week, a strong EPA Phase 3 rule is a crucial opportunity for the United States to make major progress toward the Global MOU on Zero-Emission Medium- and Heavy-Duty Vehicles that the U.S. signed last year at COP27. 

“A 100 percent zero-emission heavy-duty vehicle future is not only feasible, but essential. California has successfully brought truck and engine manufacturers to the table because they know zero-emission infrastructure is good for our communities and good for business,” said Senator Padilla. “As the EPA finalizes their Phase 3 rule, I urge them to seize this chance to transform our transportation sector and safeguard clean air for all, including for the Black and Brown communities who are disproportionately impacted by air pollution from trucks. The health of our planet and our people depends on it.”

“The transportation sector is the largest source of carbon pollution in the U.S.  Tailpipe pollution threatens public health and impedes our efforts to lead the planet to climate safety,” said Senator Whitehouse.  “I urge the EPA to swiftly implement the strongest possible greenhouse gas emission standards for heavy-duty vehicles.  Doing so is good for the environment and will help make good on our global commitment to shift to zero-emission medium- and heavy-duty vehicles in the next decade.”

“Forum Mobility is building charging infrastructure to support the transition to zero emission freight — we have trucks on the road today and are seeing positive impacts to our customers’ business,” said Matt LeDucq, CEO, Forum Mobility. “This is a generational change, and we need to scale resources and support to ensure that no one is left behind. Done right, success will mean both cleaner air for our communities, and lower cost per mile for truckers.”

“The technology needed for electrification of medium- and heavy-duty fleets exists today. Our team equips fleet managers with charging hardware, software, and services designed and engineered specifically for commercial fleets, such as service-dispatch-integrated software and electricity load management,” said Nikolas Runge, CTO at InCharge Energy. “But technology alone is not enough to drive forward large-scale emissions reductions. Smart rules and regulations send clear market signals, helping accelerate America’s clean infrastructure transition.”

“It is critical for the EPA to establish strict Greenhouse Gas Emissions (GHG) standards to advance the transition from diesel-fueled trucks and school buses to clean, all-electric medium and heavy-duty vehicles. Setting guidelines will contribute to the nation’s economic prosperity, reduce carbonization and benefit all communities, including disadvantaged ones, which research shows are adversely impacted by pollution,” said Nate A. Baguio, Senior Vice President of Commercial Development at Lion Electric.

“The EPA should feel confident in finalizing a strong Phase 3 heavy-duty vehicle emissions regulation as the buildout of charging infrastructure to support this transition is already underway, and will accelerate to meet demand,” said Sam Vercellotti, Senior Policy Manager at TeraWatt Infrastructure. “A strong rule will send signals to the private sector that now is the time to rapidly deploy heavy-duty charging infrastructure. With a site portfolio spanning 18 states, TeraWatt is committed to meeting the charging needs of fleets as they electrify.”

“As an all-electric OEM, Workhorse fully supports an Advanced Clean Truck (ACT) aligned EPA standard, enabling fleet owners and operators to realize the fuel cost and maintenance savings from commercial EVs,” said Rick Dauch, CEO, Workhorse. “Standards alignment will simplify operations for U.S. fleet owners and have an outsized impact reducing emissions since medium- and heavy-duty vehicles account for 5 percent of total U.S. vehicles while generating 24 percent of emissions.”

“Trucking is central to the U.S. economy – but heavy duty vehicles emit the greatest amount of harmful pollutants of all vehicles on the road,” said Trisha Dello Iacono of CALSTART. “As you heard from industry directly, we are ready to meet this climate challenge, we have the technology and the know-how, and we are asking the Biden Administration to provide the critical market certainty of the most stringent Phase 3 heavy-duty vehicles rule, aligned with the Advanced Clean Trucks rule.” 

California and industry manufacturers have led substantial efforts to facilitate a successful transition from old, high-polluting, heavy-duty diesel vehicles toward zero-emission vehicles across the nation. In July, the California Air Resources Board and the Truck and Engine Manufacturers Association (EMA) reached a historic agreement to achieve 100 percent zero-emission heavy-duty vehicle sales in California by 2036. As part of this agreement, EMA committed to increase their efforts to sell clean trucks and support zero-emission vehicle infrastructure in California and in other states that adopt California’s ambitious rules. The EPA must build on this historic achievement and accelerate this progress nationwide to achieve a zero-emission commercial vehicle future.

Senator Padilla has consistently fought for emissions reductions in the transportation sector. In September, he led 80 of his colleagues in writing a bicameral letter to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), urging the agency to finalize the strongest feasible greenhouse gas emission standards for heavy-duty vehicles as part of their Phase 3 rule. Earlier this year, Padilla and Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) led 56 of their colleagues in pushing the EPA to finalize and issue strong vehicle greenhouse gas emission standards for both cars and trucks by the end of the year. Padilla also led 14 Senators last month in calling on the Joint Office of Energy and Transportation to prioritize the deployment of zero-emission medium- and heavy-duty infrastructure as part of its core mission. In March 2022, he and the late Dianne Feinstein successfully pushed the Administration to revise emissions standards for heavy-duty trucks, which had previously not been revised in 20 years.

A recording of the press conference is available here.


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