CALSTART’s Global Commercial Vehicle Drive to Zero to Announce National, Subnational Commitments, Groundbreaking Tools to Accelerate Zero-Emission Trucks and Buses at CEM10/MI-4

May 28, 2019

VANCOUVER, Canada – Today CALSTART’s Global Commercial Vehicle Drive to Zero (Drive to Zero) program will convene world clean transportation sector leaders and offer an exclusive first look at an innovative toolkit for change at the Tenth Clean Energy Ministerial and Fourth Mission Innovation Ministerial (CEM10/MI-4) in Vancouver.

Co-hosted by Clean Energy Canada and the City of Vancouver and an official side-event of CEM10/MI-4, the Drive to Zero Vancouver workshop will also feature multiple new announcements of government and industry commitments and highlight progress and barriers to growing the clean medium- and heavy-duty truck, bus and equipment sector globally. Notably, both Catherine McKenna, Canada’s Minister of Environment and Climate Change, and Amarjeet Sohi, Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources, are speaking.

“Reducing pollution and improving the competitiveness of the transportation sector, including commercial vehicles, is a priority for the Government of Canada,” Minister Sohi is expected to say at the event today. The ministers will announce new actions and commitments as part of Canada’s leadership to reduce vehicle emissions and grow the clean truck, bus and equipment sector today at the CALSTART event. The Drive to Zero program and partners will also be announcing several additional government and private sector commitments to the new Drive to Zero action plan at the workshop.

Richard W. Corey, Executive Officer of the California Air Resources Board, City of Edmonton Mayor Don Iveson, Chair David Hochschild of the California Energy Commission and many others will offer remarks. Industry leaders from Westport Fuel Systems, Ballard Power Systems, BYD Motors, Inc., Ikea Group, New Flyer, Siemens Energy and others will also speak (full agenda here).

CEM10/MI-4 brings together key government officials from more than 25 industrialized nations as well as industry innovators and organizational leaders who are developing and implementing strategies that drive our global economy while also driving down our emissions.

Drive to Zero is a strategic international initiative designed to catalyze the growth of the zero-emission (ZE) and near-zero-emission (NZ) medium- and heavy-duty vehicle sector (MHDV), which includes everything from transit buses to eighteen wheelers to box trucks to school buses. Drive to Zero unites key regions of change, along with leading manufacturers and fleet users, to collaboratively speed adoption through requirements, policies, incentives, investments and infrastructure that support early market success.

“Drive to Zero’s mission is to drive private and public sector technology innovation as well as economic and job growth, while also helping governments achieve Paris Accord targets and improving urban air quality,” said John Boesel, CEO and President of CALSTART. CALSTART is a US nonprofit consortium that partners with 210+ member company and agency innovators to build a prosperous, efficient and clean high-tech transportation industry. Drive to Zero is a program of CALSTART.

“Canada is well-positioned to be among the leaders transitioning to zero-emission commercial fleets, delivering both environmental and economic benefits. We’re a big country and we move a lot of freight by truck. We’re also a heavily urban country, and as cities grow, more is being invested in public transit. Shifting to zero-emission trucks and buses, many of which are made right here in Canada, will cut both carbon pollution and fuel costs. It’s a win-win,” said Merran Smith, Executive Director of Clean Energy Canada.

“The growing availability of clean fuels and clean vehicles in key transportation markets has provided the critical real-world deployment experience to enable greater market share,” said Karen Hamberg, Vice President, Sustainability and External Affairs at   Westport Fuel Systems and Chair of CALSTART’s Board of Directors. “But we must go faster! We must enact the next regulatory frameworks, policies, partnerships and strategies to accelerate and expand commercialization and bring more of these technologies to scale. That’s what Drive to Zero is all about.”

Drive to Zero’s goal is to drive market viability for the MHDV sector in key urban communities by 2025 and achieve full market penetration by 2040. It is built upon a technology strategy, called the beachhead strategy, that identifies the commercial vehicle market segments where zero- and near-zero technology is likely to succeed first. Those early successes drive pathways into new segments where the technology can flourish next.

Our strategy from the research is clear: target the right vehicles for first market success, in the right order for sustainable industry growth, in the right regions embracing and supporting change,” said Bill Van Amburg, Executive Vice President of CALSTART and head of the Drive to Zero Program. “Coordinating and supporting deployments of similar vehicle applications in key parts of Asia, North and South America and Europe can help reduce costs of common components and enable zero-emission technology to be viable in urban markets by 2025, and drive toward market penetration by 2040.”

Drive to Zero is developing tools, identifying best practices, eliminating barriers, and coordinating among stakeholders to ensure success of beachhead markets. Van Amburg will offer a first look at the beta version of one such toolkit today. The toolkit, which will be available on Drive to Zero’s new website in the coming weeks, will contain a Policy and Action Guide, a Vehicle Availability Tool and a Total Cost of Ownership Calculator.

To date, Drive to Zero has been working collaboratively with C40, EV100, the Transport Decarbonisation Alliance, Clean Energy Canada and partners in the Netherlands, China and India (with additional partnerships being announced today) as well as more than 40 industry and international leaders who have already taken the Drive to Zero pledge. Pledge and organizing partners promise to collaboratively put in place supporting mechanisms to speed the early market for zero- and near-zero emission trucks, buses and equipment.

“By pooling our resources and lessons learned globally and making the targeted beachhead technology segments successful we will see our economies of scale grow and our supply chains develop,” said Van Amburg.

Over the next five years, Drive to Zero and its participants will focus on sharing information, identifying best practices, eliminating barriers, and coordinating among stakeholders to ensure success of beachhead markets in regions in Asia, North and South America and Europe. For a full list of Drive to Zero pledge partners, visit our website.

“Activity coordination and information sharing from city to city and continent to continent will mean that we can learn from each other, inspire one another, and get to our goal of full market penetration by 2040,” said Boesel.

At today’s workshop, Drive to Zero will walk attendees to a clean vehicle display just outside of the Vancouver Convention Center featuring the zero-emission, battery-electric New Flyer Xcelsior CHARGE™ and BYD C8 electric buses. The BYD C8 has a 200km (124.3 mile) range and can be charged in three-and-one-half to four hours. The zero-emission New Flyer Xcelsior CHARGE™ has up to 309km (192 miles) range, and also features SmartRider™ intelligent leveling technology, allowing the bus to “kneel” to any curb height and making it fully accessible to all passengers.

Please visit our new website at to learn more about Drive to Zero, our tools and our progress.

CALSTART | Changing transportation for good

A national nonprofit consortium with offices in New York, Michigan, Colorado and California, CALSTART partners with 210+ member company and agency innovators to build a prosperous, efficient and clean high-tech transportation industry. We knock out barriers to modernization and the adoption of clean vehicles. CALSTART is changing transportation for good.

MEDIA CONTACT: ROXANNA SMITH, [email protected], (510) 326-0390