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Rivian and other businesses urge Illinois to adopt rules favoring electric trucks and buses

An electric school bus receives a charge at a charging station last year in Beverly, Mass.
Michael Casey
An electric school bus receives a charge at a charging station last year in Beverly, Mass.

A coalition of businesses that includes Rivian is urging Gov. JB Pritzker to get Illinois to adopt new rules promoting electric trucks and buses.

In a Dec. 15 letter, the 16 businesses asked Pritzker to push for adoption of the Advanced Clean Trucks (ACT) and Heavy-Duty Omnibus (HDO) rules. The rules, already adopted by seven states, would require manufacturers to sell an increasing number of zero-emission medium- and heavy-duty trucks in Illinois, while establishing “strong yet feasible” air pollution standards for new fossil fuel trucks.

Trucks have an outsized impact on Illinois’ air quality, despite making up only 7% of vehicles on the road, according to the National Resources Defense Council.

"States are moving swiftly to adopt the Advanced Clean Truck regulations, which ensures they are at the front of the line for deployment of zero-emission vans, trucks, and other larger vehicles," Chris Nevers, senior director of public policy for Rivian, said in a statement about the letter. "This policy is a crucial next step to ensuring Illinois' continued leadership in clean transportation, and Rivian strongly supports its adoption.”

Rivian is making electric SUVs, pickup trucks, and delivery vans in Normal. It’s trying to grow its commercial vehicle business, which includes a 100,000-van order from Amazon.

“Illinois has been a climate leader through the enactment of the Climate and Equitable Jobs Act of 2021 and the Reimagining Electric Vehicles Act of 2021,” said Ben Prochazka, executive director of the Electrification Coalition trade group. “We hope Governor Pritzker will further commit Illinois to ensure we reduce oil's monopoly on our transportation systems.”

So far, seven states have adopted the ACT and HDO rules: California, New Jersey, New York, Massachusetts, Oregon, Vermont, and Washington. Connecticut, Maine, and Maryland have started rulemaking processes, and North Carolina has announced its intention to proceed with rulemaking, according to a spokesperson for the Electrification Coalition.

The businesses also again urged Pritzker to the Multi-State Medium- and Heavy-Duty Zero Emission Vehicle Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). They’ve been pushing for that for more than a year.

WGLT asked Pritzker’s office what he thinks of the rules package, and if this was something that could be done with or without legislative action. The response:

“Governor Pritzker is committed to working with members of the General Assembly and other stakeholders to explore every additional vehicle electrification option and curb the effects of climate change. The administration has led on these issues by setting a concrete goal of 1 million EVs on Illinois roads by 2030 and offering new incentives for manufacturers to build facilities, train workers, and create thousands of 21st century jobs through the Reimagining Electric Vehicles Act. In doing so, we’ve made it clear Illinois is open for business and is on track to be the best place in the world to manufacture and drive an electric vehicle,” a spokesperson said.

Ryan Denham is the digital content director for WGLT.