Op-Ed | It’s not just cars — the restriction of direct sales of electric … – AMNY

Pollution from semi-trucks is decimating front line communities. 

Medium and heavy-duty trucks and buses, which are still powered primarily by diesel fuel, account for approximately 46% of the total on-road vehicle NOx emissions, despite making up only a small percentage of total vehicles on the road. Diesel vehicles tend to operate in marginalized and frontline communities that have long borne the brunt of the public health consequences of diesel pollution. 

Electric Vehicle manufacturers are responding by investing in the manufacturing and development of zero-emission trucks so operators can transition away from traditional diesel trucks. 

Just last week, a new, all electric class 8 commercial semi-truck was debuted at an event in Nevada. The truck will deliver Frito Lay products throughout California. The truck will have a range of over five-hundred miles and three times the power of a traditional diesel truck without any of the carbon emissions. This is good for all California residents, but especially those that live in front line communities who are usually burdened more by trucks traveling through their neighborhoods. 

At Arrival, we are focused on electrifying commercial fleets. Our unique approach to manufacturing our commercial vehicles in local Microfactories means we look to policy signals from states about how friendly the market might be. Governor Hochul, for instance, took decisive action in her first months in office by adopting the Advanced Clean Truck Rule, but more needs to be done if we are going to accelerate the number of diesel trucks converting to zero-emission models at the pace required by the Climate Leadership Community Protection Act. 

To reach our full potential, we must be able to sell zero-emission trucks directly to our customers.

As with EV-only carmakers, there are several EV-only medium- and heavy-duty companies, like Arrival, that manufacture and sell electric commercial vehicles directly to fleets. However, New York State law prohibits EV manufacturers from selling their vehicles directly to consumers in favor of a franchised sales model that privileges conventional vehicles. Tesla remains an exception, operating a total of five direct dealership locations statewide only because they were grandfathered in before the direct sales ban was enacted in 2014.  

The obsolete policy of restricting direct EV sales means that companies like Arrival are required to reroute commercial EV sales through other states, adding complexity and costs and ultimately undermining the goal of reducing emissions through the rapid adoption of commercial EVs. This also means that the new Tesla Semi truck — with its 500 miles of range — will not be an option for freight companies working in New York, nor will Amazon be deploying its Rivian electric delivery trucks in New York any time soon. 

As long as the direct sales cap remains in place, New York will continue to fall behind on our climate change goals while frontline communities that neighbor our ports, warehouses, and distribution centers continue to suffer. As the New York State Budget is coming up, we urge Governor Hochul to lift the cap on direct sales through the budget. 


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