Biden pushes for electric vehicles to offset 40% or more of U.S. car sales by 2030

Then, Vice President Joe Biden (R) and General Motors CEO Mary Barra look at the new Corvette C7 that attends the North American International Auto Show industry premiere at Cobo Hall on January 16, 2014 in Detroit, Michigan.

Paul Warner | Getty Images

President Joe Biden will set a new national target for the adoption of electric vehicles on Thursday, calling for them to account for 40% to 50% of all new car sales by 2030, according to senior officials. administration.

The goal is expected to be supported by companies such as General Motors, Ford Motor, Stellantis (formerly Fiat Chrysler) and other vehicle manufacturers. Executives from each of Detroit’s producers are scheduled to attend an event Thursday at the White House.

Even if the president signs an executive order, the purpose of the sale is not mandatory. Instead, the document encourages the auto industry and the U.S. government to push for legislation and the adoption of electrified vehicles. The target includes zero-emission vehicles powered by fuel cells and batteries, and plug-in hybrid models with internal combustion engines.

The Biden administration is also expected to announce the federal fuel economy and proposed emission standards for the year 2026 that are based on California’s toughest regulations, officials say. The proposed standards are subject to a period of public comment and final approval.

While car manufacturers have increasingly supported electric vehicles, they have been mixed to low-cost fuel economy standards while trying to reap profits from traditional vehicles to finance electric models. EVs are historically unprofitable or produce lower profit margins.

It is unclear how many car manufacturers will support Biden’s fuel economy standards. Car manufacturers such as Ford, Honda Motor and Volkswagen have first accepted California’s tougher standards, which the Trump administration strongly opposed.

Some smaller brands like Volvo expect to go all electric by 2030, while Stellantis and Ford have announced targets in line with Biden’s order of at least 40% EV by then. GM earlier this year announced an “aspiration” to offer only all-electric and battery-powered vehicles by 2035.

This rapid adoption of electric vehicles faces significant obstacles such as charging infrastructure, consumer adoption and vehicle costs, among other issues.

“Today, Ford, GM and Stellantis announced their joint aspiration to achieve sales of 40-50% of annual volumes of electric vehicles in the United States (electric batteries, fuel cells and plug-in hybrid vehicles) by 2030. bringing the nation closer to a zero-emission future in line with Paris ’climate goals,” the carmakers said in a joint statement. “We look forward to working with the Biden administration, Congress and state and local governments to put in place policies that will enable these ambitious goals.”

Jessica Caldwell, executive director of insights at auto insights firm Edmunds, said EV’s sales target isn’t “particularly excessive” but will ultimately depend on regulations and consumer adoption, which remains low. .

“Car manufacturers make all aggressive games in this category,” Caldwell said. “However, what we have seen in the last five years or so these goals tend to be moving goals, not solid goals. Everything is more fluid than the current plan.”

A previous goal by the Obama administration to sell 1 million electric vehicles from 2012 to 2015 was far from expectations. In January 2016, Reuters said only about 400,000 electric vehicles had been sold.

Read more about electric vehicles from CNBC Pro

The United States is the third largest market for EVs in the world. While total sales of new vehicles will drop 23% in 2020 to about 14.6 million units, sales of electric vehicles will fall 11% to 295,000 units, according to IHS Markit.

Senior executives with the Biden administration announced the adoption of EVs and the executive order as work stimulators for American manufacturing. They said the new actions will support Biden’s “Build Back Better Agenda” and the bipartisan infrastructure agreement.

Officials with the United Auto Workers, which represents union workers every hour in Detroit auto manufacturers, have not been so convinced of the VEs that they are employing Americans.

“While the UAW notes that companies have made voluntary commitments for Electric Vehicles, the UAW’s focus is not on hard deadlines or percentages, but on preserving the salaries and benefits that have been the core and core. soul of the American middle class, ”UAW President Ray Curry said in a statement Wednesday.

A 2018 study by the union found that mass adoption of electric vehicles could cost 35,000 UAW employees, but officials said the number could be less now. EVs require much fewer parts than those with internal combustion engines, which means potentially fewer factory assembly jobs. A lot of parts for EV are made outside the United States or in domestic plants where workers are paid much lower wages than traditional assembly work.

In May, IHS Markit predicts that U.S. electric sales will be between 25% and 30% of new vehicles by 2030 and 45% to 50% by 2035.

U.S. President Joe Biden tests the new Ford F-150 lightning truck while visiting VDAB at the Ford Dearborn Development Center in Dearborn, Michigan, on May 18, 2021.

Leah Millis | Reuters

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