Details about Joe Biden’s environmental plans are beginning to emerge, and they include a massive push for electric cars and trucks. According to Car and Driver, part of the plan is a program that offers financial incentives for Americans to trade in their gas guzzlers and replace them with efficient electric vehicles, but here’s the kicker: The incentives will only apply to cars manufactured in the United States.
Exactly what “manufactured in the United States” means is not clear at this time, but it will most definitely benefit Tesla, whose vehicles can boast some of the highest US content of any cars sold in America. It will also be a boon to Volkswagen, which is converting part of its Chattanooga factory to make cars based on the MEB platform. Hyundai and KIA, however, who make some very competitive electric cars, would be left out in the cold.
The plan appears to be a derivative of a proposal floated last October by Senator Chuck Schumer of New York. Schumer’s plan would pay out $454 billion over the next ten years to encourage Americans to trade in their internal combustion powered cars and buy an EV or hybrid instead. Hydrogen fuel cell cars would qualify as an electric car under the Schumer plan. Whether “hybrid” means a conventional Toyota Prius or a plug-in hybrid like the Prius Prime is unclear, but hopefully ordinary hybrids — which Toyota delights in calling “self charging electric cars” — will be excluded.
The Schumer plan also has a social justice component. Low income buyers would get larger incentives and those may apply to purchasing a used electric car as well. Whether the incentives would be paid at the time of purchase or be structured as income tax credits like the existing federal electric car program is unclear. The target is to replace up to 63 million conventional cars with EVs by 2030.
Like the Schumer plan, Biden’s proposal includes money to install a half million electric car chargers all across America as well as financial assistance to help car makers convert their factories to electric vehicle production. The candidate claims the money involved is not an expense but rather an investment that will create one million well paying employment opportunities for American workers in the auto industry. It will also re-establish America as a leader in the auto industry globally.
The UAW has endorsed the Biden proposal, just as a number of influential stakeholders endorsed the Schumer plan last fall, including the Sierra Club, the Natural Resources Defense Council, the League of Conservation Voters, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Ford, and General Motors, according to The Verge.
Biden also proposes to replace the enormous US government fleet of vehicles with electric cars and trucks, a move that would not only save taxpayer money in reduced fuel and maintenance costs, but also spur manufacturers to retool their factories to produce EVs, driving down the cost of electric vehicles.
The Biden proposal should be well received by readers of CleanTechnica, although it will be rancorously dismissed as government overreach, communism, socialism, and possibly mopery on the highs seas by oil and gasoline producers. It’s impossible to please everyone all the time. The fossil fuel crowd has gotten everything on their wish list for far too long. It’s way past time to let them fend for themselves as changes in the market place, encouraged by sensible government policies, replace the 19th century technology that is the basis of our transportation system today with 21st century technology that can not only boost employment but help the Earth breathe a little easier as well.
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