Former CARB chairman joins Ford’s Farley as co-chair of mobility group

Mary Nichols, former chairman of the California Air Resources Board, has been named co-chair of the Commission on the Future of Mobility.

The commission is a group of industry, tech and policy leaders including Hyundai, Ford, Valeo and Cox Automotive tasked with driving sustainable and equitable mobility policy.

Nichols joins Ford CEO Jim Farley, who assumed his co-chair role in 2020, replacing the automaker’s former CEO Jim Hackett.

“We have to re-envision the way that we move people and goods across the globe to meet our critical climate and public health needs,” Nichols said in a statement Tuesday.

The commission “is bringing together a global coalition of business, technology and policy leaders that are uniquely positioned to rethink mobility policy in a systematic, interconnected way,” she said. “Now is exactly the right time to embark upon this effort.”

Nichols — one of Automotive News’ 100 Leading Women in the North American auto industry for 2020 — retired as California’s top environmental official in December after leading the clean-air agency since 2007.

Under her leadership, CARB forged ahead with measures to address air quality problems, including a lawsuit led by California and 22 other states over the Trump administration’s rollback of Obama-era fuel efficiency standards. She also finalized binding agreements last year with major automakers, including Ford, to cut vehicle emissions in the state, defying the Trump administration’s push to loosen standards.

The commission plans to focus on five areas to address global mobility issues. The effort includes supporting a shift toward alternative energy resources including electrification and hydrogen, modernizing infrastructure and evaluating novel mobility technologies and business models for passenger transportation.

“The auto industry is at the edge of a profound transformation,” Farley said in a statement. “Bringing together diverse perspectives allows us to unlock new opportunities that improve and equalize transportation in our cities and communities while protecting our personal safety and the planet.”

Farley said he looks forward to working alongside Nichols, “who has been both a teacher and a leader on our journey to fight climate change and whose expertise will be invaluable as we work to solve these complex issues.”

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