The mayor of Los Angeles and the CEO of The Shyft Group team up to discuss how they’re working to make electric vehicles a practical and sustainable reality.
CEO, The Shyft Group
Mayor of Los Angeles
What does the future of transportation look like in the coming years?
Daryl Adams: At The Shyft Group, we see the future of transportation as electric, connected, and flexible. It’s critical for the transportation industry to reduce its carbon footprint and leave a better planet for the future, while also providing people and businesses with a mobility ecosystem that fits their choices for how to work, live, and move around. For Shyft, with our focus on the commercial-vehicle side of transportation, we see these trends continuing well into the future. We are truly at the beginning of a foundational change across every form of transportation, in every part of the world.
Why is it crucial now more than ever to advance the adoption of more zero-emissions vehicles?
DA: The statistics don’t lie: the transportation sector is the largest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions in the United States with about 30% of the total, and within that group, about half of the emissions come from the cars and trucks we drive on the road every day. As an industry, every company, every leadership team needs to look at their business and see where they can contribute towards changing this unfortunate truth. Electric vehicles are not only better for the environment, but they also cost less to maintain over the life of the vehicle, they are safe, and they are fun to drive with amazing amounts of power and torque.
Eric Garcetti: Electric vehicles don’t just help cities steer away from dirty fossil fuels — they make cities healthier, more livable places for our families. More EVs fill the streets of Los Angeles than any other city in America, and that has helped us improve our air quality and reduce noise pollution, but we know that growth can’t be limited only to folks who can afford a brand-new EV. We have to make sure this transition reaches every Angeleno, regardless of zip code.
To do this, we created Blue L.A., the first EV car sharing service designed for communities with the fewest EVs. We’ve also offered robust incentive programs, including a $450 rebate for used EVs and up to a $500 reimbursement for chargers. With these changes and more, we want to ensure the communities on the front lines of the climate crisis are the first in line to reap the benefits of a more sustainable future.
Can you debunk one or two myths surrounding the EV industry for our readers?
DA: A lot of people believe you need to sacrifice payload and range with your EV, and it’s simply not true. We have a 50-year heritage in specialty vehicle chassis manufacturing and body building for last-mile delivery, so we know chassis performance. Our all-electric, commercial-grade chassis features heavy duty frame rails, commercial-grade 4000-cycle cells, and heavy-duty suspension. To support range, we’ve designed a lightweight aluminum and composite body that provides an approximate range of 150 to 175 miles with the opportunity to enhance range through expanded battery options.
EG: Many people falsely believe clean energy will mean higher energy bills. That’s just not true. In fact, the price of renewables has steadily decreased over the last decade and is trending toward becoming the cheapest option available. What’s more, where oil and natural gas prices have always been volatile, solar and wind will always cost us nothing to produce. And as energy storage and microgrids increasingly become the norm, clean power sources will become even more reliable, affordable, and cost-effective.
What smart mobility solutions have you seen be the most effective in helping to support a green recovery in our cities and communities?
DA: We know that infrastructure is one of the major roadblocks to fully adopting EVs. It’s difficult to truly adopt a greener solution when the means to keep that solution running seems too difficult. We believe that flexibility is key, and that flexibility is what’s missing with current infrastructure options. To solve for this, we’ve introduced our fully portable, remote controlled charging station, the Blue Arc Power Cube™. It’s a highly customizable, commercial-grade EV charger. This solution carries power onboard and can have vehicles up and charged in one to two hours. It can also operate off the grid with power from integrated wind turbines or smart solar power with panels that track the sun for maximum exposure and charging.
Which technologies would you say are crucial for the renewable energy evolution to continue?
EG: Our main focus is twofold: protecting our environment while making economy work for everyone. To meet our goals, Los Angeles is making investments now that will pay off in the future with cleaner air, less reliance on fossil fuels, greater prosperity for our workforce, and a carbon-neutral future for our communities.