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Paving the Way for Zero-Emission Trucks

Philanthropy is accelerating a global campaign to electrify all vehicles for health and climate benefits—bringing together proven strategies for amplified impact, such as enacting policies that require business action and encourage consumer demand. California’s experience shows how philanthropy can make this happen.

In 2019, zero-emission technology was ready and prices dropped, making it possible for heavier and bigger trucks to go electric. The state was considering a standard for trucks, but the proposal was weak.

Philanthropy played a key role in convincing policymakers that a strong rule was feasible, cost-effective, and necessary to meet clean air and climate goals. It also supported a coalition that influenced the policy process, challenged industry, and advocated for a stronger rule—helping ensure the government would make this legislation a priority.

China and the EU are now considering similar policies, illustrating the potential for rapid transfer and scaling of these wins to the global stage.

Philanthropic support for solutions, and civil society's demands for cleaner air and better jobs is helping enable an aggressive transition to zero-emission trucking in California. Now we can take this critical policy global.

—Anand Gopal, Hewlett Foundation

How Change Happens

Tactics & Tools Philanthropy Made Possible

DIVERSE COALITION: Environmental groups, businesses, health and environmental justice advocates, organized labor, the clean-tech industry, and communities living along polluting truck routes joined together to advocate for the rule.

POLICY: This first-in-the-world rule is a major policy victory that will help California meet its climate goals and federal air quality standards and yield huge health benefits, especially in neighborhoods suffering from the highest levels of air pollution in the nation.

RESEARCH AND ANALYSES: Nonprofit organizations and universities helped make the case: Their analysis found that the new rule would  generate billions in savings, create a market for up to 300,000 new electric trucks, and reduce carbon emissions by more than 17 million metric tons, creating significant public health benefits and saving lives.


50% trucks

The final rule was much stronger than what was initially proposed, doubling the initial ambition by requiring at least 50 percent of all trucks sold within the state to be zero emission by 2035.

by 2045

The governor followed with an executive order requiring 100 percent of trucks to be zero-emission by 2045.

15 states

Within a month of the rule’s adoption, more than 15 states representing 40 percent of the U.S. market joined in committing to a target of 100 percent zero-emission trucks.