Pharma sales reps’ company cars might be going electric sooner

A global push for getting corporations to commit to electric vehicles catches hold among big pharma companies

There are an estimated 81,000 pharma sales reps in the US, and probably double that number globally. Many of these reps have company cars. So now, as the availability of electric vehicles (EVs) rises globally, the potential to shift these car fleets to technology that doesn’t belch out greenhouse gases becomes easier to realize. That’s the goal of the Climate Group, a UK-based nonprofit that launched a campaign, EV100, several years ago to encourage the shift.

The Climate Group’s recently published progress report notes that through 2020, commitments to have EV fleets in place by 2030 have grown by 80% from 2019, to 4.8 million vehicles. (Bear in mind, there are some 1.4 billion vehicles globally.) Committed pharma companies so far include Genentech, Biogen, Novartis, AstraZeneca, Novo Nordisk and GlaxoSmithKline. AstraZeneca made its commitment in 2019, noting that switching its 16,000-car corporate fleet by 2025 would also aid in reducing respiratory disease.

The Climate Group is casting its net broadly: major logistics firms like DHL are also on board, and the campaign includes trucking and postal-delivery firms. Nor is the developing world to be overlooked: electric rickshaws and scooters are also being counted which, in countries like Thailand, form the last-mile pharmaceutical delivery via what is called “capillary distribution.”