In continuing one of the largest government subsidized shifts to the auto industry ever forced upon manufacturers and customers, the Biden administration is now reportedly targeting 2030 to have 50% of the auto fleet on the road electric.
On Thursday of this week Biden issued an executive order to supplement this target, also proposing new vehicle emission standards that would cut pollution through 2026, starting with a 10% stringency increase in the 2023 model year, according to Reuters.
"The biggest thing that’s happening here is there’s a realization, on the part of both labor and business now, that this is the future. We can’t sit by," Biden said this week.
U.S. automakers slyly embraced the target, noting that it would "require billions of dollars in government funding" to accomplish.
But, of course, there's always some tree-hugging environmentalist group that isn't going to be happy enough. In this case it was the "Safe Climate Transport Campaign", who said that Biden didn't go far enough. They also called the commitment of automakers "unreliable".
GM, Ford and Stellantis collectively issued a statement saying they wanted "to achieve sales of 40-50% of annual U.S. volumes of electric vehicles ... by 2030." To make it happen, the Biden administration and the automakers are planning on using a combination of fully electric, fuel cell, and hybrid vehicles.
Conspicuously absent from the presser was Tesla, whose exclusion from the event prompted speculation about whether or not the company's anti-union stance played a role (or, if something else could be brewing in the background regarding the company). When asked about the omission, Transportation Secretary Mayor Pete ducked the question - twice.
Why is $TSLA @elonmusk absent from today's White House event on #electricvehicles?— Squawk Box (@SquawkCNBC) August 5, 2021
"I'm not sure. What I know is you are seeing so many leaders in industry," says @SecretaryPete pic.twitter.com/Buv06fMiPm
Biden doesn't seem keen on setting a binding requirement for the automakers, nor has he set a nationwide date for banning the sale of all gasoline powered vehicles, like California has done.
UAW President Ray Curry simply said his union was focused "on preserving the wages and benefits that have been the heart and soul of the American middle class."
"Flexibility is important ... but at the same token you need to set ambitious goals," said Senator Gary Peters of Michigan.
Dan Becker, director of the Safe Climate Transport Campaign said:
“Voluntary pledges from auto companies make a New Year’s resolution to lose weight look like a legally binding contract."
Nonetheless, Biden signed the executive order at the White House before jumping into an electric Jeep and driving around the grounds.