At a trackside ceremony on the eve of the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship, the host City of Portland announced its signature to the momentous Zero Emission Vehicles (ZEV) Declaration and their commitment to phasing out the sale of fossil fuel vehicles by 2035.

The upcoming Formula E races serve as a prime backdrop as Commissioner Carmen Rubio joined British Deputy Consul General Peter Newman and Envision Racing drivers Robin Frijns and Sébastien Buemi to announce this ambitious pledge. Envision Racing, reigning Formula E World Champions and signatory itself, promotes the future of electric vehicle technology, and has played a key role in raising awareness and driving signatories of the Declaration from the outset. Portland joins 13 other cities within the United States journeying towards 100% electric.

The City of Portland stands as a leader in sustainability, declaring a climate emergency in 2020 and later developing a Climate Emergency Workplan in 2022. The city has set goals to reduce its carbon emissions 50% from 1990 levels by 2030 and achieve net zero by 2050. The transportation sector accounts for nearly 40% of the city’s carbon emissions, providing opportunities for significant reductions in the next few decades.

The Workplan identifies several strategies to support a transition to electric vehicles (EVs) and reduce the impact of its current government fleet. This includes the development of public charging infrastructure, ensuring new build construction is charger-ready (under the Electric Vehicle Ready Code Project), providing incentives for the purchase of new EV models, and increasing the safety and reliability of public transportation options.

Later this year, Portland plans to pilot the first-ever regulated Zero-Emission Delivery Zone, covering last-mile delivery vehicles downtown. The project aims to test how regulations, incentives, and partnerships can change behavior and decrease pollutants from freight vehicles, positively impacting citizen health and traffic safety.

As the largest city in Oregon, Portland also falls under the state’s commitment to the Advanced Clean Cars II regulation, which requires the sale of all new zero emission light-duty vehicles to be battery electric or plug-in hybrid electric vehicles by 2035.

Mayor of Portland, Ted Wheeler: “Joining the ZEV Declaration is in direct alignment with the Portland ethos of protecting and preserving the environment. Being on the leading edge of a critical initiative is a familiar role for Portlanders who have always sought creative ways to solve challenges. Working to combat climate change is no different, and we welcome the opportunity to come together with forward-thinking partners from around the world.”

“I’m thrilled that Portland — a city with a strong reputation for ambitious climate targets — has signed the ZEV Declaration to reduce emissions further and get us closer to the UK’s COP26 goal of phasing out fossil fuel-powered vehicles by 2035, said Tammy Sandhu, British Consul-General in San Francisco. “With transportation representing the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in both the US and the UK, it’s crucial we work with leading cities like Portland on zero emission vehicles to accelerate the global transition to net zero emissions.”

Portland Commissioner Carmen Rubio: “As the first U.S. city to create a local action plan for cutting carbon, Portland is proud of our longstanding commitment to protecting the environment. I am thrilled that Portland is joining a growing global list by signing onto the Zero Emission Vehicles Declaration, and I and look forward to working collaboratively with public, private, and nonprofit partners to address the most pressing issue facing our planet.”

“We are pleased to see Portland sign the ZEV Declaration and serve as the first signatory from the state of Oregon,” says Tim Dallmann, International Partnerships Program Director at the International Council on Clean Transportation, which serves as the secretariat of the Accelerating to Zero Coalition. “Portland has made tremendous strides in reducing its carbon footprint in only a short number of years and this pledge will accelerate their momentum towards 2035.”

“Envision Racing was proud to host the newest signatory to the ZEV Declaration on the cusp of these Portland races,” said Sylvain Filippi, Managing Director and Chief Technology Officer at Envision Racing. “Formula E has a unique ability to accelerate the development and uptake of zero emission vehicles and this announcement marks another significant step forward in the global transition towards clean mobility, in addition to improving air quality across the city of Portland.”

Photo: Standing L-R: Envision Racing driver Sébastien Buemi, Envision Racing Managing Director Sylvain Filippi, driver Robin Frijns | Seated L-R:  British Deputy Consul General Peter Newman, Portland Commissioner Carmen Rubio