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First of its Kind City Challenge is Designed to Help Cities Pilot and Scale Innovation to Reduce Congestion & Emissions from Exploding E-Commerce and Goods Movement


Los Angeles, January 9, 2024 – The Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator (LACI)–in partnership with Climate Mayors and C40–announced the selected cities for the inaugural City Climate Innovation Challenge for Zero Emissions Delivery (ZED Challenge). Joining the anchor partners of Los Angeles, Pittsburgh, and Santa Monica are: Louisville, KY; Miami-Dade County, FL; New York City, NY; Oakland, CA; Portland, OR; and Washington D.C. The cities’ combined metropolitan populations represent 55 million people–one in every six Americans–representing a bold market signal for zero emissions delivery. Wells Fargo was announced as the first ZED Challenge corporate funder, providing support to launch the inaugural cohort nationwide.

LACI’s ZED Challenge aims to accelerate the move to zero emissions delivery to reduce emissions from predominantly dirty, diesel trucks moving goods for the first mile (e.g., class 8 drayage trucks) to last mile (e.g., medium duty delivery trucks) predominantly impacting low income, disadvantaged communities with disproportionate pollution and congestion. LACI will work with cities to identify startup and corporate solutions to be piloted in innovation “sandboxes” along with access to pilot funding for select startup solutions, technical support, data analysis, peer-to-peer learnings, & convenings with existing private sector delivery companies. Once successful solutions are identified, LACI will work with the cities to scale the policy and business model innovations while providing access to debt and venture funding for startups. The ZED Challenge will build on LACI’s unique model for piloting and scaling solutions with cities, including zero emissions delivery, EV car share for low income communities, and other innovations.

“We are confident the LACI model can help cities better invite innovation, and in turn scale what works to reduce congestion and improve air quality through zero emissions delivery,” said Matt Petersen, LACI President and CEO. “That is why we launched this national Challenge: to help cities accelerate equitable climate action & address local needs.”

“Los Angeles will continue to take urgent action to protect our environment. The Zero Emissions Delivery City Challenge presents an opportunity for cities to engage deeply with experts and city leaders from across the country while developing innovative solutions on the road to zero-emissions goods movement,” said Mayor Karen Bass. “As a leading hub for cleantech innovation we are very excited to collaborate with LACI and the cohort participants while continuing our work to build more equitable, sustainable communities here in Los Angeles.”

“Cities are leading the nation in cutting emissions and adapting to a green future, and we’re proud to be a part of this new cohort of cities driving towards a zero-emissions delivery future,” said Rohit T Aggarwala, New York City Chief Climate Officer. “We’ll work together to accelerate our transition away from fossil fuels, to promote cargo bikes, electric delivery vehicles, and new technologies to manage delivery systems better. I’m grateful to our peer cities, as well as to LACI, C40, and Climate Mayors, for our shared commitment to combat climate change.”

“I am thrilled that Oakland has been selected by the LA Cleantech Incubator to work with other cities leading the fight against climate change to pilot innovative zero emission delivery solutions,” said Oakland Mayor Sheng Thao. “Working together with LACI’s cohort, we will strive to find solutions that improve air quality and reduce emissions and traffic congestion brought on by the explosion in last mile deliveries. This collaboration will help us not only to meet Oakland’s own Equitable Climate Action Plan goals, but to develop innovative strategies to address this same challenge faced by cities around the world.”

“DDOT is honored to join the LACI challenge. With the support of this cohort, we plan to create a delivery microhub to support more sustainable last-mile delivery modes, such as e-cargo bikes,” said Sharon Kershbaum, Interim Director, District Department of Transportation (Washington, D.C.). “Not only will this mode-shift opportunity help the city meet its emission reduction goals, it will also encourage better curbside usage and traffic safety.”

“I am thrilled to see such an amazing group of leading Climate Mayors cities join the National Zero Emissions Delivery City Climate Innovation Cohort, each bringing its own unique expertise, ambitions, and solutions,” said Kate Wright, Executive Director at Climate Mayors. “We at Climate Mayors look forward to supporting the cohort in its plans to deliver zero-emissions innovations at scale – a necessary step in securing more sustainable and healthier communities across the country.”

“Cities are leaders and innovators on climate, including creating better ways to manage local deliveries that cut fossil fuel use and reduce emissions,” said Laura Jay, Regional Director for North America at C40 Cities. “Changing the way goods are moved and delivered will yield meaningful benefits for urban residents, from improved air quality to safer streets, as well as contribute to the green economy. The Zero Emission Delivery City Challenge is an exciting new initiative to help American cities tackle the thorny problem of reducing pollution from urban logistics. C40 is delighted to support this effort, which will bring different perspectives together to help build healthier, more efficient cities.”

“Cities across the nation are leading the way in developing solutions that will advance resilient, equitable, and cleaner futures,” said Robyn Luhning, Chief Sustainability Officer for Wells Fargo. “Wells Fargo is proud to support LACI’s push for innovation to advance clean transportation while delivering long-term benefit for communities.”

Prior to launching the Challenge, LACI created the nation’s first Zero Emissions Delivery Zone with the City of Santa Monica within a one square mile innovation zone or ‘sandbox’, dedicating curb space for zero emissions vehicles only with signage, painting of curbs, and access to light poles for camera and software technology from the startup Automotus, which was selected through a technology RFI. LACI then subsequently partnered with the Cities of Santa Monica, Los Angeles, and Pittsburgh to secure a $3.7 million engagement grant through the Department of Energy’s Vehicle Technologies Office to expand curb access initiatives.

The City Climate Innovation Challenge also builds on research jointly conducted by LACI, C40 and PwC entitled Cleantech Cities: Accelerating Climate Action Through Startups and Corporate Innovation. Originally unveiled at the 2019 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Madrid, the research estimated the potential of new technologies and disruptive innovation in cities by 2030 could surpass 1.3 GtCO2e in greenhouse gas reductions from buildings, transport and waste each year. Urban climate innovation is estimated to create just over $5 trillion in new global investment opportunities by 2030, plus inclusive opportunities for job growth, public health improvements, and other co-benefits. The ZED City Challenge represents a manifestation of initiatives called for by the report.

In September 2022 at the Clinton Global Initiative in New York City, LACI announced its Commitment to Action to expand the Zero Emission Delivery work that LACI developed in the cities of Santa Monica and Los Angeles—with funding and support from C40 and Ingka—to an additional five to seven U.S. metropolitan areas by 2025.


About LACI:
Established in 2011 as an economic development initiative of the City of Los Angeles and LA Department of Water and Power (LADWP), LACI is creating an inclusive green economy by unlocking innovation through startup incubation, transforming markets through catalytic partnerships, pilots and policies, and enhancing communities through green job training.  Solutions are focused on zero emissions transportation, clean energy, and sustainable cities. LACI’s startup incubation programs provide curriculum, coaching, pilot funding, access to venture and debt funds, additional resources for underrepresented founders, paid interns, and other resources to scale emerging cleantech companies.

About Climate Mayors:
Founded in 2014, Climate Mayors is a bipartisan, peer-to-peer network that has mobilized more than 750 U.S. mayors who demonstrate climate leadership through meaningful actions in their communities. Representing 48 states and nearly 60 million Americans, the Climate Mayors coalition reflects U.S. cities’ commitment to climate progress.

About C40:
C40 is a global network of nearly 100 mayors of the world’s leading cities that are united in action to confront the climate crisis. Mayors of C40 cities are committed to using an inclusive, science-based and collaborative approach to cut their fair share of emissions in half by 2030, help the world limit global heating to 1.5°C, and build healthy, equitable and resilient communities.