A worker recharges an electric bus at a bus charging station in Guangzhou, China. (Photo: Imaginechina)

Thanks to a coalition of climate activists, organizations and researchers — powered by philanthropy — a cleaner, healthier, more equitable transportation future is now within reach. 

For the opening session of the Countdown Summit, head of TED Chris Anderson announced, in conversation with electrification advocate Monica Araya, a catalytic funding boost of 300 million dollars to the Drive Electric campaign

The ambitious initiative will accelerate the transition to electric for all vehicles and set the world on the path to 100-percent zero-emission road transportation for the benefit of the climate, health and the economy. The Drive Electric network includes more than 70 partners who have already built an impressive track record in electric vehicle (EV) policy advancement. Over the next five years, they will push for all new road vehicle sales to be electric by 2040, with cars as early as 2030 and buses by 2035. This accelerated shift away from fossil fuels cuts previously estimated timelines by 20 years and will avert more than 160 billion tons of cumulative carbon dioxide emissions.

Drive Electric partners are advancing the work we urgently need to ensure global climate stability, and what most excites me is that every achievement has a measurable impact on everyday people,” said Araya, who sits on the Drive Electric Steering Committee and is a ClimateWorks Distinguished Fellow. “This is about cleaning the air by eliminating the pollution from diesel trucks,” she continued. “This is about making cities quieter and healthier with electric buses, cars and e-bikes. And this is about accelerating investments and creating jobs for a better, more sustainable economy.”

Accelerating systems change in a multi-trillion-dollar industry like global transportation requires ambitious scale. With this funding, Drive Electric has now raised more than half of the campaign’s goal of one billion dollars to support a crucial five-year window to accelerate the transition to EVs in time to avoid disastrous climate outcomes. The Audacious Project harnessed the expertise of partners like the Climate Leadership Initiative to catalyze this historic funding towards a sector currently underrepresented in philanthropy. 

“The Drive Electric campaign represents a new and exciting model for helping speed the transitions we most need for climate,” said Anna Verghese, executive director of the Audacious Project. “To reach our climate goals, it will require a highly coordinated, multi-sector collaboration of trusted experts on the ground who know what is required. We are excited to see how these efforts could inspire other industries to reimagine change at scale.”

The Audacious coalition

The Audacious Project was formed in partnership with The Bridgespan Group as a springboard for social impact. Using TED’s curatorial expertise to surface ideas, the initiative convenes investors and social entrepreneurs to channel funds towards pressing global issues. A remarkable group of individuals and organizations make this work possible, among them: the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation; Nat Simons and Laura Baxter-Simons (Sea Change Foundation); the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation; Quadrature Climate Foundation; Oak Foundation; Chris Larsen and Lyna Lam; Gary, Laura, Josh and Eliana Lauder; Rick and Nancy Moskovitz (Sea Grape Foundation); Jeff and Marieke Rothschild; Ev and Sara Williams (Someland Foundation). 

Learn more about the campaign by watching Monica Araya and Chris Anderson in conversation here, and by visiting their Audacious project page.

Join the movement for 100-percent emissions-free transport and tune into the TED Countdown Global Livestream on October 30, 2021 to learn about more climate actions you can take.