← Emission Zero Blog

Scientists, California Labor Leaders, and Autonomous Vehicle Companies Urge Support for SB 500 Requiring All AVs Be Zero Emission

June 17, 2021

The Union of Concerned Scientists, the California State Association of Electrical Workers, the Coalition of California Utility Employees, Cruise and Nuro are united in support of SB 500, a California bill that would set a zero-emission requirement for autonomous vehicles

Oakland, CA — Ahead of the California Assembly Transportation Committee hearing next week, leading environmental, science, and labor groups and autonomous vehicle (AV) companies are calling on California legislators to support SB 500, a bill that would require autonomous vehicles to be zero emission by 2030. The bill was overwhelmingly approved by the Senate and will be considered by the Assembly Transportation Committee on June 21.

California, in the midst of an extreme drought and at high risk for more devastating wildfires, is already experiencing the effects of climate change. The transportation sector generates the largest share of greenhouse gas emissions nationwide. California is already beginning to change this course by approving the nation’s first Clean Miles Standard to transition ride-hailing fleets to zero-emission vehicles.

With SB 500, the state can take early action to ensure the emerging AV industry moves California closer to a zero emission future — and creates good-paying union jobs. Electrifying the autonomous vehicle fleet will generate job opportunities that support the development of public charging infrastructure.

The Union of Concerned Scientists is joined by California State Association of Electrical Workers, the Coalition of California Utility Employees, Cruise and Nuro in urging California Assemblymembers to demonstrate leadership and put the state on the path to a cleaner energy future.

“This proposed legislation will ensure that the autonomous vehicle industry, from the outset, pairs innovations in sensors and software with zero emission technology,” said Elizabeth Irvin, a senior transportation analyst at UCS. “To deliver on their promise of a more efficient future, autonomous vehicle companies must electrify their fleets as they come into widespread use. California legislators can demonstrate true leadership toward reducing pollution and cleaning our air by passing this bill. This effort is essential to get us to the clean transportation system of the future.”

“California has a momentous opportunity to ensure that sustainability is a priority for the future of transportation,” said Prashanthi Raman, Director of Global Government Affairs at Cruise. “We urge the legislature to set the autonomous vehicle industry on an all-electric path and move our state closer to its zero emission goals. AVs represent the leading edge of the transportation sector — and we should be leading with a green future that has the potential to create scores of new jobs. Real innovation is zero emission.”

“We applaud this effort to accelerate the transition to clean energy, and we are proud to be part of this coalition advocating for zero-emission vehicles," said Matthew Lipka, Head of Policy at Nuro. "Autonomous vehicles can pave the way to a greener and healthier future."

“Investing in electric vehicle infrastructure will not just help us tackle climate change. It will also put Californians to work in union jobs that provide a living wage,” said Scott Wetch of the Coalition of California Utility Employees. “We see SB 500 as an opportunity to propel our state forward and are ready to get to work building more infrastructure for clean-running autonomous vehicles.”

UCS, California State Association of Electrical Workers, the Coalition of California Utility Employees, Cruise and Nuro stand ready to support the state’s efforts to take important environmental action and express their support for SB 500. California residents can show their support by asking their state assembly member to support SB 500 or asking the members of the Assembly Transportation Committee to vote in support of SB 500 at their June 21 hearing.


About the Union of Concerned Scientists

The Union of Concerned Scientists puts rigorous, independent science to work to solve our planet’s most pressing problems. Joining with people across the country, we combine technical analysis and effective advocacy to create innovative, practical solutions for a healthy, safe, and sustainable future. For more information, go to www.ucsusa.org.

About the California State Association of Electrical Workers

The California State Association of Electrical Workers is an association of the California IBEW local unions working in the construction and utility industries.

About the Coalition of California Utility Employees

The Coalition of California Utility Employees is a coalition of unions who represent employees at nearly all of California’s publicly owned and investor owned electric utilities. The unions have approximately 43,000 members.

About Cruise

Cruise is an all-electric self-driving technology company with a mission to build the world’s most advanced autonomous vehicles (AVs) to safely connect people to the places, things and experiences they care about. As the operator of the only fully-electric AV fleet in the country, we believe there is great promise in not only our business model, but overall presence. We believe centralized ridesharing fleets can be a sustainable transportation option for Californians who may never own an EV, while quickly electrifying California’s transportation fleet and supporting the further development of EV charging infrastructure.

About Nuro

Nuro exists to better everyday life through robotics. The company's custom autonomous vehicles are designed to bring the things you need, from produce to prescriptions, right to your home. Nuro's autonomous delivery can give you valuable time back and more freedom to do what you love. This convenient, eco-friendly, safe alternative to driving can make streets safer and cities more livable. Nuro has brought autonomous delivery to local communities in California, Arizona, and Texas—for less driving and more thriving.