President Joe Biden said "there's no turning back" on the future of an electric auto industry Thursday as he signed an executive order setting a target for zero-emissions vehicles to account for half of all automobiles sold in the USA by 2030.
The executive order applies to battery electric, plug-in hybrid electric and fuel-cell electric vehicles. According to the Pew Research Center, electric vehicles accounted for less than 2% of U.S. automobile sales in each of the past three years, putting the USA behind 19 other nations.
The president — in front of zero-emissions vehicles staged behind him on the White House South Lawn — was joined by executives from Ford, GM and Stellantis, as well as leaders from the United Auto Workers union and members of Congress.
The non-binding executive order hinges on major investments by auto manufactures, and the federal government’s investment in charging stations and infrastructure.
The Infrastructure Bill
There are around 43,000 charging stations in the U.S. today, and Biden has called for building a network of 500,000 chargers within the decade. But the latest version of his infrastructure bill includes just half of the $15 billion in funding he proposed.
Called the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, the $550 billion plan costs less than a quarter of Biden’s original American Jobs Plan, and the newly streamlined bill proposes $109 billion for roads, bridges, rail projects, airports and public transit. However, the biggest cut from Biden’s plan was in funding for nationwide infrastructure that electrifies America’s vehicles.
“A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush,” says White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki. “This bill still funds many of the investments the Biden administration has prioritized, which will garner support from at least 10 Republicans – and is enough to overcome a filibuster which requires at least 60 of the 100 Senate votes.”
“I’m pleased to report that a bipartisan group of senators — five Democrats, five Republicans — have come together and forged agreement that will create millions of American jobs,” said President Biden. “Together, we’ll modernize America’s infrastructure.”
No Turning Back
“The future of the auto industry is electric. There’s no turning back,” Biden concluded, during yesterday’s closing remarks on the South Lawn of the White House.
While Ford, GM and Stellantis stood proudly behind the president at yesterday’s ceremony, other foreign auto manufactures were chiming in, too. “Upwards of 50% of our fleet will be electric by 2030,” BMW’s Ben Trask told CHARLATAN yesterday. As Munich goes so goes the nation.
The world’s largest premier automobile manufacturer in Munich added, “Technology doesn’t drive change. It’s very simply the vehicle of change.”