Sustainability isn’t just important at Zoox: it’s a core part of why we’re here. Even our name points to this. ‘Zoox’ comes from ‘zooxanthellae’: tiny, algae-like organisms, powered by the sun, that support the biodiversity of coral reef ecosystems. It’s a great metaphor for the relationship we see Zoox having with cities, people, and our environment.

This Earth Day, we want to explain the journey we’re taking to support a gradual shift from today’s reliance on private car ownership to a cleaner transportation system of shared, all-electric, ride-hailing vehicles. 

Driving gas-powered cars isn’t sustainable

Gas-powered private cars don’t make sense for our environment—or our future. Consider a few eye-opening facts:

  • A quarter of US air pollution is caused by transportation (Source: EPA, 2018)

  • Globally, transportation accounts for a quarter of CO2 emissions. (Source: BBC, 2020)

  • We only use our cars 4% of the time, leaving them to depreciate on driveways for the other 96% (Source: Fortune, 2016)

And while switching to hybrid or all-electric vehicles can help cut emissions, it doesn’t solve all of these problems.

Individual ownership isn’t the answer

Manufacturing a new car can create as much carbon pollution as driving it (Source: Fortune, 2016)—and manufacturing battery-electric vehicles is even more energy-intensive. Given how much of the time most cars spend sitting on driveways, that’s a huge waste.

The fastest route to lowering emissions is very simple: manufacture fewer cars.

All-electric, meet ride-share

As each Zoox vehicle is all-electric, it produces less emissions than gas-powered vehicles. But by starting from the ground up, we wanted to go further. We wanted to create a service that would completely change the mobility landscape.

Our all-electric vehicle is designed to be shared. When you’re not riding in it, someone else is. We’ll also own and operate our fleet of vehicles. This means:

  • We reduce the carbon footprint associated with vehicle manufacturing, because we’re manufacturing fewer vehicles with greater utilization rates.

  • There’s less congestion on roads, so everyone else can travel more efficiently too.

To put it another way: Zoox makes transportation cleaner and more sustainable, whether you’re riding with us or not.

two zoox robotaxis in a parking lot in san francisco

Big and small changes

Sustainability is built into our business model. But that doesn’t get us off the hook for making sure we operate day-to-day in a sustainable way too.

As part of Amazon’s Climate Pledge, we’ve committed to reaching net zero carbon emissions by 2040. In pursuit of Climate Pledge commitments, we’ve conducted our first annual GHG inventory, and in 2021, we reduced our carbon footprint associated with global electricity usage to zero. These initiatives are helping us to reach our net zero goal 10 years ahead of the Paris Climate Agreement deadline. 

zoox climate pledge graphic with earth graphic

By creating our all-electric vehicle from the ground up, we’ve embedded sustainable practices in business operations from day one. That includes:

  • Using mostly recycled and natural materials to manufacture our purpose-built vehicle.  

  • Keeping our supply chain clean by supporting our partners with their emissions action plans and environmental policies. 

  • Buying Renewable Energy Credits to offset the greenhouse gas emissions associated with our electricity consumption.

  • Sourcing local seasonal produce for our kitchens.

  • Measuring and tracking food waste to ensure it’s minimized.    

  • Eliminating plastic water bottles across our sites and installing water filters instead.

  • Replacing single-use plastics in our offices with compostable products.

  • Facilitating an internal Sustainability Interest Group enabling crew to get involved in promoting and educating on sustainability topics at Zoox and in our community.

A vision guiding us forward

So that’s it. All-electric vehicles, created more efficiently, and used more frequently. Our clear vision for a more sustainable future. It keeps us pushing forward not just on Earth Day, but every day.