Biden executive order aims for half of new car sales to be electric by 2030

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Even if you’re probably tired of hearing it, electric cars are the future. The battery-powered cars of tomorrow are entering the market today, and governments around the world are doing their part to drive their adoption to fight climate change and promote innovation.

On Thursday, the White House released a series of statements from automakers committing to work with the United States government to achieve ambitious targets for fleet-wide electric vehicle sales rates and revised targets for fuel economy. Additionally, the Biden administration is expected to issue an executive order that steers the auto industry towards a cleaner future.

A White House statement says Biden’s target of 50% of new cars sold electric by 2030. Additionally, various automakers, including BMW, Ford, Honda, Volkswagen and Volvo, say electric vehicles represent 40-50% of sales in the United States in nine years.

The motivation for the change appears to be significantly stricter emission standards. CNN States that it has received a draft memo from the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of Transportation (DOT) that also notes the reversal of the EPA’s fuel economy changes under the Trump administration.

Under Obama-era CAFE standards, actual mile-per-gallon requirements would have reached approximately 37 mpg by 2026. However, due to reductions in requirements from the next administration, that number was reduced to 29 mpg . The EPA will further revise this standard and set targets for light-duty vehicles between 2023 and 2026, a timeframe indicated in several statements from automakers.

Among the automakers that released statements for today’s announcement, Ford, BMW, Honda and Volkswagen had previously said they did not agree with the previous administration’s about-face on existing standards. . Meanwhile, General Motors, Nissan, Stellantis (then Fiat Chrysler) and Toyota have all sided with relaxing fuel economy standards before.

The industry lobby group Alliance for Automotive Innovation also issued a statement via the White House which was not so favorable. The group was the only party cited by the White House to have called the move a “challenge”, adding that “all levels of government [would] must do their part “for the plan to be successful. The alliance statement also called on the United States to expand its hydrogen refueling infrastructure, in line with recent reports of alleged political negotiations behind closed doors by the United States. Chairman of the Group Board of Directors (who is also a senior Toyota executive).

Toyota has not taken part in or issued a joint statement at the time of writing; However, its North American CEO, Ted Ogawa, noted that the automaker would do its part and reiterated that the targets were “great for the environment”, according to Reuters.

But all may not be as simple as it seems. Dan Becker, director of the Safe Climate Transport campaign at the Center for Biological Diversity, told the New York Times that these goals are set on voluntary targets, which means that they are not meant to be legally binding. Without teeth, Becker believes they “are just making the New Year’s weight loss resolution look like a legally binding contract.”

Either way, it is clear from the statements that automakers are subtly asking for government funding in order to expand electric vehicle adoption efforts. Between the expansion of charging networks and the incentives to build green factories, the possible applications of government money are endless for many facets of the auto industry. It remains to be seen whether or not all of this will be an extension of the upcoming infrastructure bill of over 2,700 pages.

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