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In a to-the-point Op-Ed in the online edition of Fortune Magazine, FedEx CEO Frederick Smith calls for “a truly bipartisan solution to our oil dependence” that involves replacing the existing fleet of oil-consuming vehicles with electric cars and trucks. He’s absolutely right, and it is high time for Congress to act.
As the head of FedEx, Smith knows something about oil dependence: everyday FedEx puts 670 aircraft into the skies (flying half-a-million miles each day) and over 70,000 other motorized vehicles - nearly all of which consume oil. But give him credit - for unlike some who simply cry for us to “drill, baby, drill” - Smith acknowledges that this is simply not sustainable. Rather, the solution he proposes is legislation that would encourage the deployment of EVs at a vastly accelerated pace:
What we need to protect our nation is the environment to create in a few short years an entirely new transportation system with millions, and then tens of millions, of electric cars and trucks.
And there is a way to make it happen – pass a bill to promote electric vehicles. Last summer Republicans and Democrats on the Senate Energy Committee voted in favor of a plan to assist the deployment of electric vehicles and infrastructure in the U.S. The bill, which still hasn’t passed, was based in part on policy recommendations by the Electrification Coalition, a group of which I am a member. It calls for the creation of electrification “deployment communities": regions where incentives would support electrification at scale. It leverages constrained federal resources in a market-friendly way by encouraging communities to work with major employers, utilities, and other stakeholders to find the most cost-effective pathways to electrification.
Readers of this blog know well that we are huge supporters of EVs. Legislation at the national level that would encourage the production and deployment of EVs should also promote solar and other renewable energy sources at the same time. It is a natural fit - renewables like solar can fuel EVs so that there are zero emissions associated with the miles traveled and a solar power installation will continue to provide the energy needed to fuel that EV for 25 years or more.
We encourage you to read the entire piece (link at the headline of this post) and share your thoughts in the comments.
On a related note, here is an interview with Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn discussing the rising cost of oil and how that is driving demand for the all-electric Leaf.