Automakers Pledge to Increase Electric Vehicle Sales in United States

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Automakers Pledge to Increase Electric Vehicle Sales in United States


DETROIT – Declaring the US must ‘move fast’ to win the future of auto manufacturing, President Joe Biden on Thursday touted the auto industry’s commitment to making electric vehicles up to half of sales Americans by the end of the decade.

Biden wants automakers to increase gas mileage and reduce tailpipe pollution by the 2026 model year. climate change as it pushes a historic shift in the United States from internal combustion engines to battery-powered vehicles.

He also urged that the components needed to make this sweeping change -om batteries to semiconductors – be made in the United States, reflecting a balance in garnering support from both industry and unions for the effort. environmental, with the future promise of new jobs and billions of dollars in new federal investments in electric vehicles.

Pointing to the electric vehicles parked on the south lawn of the White House, the president told them a “vision of the future which is now starting to materialize.”

“The question is whether we are leading or falling behind in the race for the future,” he said. “Friends, the rest of the world is moving forward. We have to catch up. “

In obvious good spirits, the President hopped into an electric-powered Jeep Rubicon and made a quick turn down the aisle after the ceremony.

Earlier Thursday, the administration announced that there would be new mileage and anti-pollution standards from the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Transportation, as part of Biden’s goal of halving emissions greenhouse gas emissions by 2030. He said the auto industry had agreed to a target that 40 to 50% of new vehicle sales be electric by 2030.

Regulatory standards and the voluntary goal of automakers were included in an executive order that Biden signed to applause from the gathering of auto industry executives and lawmakers.

The standards, which must go through the regulatory process, including public comment, would reverse fuel economy and pollution control cuts made under President Donald Trump. At that time, the increases were reduced to 1.5% per year until model year 2026.

Still, it remained to be seen how quickly consumers would be ready to switch to higher mileage, lower emissions vehicles over less fuel efficient SUVs, currently the best selling in the industry. The EV 2030 goals are ultimately non-binding, and the industry has stressed that billions of dollars in EV investments in legislation pending in Congress will be critical to meeting those goals.

Only 2.2% of new vehicle sales were fully electric vehicles through June, according to estimates from Edmunds.com. This is up from 1.4% in the same period last year.

Biden has long called himself a “car guy,” his blue-collar politician interspersed with support for unionized workers and his role, as vice president, in stabilizing the auto industry after the economic collapse of 2008. He also joked with Mary Barra, the CEO of General Motors, that he wanted to book a test drive.

“I have a commitment from Mary: When they make the first electric Corvette, I can drive it,” Biden said. “No, Mary? You think I’m kidding. I am not joking. “

The new standards would reduce greenhouse gas emissions and increase fuel economy by 10% over Trump rules for car model year 2023, followed by a 5% increase in reductions for each model year until 2026, according to a statement from the EPA. That’s an increase of about 25% over four years.

“These robust standards are underpinned by solid scientific and technical expertise, encouraging the development of technologies and innovations that will propel America towards a clean energy future,” EPA Administrator Michael Regan said in the communicated.

Last week, the Associated Press and other news outlets reported that the Biden administration was discussing lower mileage requirements with automakers, but they have apparently been tightened. The change came after environmental groups publicly complained that they were too weak to tackle a serious problem.

Transportation is the main US contributor to climate change. In the United States, automobiles released 824 million tonnes (748 million metric tonnes) of heat-trapping carbon dioxide in 2019, or about 14% of total US emissions, according to the EPA.

The voluntary agreement with automakers defines electric vehicles as plug-in hybrids, fully electric vehicles and those powered by hydrogen fuel cells.

Environmental groups praised the move but also said the administration should act faster.

“This proposal helps us get back on the path to cleaning up pollution from tailpipes,” said Simon Mui of the Natural Resources Defense Council. “But given that climate change has already made our weather so harsh, it is clear that we need to accelerate progress dramatically. “

Scientists claim that man-made global warming is raising temperatures, raising sea levels and worsening forest fires, droughts, floods and storms around the world.

“We urgently need to reduce greenhouse gas pollution, and voluntary action will not reduce it,” Becker said.

Several automakers have already announced sales targets for electric vehicles similar to those in the agreement with the government. Last week, for example, the CEO of Ford said his company expects 40% of its global sales to be fully electric by 2030. General Motors has said it aspires to sell only vehicles from electric tourism by 2035. Stellantis, formerly Fiat Chrysler, also pledged more than 40% of vehicles to be electrified by 2030.

Trump’s rollback to Obama-era standards would require a projection of 29 mpg into the “real world” of stop-and-go driving by 2026. It was not clear what the actual mileage would be according to Biden standards. Under Obama administration rules, it would have increased to 37 mpg.

Automakers have said they will work towards the 40% to 50% sales target for electric vehicles.

“You can count on Toyota to do our part,” said Ted Ogawa, company CEO for North America.

General Motors, Stellantis and Ford said in a joint statement that their recent commitments to electric vehicles show that they want to lead the United States in the transition from combustion vehicles.

They said the change is a “dramatic shift” from today’s US market, and can only happen with policies that include incentives for the purchase of electric vehicles, adequate government funding for charging stations and money to expand the electric vehicle manufacturing and parts supply chain.

The United Auto Workers union, which has expressed concerns about being too hasty with an EV transition due to the potential impact on industry jobs, has not pledged to endorse a target of 40 % to 50% EV. But the UAW said it supported the president to “support his ambition not only to develop electric vehicles, but also our ability to produce them in the country with good wages and benefits.”

On Thursday, Biden repeatedly touted the virtues of American union workers and said the challenges of climate change could provide an opportunity for “well-paying union jobs.”

As part of a shift from internal combustion to electric energy, jobs that now involve the manufacture of pistons, fuel injectors and mufflers will be replaced by the assembly of lithium-ion batteries, electric motors and heavy wire harnesses.

Many of these components are now manufactured overseas, especially in China. Biden has made developing an electric vehicle supply chain in the United States a key part of his plan to create more jobs in the auto industry.

In a bipartisan infrastructure bill awaiting Senate passage, there is $ 7.5 billion in grants to build charging stations, about half of what Biden originally proposed. He wanted $ 15 billion for 500,000 stations, plus money for tax credits and rebates to get people to buy electric vehicles.

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Associated Press editors Hope Yen, Jonathan Lemire and Seth Borenstein in Washington and contributed to this report.

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