Thirty cities—including New York, L.A., and Chicago—are investing billions in electric vehicles to show doubters (like, uh, our president) that there is indeed a market for fuel-efficient cars and trucks.
The $10 billion investment, still in its negotiation stage, is a clear message to the auto industry that there’s growing demand for low-emission vehicles, even as President Trump moves to relax pollution standards opposed by the auto industry.
The cities reached out to car manufacturers to provide feasibility report on 114,000 electric vehicles, a fleet which, Bloomberg News reports, could include garbage trucks, street sweepers, and police cars.
“No matter what President Trump does or what happens in Washington, cities will continue leading the way on tackling climate change,” Matt Petersen, the chief sustainability officer for Los Angeles, told the paper.
During a meeting with Big Three executives on Wednesday, the President announced plans to review Obama-era fuel efficiency standards. The heads of General Motors, Fiat Chrysler, and Ford all say that the fuel-saving innovations are too expensive to implement and that drivers aren’t interested in the technology.
A spokesman for an industry trade group, the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, told Bloomberg News that carmakers offer 95 different electric and hybrid vehicles but all those sales are eclipsed by one popular gasoline-powered pickup truck.
Despite the industry’s claims, the city-led inquiry could boost the electric vehicle market substantially, potentially accounting for almost three-quarters of the electric vehicle sales in the United States. So far, there’s interest on the supply side: Almost 40 manufacturers have responded to the request, which is being led by Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti.
Four cities—Portland, Seattle, San Francisco, and L.A.—ordered about 24,000 electric vehicles earlier this year, and since then an additional 26 cities have signed onto the initiative.
“Now more than ever there is a need for cities’ leadership on climate,” said Daniel Zarrilli, New York City’s senior director of climate policy and programs. “We really want to send a message that there is a growing market for electric vehicles—regardless of what is happening in D.C.”