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Syracuse-Area Energy Expert Encouraged By Automakers Pledging Shift To Electric Cars

WAER File Photo 2017

  A Syracuse-area energy expert says it’s encouraging to see more automakers planning to phase out gas-powered vehicles in favor of environmentally friendly alternatives.  General Motors, Volvo, and Jaguar have all pledged to sell only electric cars in the next four to 15 years. 


Executive Director of Clean Communities of Central New York Barry Carr says there’s cost parity right now with some electric vehicles, and that’s likely to improve.

“In a few years, it will be less expensive for an automaker to make a light duty vehicle electric than it is to make an internal combustion because there’s less parts. The cost per kilowatt hour of the battery pack has dropped even faster than the Department of Energy thought it was going to.” said Carr.

The shift to electric-powered vehicles isn’t limited to car companies. Just this week, FedEx said it will transition to electric trucks as part of a two billion dollar plan to be carbon neutral by 2040.  Many of their delivery drivers own their own trucks, and Carr says this is one reason why electric might be an appealing option.

“For quite a while those drivers have been looking at ways to cut their fuel cost and going electric may be one of them. I’ve in my career worked with groups that own these trucks to convert them to run on propane or natural gas and they pocket the savings.”


Carr says Amazon is also ordering 100,000 electric delivery vans and 700 natural gas class-A trucks in an effort to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2040. 

Scott Willis covers politics, local government, transportation, and arts and culture for WAER. He came to Syracuse from Detroit in 2001, where he began his career in radio as an intern and freelance reporter. Scott is honored and privileged to bring the day’s news and in-depth feature reporting to WAER’s dedicated and generous listeners. You can find him on twitter @swillisWAER and email him at