Canadian Manufacturing

US automakers pledge huge increase in electric vehicles

Biden also wants automakers to raise gas mileage and cut tailpipe pollution between now and model year 2026.

August 6, 2021  by Associated Press

Declaring the U.S. must “move fast” to win the world’s carmaking future, President Joe Biden on Aug. 5 announced a commitment from the auto industry to produce electric vehicles for as much as half of U.S. sales by the end of the decade.

Biden also wants automakers to raise gas mileage and cut tailpipe pollution between now and model year 2026. That would mark a significant step toward meeting his pledge to cut emissions and battle climate change as he pushes a history-making shift in the U.S. from internal combustion engines to battery-powered vehicles.

He urged that the components needed to make that sweeping change — from batteries to semiconductors — be made in the United States, too, aiming for both industry and union support for the environmental effort, with the promise of new jobs and billions in federal electric vehicle investments.

Pointing to electric vehicles parked on the White House South Lawn, the president declared them a “vision of the future that is now beginning to happen.”

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“The question is whether we lead or fall behind in the race for the future,” he said, “Folks, the rest of the world is moving ahead. We have to catch up.”

Earlier on Aug. 5, the administration announced there would be new mileage and anti-pollution standards from the Environmental Protection Agency and Transportation Department, part of Biden’s goal to cut U.S. greenhouse gas emissions in half by 2030. It said the auto industry had agreed to a target that 40% to 50% of new vehicle sales be electric by 2030.

Both the regulatory standards and the automakers’ voluntary target were included in an executive order that Biden signed as a gathering of auto industry leaders and lawmakers applauded.

The standards, which must go through the regulatory process, would reverse fuel economy and anti-pollution rollbacks done under President Donald Trump. At that time, the mileage increases were reduced to 1.5% annually through model year 2026.

The new standards would cut greenhouse gas emissions and raise fuel economy by 10% over the Trump rules in car model year 2023. They would get 5% stronger in each model year through 2026, according to an EPA statement. That’s about a 25% increase over four years.

The EPA said that by 2026, the proposed standards would be the toughest greenhouse emissions rules in U.S. history.

Several automakers already have announced electric vehicle sales goals similar to those in the deal with the government. Last week Ford’s CEO said his company expects 40% of its global sales to be fully electric by 2030. General Motors has said it aspires to sell only electric passenger vehicles by 2035. Stellantis, formerly Fiat Chrysler, also pledged over 40% electrified vehicles by 2030.

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

They said such a “dramatic shift” from the U.S. market today can only happen with policies that include incentives for electric vehicle purchases, adequate government funding for charging stations and money to expand electric vehicle manufacturing and the parts supply chain.


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