Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The U.S. vehicle market could finally be going electric — and faster than you might think.

What's happening: While California and the Trump administration go to war over the state's right to set its own tailpipe emissions standards, large cities are taking steps to curb pollution and corporate giants like Amazon are launching their own green agendas.

Why it matters: EVs have been slow to catch on in the U.S. so far, and an anti-regulatory environment in Washington certainly isn't likely to change that. But in traffic-choked cities where greenhouse gas emissions are concentrated, momentum is building for cleaner urban fleets.

What we're seeing: Cities around the world are taking steps...

  • New York City is getting ready to impose the country's first congestion pricing program as a way to regulate traffic, control emissions, and raise capital for infrastructure.
  • London's congestion zone is also a clear air space, where older pollution-spewing vehicles are not allowed. Many companies have opted to upgrade their fleets rather than pay the charges.
  • In China, megacity Shenzhen passed a draft policy that will require all future ride-hailing vehicles be electric. U.S. and European cities could easily do the same.
  • Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti's version of a Green New Deal would require 80% of vehicles to be electric by 2035. As part of the plan, the city's own bus fleet would go electric by 2030.
“With flames on our hillsides and floods in our streets, cities cannot wait another moment to confront the climate crisis with everything we’ve got.”
Eric Garcetti, in HuffPost

Corporate giants are getting more aggressive, too. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos last week unveiled sweeping new energy and climate plans, including an order for 100,000 electric delivery vans from Rivian, a Michigan-based EV startup in which it is an investor.

  • “What Jeff Bezos did last week was one of the most important pivot points in tech and climate we’ve ever seen," Morgan Stanley analyst Adam Jonas tells Axios.
  • It will only put pressure on other companies to follow suit, he says.
  • FedEx is adding 1,000 electric delivery vehicles to its fleet, and UPS has deployed a similar number as part of a rolling lab for alternative fuel trucks.
  • "For years, sustainability was about doing the right thing. Now, by not doing it, you're losing business," Jonas adds.

Yes, but: Corporate commitments like Amazon's (or Google's biggest renewable power buy announced that same day) won't save the planet because climate change is happening too fast, Axios' Ben Geman writes.

  • A newly updated analysis of thousands of these efforts by states, cities and companies found they can help, but they don't replace the need for stronger national-level emissions policies.

They could help tilt the market toward EVs, though, especially in dense cities.

  • EVs make sense for corporate fleet operators in urban areas where routes are shorter and more predictable.

The bottom line: Fleets and cities will drive EV adoption more than retail consumers and federal standards, Morgan Stanley said in a note.

Go deeper: Volkswagen makes its move in the electric vehicle race

Go deeper

Updated 18 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

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  3. Business: Where stimulus is needed most.
  4. Education: The dangerous instability of school re-openings.
  5. States: Nearly two dozen Minnesota COVID cases traced to 3 Trump campaign events
  6. World: Unrest in Italy as restrictions grow across Europe.
  7. Media: Fox News president and several hosts advised to quarantine.
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In photos: Unrest in Italy as coronavirus restrictions grow across Europe

An anti-government demonstration against the economic consequences of the new measures in Turin, Italy, where luxury stores were "ransacked," on Oct. 26, the Guardian reports. Photo: Diego Puletto/Getty Images

Protests in Italy against fresh COVID-19 pandemic restrictions that came into effect Monday descended into violence in Milan and and Turin, where police used tear gas to disperse demonstrators, per the Guardian.

The big picture: The protests in Italian cities still reeling from the first lockdown mark some of the biggest resistance against measures seen yet as restrictions return across Europe, which is facing a second coronavirus wave. From Denmark to Romania, this is what's been happening, in photos.

Republicans and Dems react to Coney Barrett's Supreme Court confirmation

President Trump stands with Judge Amy Coney Barrett after she took the constitutional oath to serve as a Supreme Court justice during a White House ceremony Monday night .Photo: Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images)

President Trump said Judge Amy Coney Barrett's Senate confirmation to the Supreme Court and her subsequent taking of the constitutional oath Monday was a "momentous day," as she she vowed to serve "without any fear or favour."

  • But as Republicans applauded the third conservative justice in four years, many Democrats including Speaker Nancy Pelosi (Calif.) warned of consequences to the rush to replace the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg ahead of the Nov. 3 election, with progressives leading calls to expand the court.

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