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Published on January 15th, 2019 | by Dr. Maximilian Holland


Trump Flips — Changes His Mind On Electric Vehicles (For The Moment). Now EVs Are “A Big Win!”

January 15th, 2019 by  

Having recently criticised GM for aiming to increase its focus on electric vehicles, Trump has now called VW’s new EV production investment in Chattanooga “A big win!” What’s up with that?

A month ago, Trump was all over Mary Barra and GM for their plans to focus more on EV production going forwards, saying;

“I think she’s making a big mistake. They’ve changed the whole model of General Motors, they’re going to all-electric. All electric is not going to work. I don’t run a car company, but all-electric is not going to work. It’s wonderful to have it as a percentage of your cars, but going into this model, that she’s doing, I think is a mistake.”

Now that VW has just announced plans to invest $800 million in EV production in Chattanooga, suddenly Trump is cheerleading the move, and highlighting the EV focus:

Obviously, there’s the jobs and investment angle, and his criticism of GM was against a background of them cutting jobs in gas vehicle production. Trump seems like he’s fickle in his enthusiasm for EVs, just like he is on other things. He’ll cheer them or jeer them just on the basis of whether they are — in any given moment — associated with economic investment or economic downsizing. There’s not much evidence of a considered message or vision behind Trump’s commentary on any of these moves (or much else, frankly). Let alone leadership. Not long ago he was threatening to remove the EV tax credit entirely. In short, there’s scant evidence that Trump understands one of the biggest changes to the transportation industry in its entire history.

Perhaps someone should tell Trump that Elon Musk and the rest of the team over at Tesla have created tens of thousands of jobs in the US, and claiming to help them (or actually helping them) would be an easy win for the administration. Tesla is the only successful auto startup in the USA for decades, and only the second US auto company to not go bankrupt. And the Model 3 is now the top-selling car from an American auto company sold in the USA.

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About the Author

Max is an anthropologist, social theorist and international political economist, trying to ask questions and encourage critical thinking about social and environmental justice, sustainability and the human condition. He has lived and worked in Europe and Asia, and is currently based in Barcelona. Find Max's book on social theory, follow Max on twitter @Dr_Maximilian and at MaximilianHolland.com, or contact him via LinkedIn.

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