How could the ongoing US election impact the electric vehicle industry? Let’s consider.
Biden’s EV Plans vs. Trump’s Non-EV Plans
Bloomberg noted that the course of EV makers “hinges” on the election and and federal fuel-economy rules. Both candidates stated that they support EVs, but Donald Trump dod nothing good for EVs, while Joe Biden has proposed reforming and extending the EV tax credit as well as building a vast EV charging network across the nation.
Biden’s win would help speed up the adoption of EVs — both electric cars and electric trucks — and particularly those built by American automakers such as Tesla, Ford, and Rivian.
Unlike Trump, Biden actually has a plan for the EV industry. Biden plans to spend $2 trillion on EV infrastructure as well as other green projects if he wins. This includes building over half a million charging stations by 2030, restoring the full EV tax credit — which Trump reportedly killed.
Biden would also create support strong air quality and water regulations that would encourage the use of EVs, whereas Trump has so far attacked the environment in 75–99 ways.
Trump’s plan would be to continue loosening of fuel emission standards and doing nothing to stimulate the transition to electric vehicles. While Europe has 3–4 times more EV market share in its auto sector, Trump would be happy to fall further behind rather than try to catch up.
Rapid Revolution? Maybe Not
A team of Bloomberg New Energy Finance analysts, led by Aleksandra O’Donovan, shared some of their thoughts in a report that was published last week. “A Biden win, coupled with Democrats taking control of the Senate, has the potential to shift the trajectory of electric vehicle adoption for years while reversing some of the damage inflicted by the current administration.”
However, a big point here is that the Senate looks like it will remain in Republican control. That will hamper many efforts to stimulate the economy and promote clean energy and electric transport on a large scale.
Increasing Pace of Adoption
Biden’s goal is to have the EV share of passenger vehicles be at least 25% by 2026, or 4 million EV sales annually.
In an interview, Joseph Osha of JMP Securities pointed out that EVs are the future, but that our pace of adoption could change a great deal. “It may be that electric vehicles are the future, but the pace at which that happens could change a lot,” he said, while adding that there was “much more ambitious language” from Biden’s campaign about encouraging things such as an EV supply chain, de-carbonizing, and long-haul powerlines.
Tesla would definitely have a lot to gain in a Biden win, but perhaps considerably less so without the EV tax credit reform that a GOP Senate is unlikely to pass, or even consider.
Suppliers to companies such as Tesla could also do well from a Biden presidency. LG Chem, Panasonic, and other battery makers could benefit. So could battery metal companies such as Lithium Americas Corp., Piedmont Lithium, and Albermarle Corp. The Biden campaign even told US miners that it would boost domestic output of metals used to make EVs and solar panels.
On the condition of anonymity, a source close to the Biden campaign said, “A Biden administration would emphasize green energy, and in order to get more solar panels, you need more raw materials. These materials don’t come out of a test tube.” Scotiabank analysts believe that Biden’s plan will spark a multi-year boon for copper since EVs use twice as much copper as internal combustion engines.
It’s clear as day that if Trump wins, it would be bad for the environment. We’ve written many articles that have demonstrated just how much Trump has already impacted the clean energy and climate action movement. From leaving the Paris agreement (which is official today), to making the EPA a ghost of its glory days, to poisoning our drinking waters with waste and sewage, to allowing drilling in protected forests. These are just a few examples.
A Biden win would be a win for all of us. True — it will take generations to undo the damage Trump has done to this nation — but better to start now than four years from now when it may be too late to undo so much more damage that Trump could do.