Quebec ups commitment to cut transport emissions
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Oct 1, 2019
Katie Ingram

Quebec is now the second province to join the Drive to Zero pledge, along with several Canadian companies, to expand use of zero-emission trucks and buses

It is now the second province to join the Drive to Zero pledge to expand use of zero-emission trucks and buses

Quebec has increased its efforts to reduce carbon emissions by joining the Drive to Zero pledge.

Announced on Sept. 24 during Climate Week, Quebec joins several Canadian organizations in the Calstart initiative, including BYD Canada and Clean Energy Canada, along with the Government of Canada, the City of Vancouver and British Columbia. Originally launched in September 2018, at the Global Climate Action Summit, Drive to Zero holds pledge-signers to the commitment of supporting the zero-emission medium and heavy-duty vehicle industry and incorporating zero-emission vehicles into bus and trucking fleets.

“Transportation is a quarter of Canada’s carbon pollution and in some provinces, like Quebec and British Columbia, it’s even more than a quarter,“ says Merran Smith, executive director of Clean Energy Canada.

In fact, transportation pollution accounts for 43 per cent of all of the province’s greenhouse gas contributions, according to Quebec’s environment ministry. In general, says Smith, trucks and buses are only about 11 per cent of vehicles currently on the road, but they consume 46 per cent of the total fuel.

Accelerating electrification

“The goals of the Drive to Zero pledge are directly aligned with our objective to accelerate our transportation electrification,“ says Benoit Charette, Quebec minister of the environment and climate change.

Drive to zero logo
Drive to Zero identifies commercial vehicle market segments where zero- and near-zero technology is likely to succeed first

Drive to Zero’s goal is to make heavy-duty vehicles, like buses and transport trucks, commercially practical by 2025 and have them overtake their gasoline and diesel counterparts in sales by 2040.

Quebec is home to two electric bus manufacturers — Lion Electric and Nova Bus — and with its pledge, helps to make Drive to Zero’s goal even more viable, adds Smith.

“It signals they are going to be supporting companies and others in tackling this problem [of getting to or close to zero-emissions],” she says. “There’s coordinating that needs to be done to solve it; we need to look into what policies could help drive this, what incentive programs could help drive this, what infrastructure is needed and is there a way to get that infrastructure in place through collaborations.“

To date, 58 companies and governments have signed the Drive to Zero pledge. Along with those mentioned, others include IKEA, Ryder, the California Energy Commission, and the New York City Department of Citywide Administrative Services.

Related initiatives in Quebec include having the country’s first EV charging superstation and offering a rebate on new EV purchases.

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