Joe Biden and automakers are on the same page

Joe Biden and automakers are on the same page

Illustration from article titled Joe Biden and Car Manufacturers Are on the Same Wavelength

photo: AP (AP)

President Joe Biden unveiled a $ 2 trillion package to revive the economy and rebuild US infrastructure, including $ 174 billion to help electrify the US auto market. There weren’t many details except that Biden said he wanted to build a network of 500,000 chargers across the country. But an industry letter earlier this week may help provide some details.

The letter has been sent Monday in Biden by the Alliance for Automotive Innovation, an industry group that represents just about all automakers operating in the United States today. It’s one of the clearest signals yet that automakers are embarked on an electric future, or at least know it’s happening with or without them.

The letter includes obvious suggestions, like increasing subsidies for electric vehicles, including the big one already on the books known as 30D, as well as less obvious things like getting people to install battery chargers. level 2 car at home and at the apartment. buildings.

“We are ready to work with your administration to define the bold, comprehensive vision and innovation that will place the United States at the forefront of creating a cleaner future for motor vehicle transportation,” the group states in the letter, co-signed by the UAW. . “This transformation is more important than any policy, branch or level of government or industry sector. This will require a sustainable holistic approach with a wide range of legislative and regulatory policies rooted in economic, social, environmental and cultural realities. “

Two of the priorities of the letter’s consumer section: more subsidies, and also the electrification of the federal fleet, which the group said would simply help people become more familiar with the idea of ​​an electric vehicle. .

Address the cost premium and directly support electric vehicle sales by expanding and extending the federal 30D tax credit for plug-in hybrids and hybrid electric vehicles and enacting a long-term extension of the 30B tax credit for fuel cell motor vehicles to help equalize the initial cost to consumers.


Set ambitious federal requirements for adopting electric vehicles, which helps raise consumer awareness by putting more vehicles on the road and providing more consumers, such as federal employees, with an electric vehicle driving experience.

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You might think, as I did initially, that the EV subsidies might be where the demand ends, except the letter goes on to talk about the real EV problem in America – not their original price. , really, but how crap the American charging infrastructure is. That is true. It is not, exactly, that automakers are resistant to electric vehicles, although this has been the prevailing wisdom; it’s more that they know as well as anyone that the transition to EVs will be a huge job.

While public DC fast-charging stations or other public chargers could meet some needs, the convenience of refueling at home is a key benefit of electric vehicles, and it would be unreasonable and unfair to expect that. that tenants and residents of MUD pay more and spend time away from home. every week to load publicly. Numerous studies show that the cost of retrofitting a home or business with EV charging equipment is several times more expensive than installing it in new construction, so designing building codes EV loans must be part of the answer. It will also be necessary to support the installation of chargers in apartment complexes or in tenant-occupied housing that already exists. Public policies will need to take this into account and find ways to support the installation of charging options that serve all drivers. All stakeholders must work together on public policy efforts, such as federal tax incentives, grants, rebates, and other mechanisms to spur the development of important refueling infrastructure in three key areas: homes, workplaces , highways and other public places, especially since there are currently only about 100,000 public charging points nationwide, and only 18,000 of these are DC fast chargers capable of fast refills.

Biden’s plan isn’t even a bill in Congress yet, so you can expect a lot to be gained by then, but the outline of the plan, released yesterday, has achieved many of the same brands that the industry group did earlier this week, and are likely to remain broadly the same. but since this is Washington, you can also assume that the Washington-based Automotive Innovation Alliance will have a good influence on the end product. I can’t even imagine the number of lobbyists involved.

Here’s what Biden’s plan says so far:

His plan will allow automakers to boost national supply chains from raw materials to parts, retool factories to be globally competitive, and help American workers make batteries and electric vehicles. It will offer consumers point-of-sale discounts and tax incentives to purchase electric vehicles made in the United States, while ensuring that these vehicles are affordable for all families and made by workers with good jobs. It will establish grant and incentive programs for state and local governments and the private sector to build a nationwide network of 500,000 EV chargers by 2030, while promoting strong labor standards, training and installation. His plan will also replace 50,000 diesel transit vehicles and electrify at least 20% of our yellow school bus fleet through a new Clean Buses for Children program at the Environmental Protection Agency. , with the support of the Ministry of Energy. These investments will put us on the path to the 100% clean bus, while ensuring that the U.S. workforce is trained to operate and maintain this 21st century infrastructure. Finally, it will use the vast tools of federal procurement to electrify the federal fleet, including the United States Postal Service.

For automakers and policymakers to start converging around the same policies to hasten the transition to electric cars would usually give me pause, but maybe this time everyone knows it’s happening anyway, and better. worth to be at the table only from the outside in.


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