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The Biden Administration Asks Automakers to Back its Pledge of 40% of New Car Sales Being Electric by 2030

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【Summary】The White House wants electric vehicles to make up at least 40% of all new car sales in the U.S. by 2030 and has asked automakers to voluntarily back its pledge to help it reach that goal. The request from the White House comes as the Biden administration prepares to roll out proposed revisions to vehicle emissions standards as early as next week, which would cover 2023 through 2026 model year vehicles.

FutureCar Staff    Jul 30, 2021 10:45 AM PT
The Biden Administration Asks Automakers to Back its Pledge of 40% of New Car Sales Being Electric by 2030

The White House wants electric vehicles to make up at least 40% of all new car sales in the U.S. by 2030 and has asked automakers to voluntarily back its pledge to help it reach that goal.

However, sources that spoke to Reuters have said that a voluntary electric vehicle (EV) target could be as high as 50%, although no official agreement with automakers has been reached and talks continue. It's also not clear if this figure includes hybrid vehicles equipped with combustion engines.

The request from the White House comes as the Biden administration prepares to roll out proposed revisions to vehicle emissions standards as early as next week, which would cover 2023 through 2026 model year vehicles. 

The new emissions guidelines are expected to be similar to California's 2019 deal with some automakers that aims to improve fuel economy 3.7% annually, sources told Reuters. The 2026 requirements are expected to exceed the 5% annual improvements set by President Obama in 2012.

Many of the world's top automakers have already made the commitment of selling only electric vehicles by 2030, including Mercedes-Benz, Volvo, Audi and Volkswagen. U.S. automaker General Motors is targeting 2035 for its phase out of gas-powered vehicles. While GM's domestic rival Ford Motor Co plans to have 40% of its model lineup fully-electric by 2030.

Earlier this month, Stellantis, which is now the parent company of Fiat Chrysler, said it was targeting over 40% of U.S. vehicles to be low emission by 2030. 

The White House declined to comment on the ongoing discussions with automakers.

The Biden administration's pledge to lower emissions however is being met with resistance from the United Auto Workers (UAW), which represents employees of GM, Ford and Stellantis. The UAW has opposed EV mandates, warning it could put some manufacturing jobs at risk as automakers switch to electric vehicle production. This comes after a report which stated that the UAW has already agreed to the 40% target.

According to Reuters, United Auto Workers spokesman (UAW) Brian Rothenberg said the published report was inaccurate. "The UAW is still in discussions and has not reached agreement at this point," Rothenberg said in a statement.

The Biden administration has also resisted calls from many Democrats to set a binding target for EV adoption, which is what the state of California has done.

Last September, California Governor Gavin Newsom issued an executive order requiring sales of all new passenger vehicles in the state to be zero-emission by 2035, as well as additional measures to eliminate harmful emissions from the transportation sector. 

The move was backed by California senators Senators Alex Padilla (D) and Dianne Feinstein (D). Eariler this year, the two senators urged President Biden to set a timeline to do the same on a national level.

In a letter sent to President Biden in March, the senators said the move is urgent in order to ensure that the United States remains a leader in clean technology, engineering, and manufacturing and set a date by which all new cars and passenger trucks sold in the U.S. be zero-emission vehicles.

The 40% target for EV sales in the U.S. by 2030 is still not enough for many Democratic house members. A total of 71 Democrats in the House of Representatives urged Biden to set tough emissions rules to ensure that 60% of new passenger cars and trucks sold are zero-emission by 2030.

A month later in April, governors from California, New York and Massachusetts and other states urged Biden to do even more, asking him to endorse banning new passenger gasoline-powered vehicle sales in the U.S. by 2035, which seems highly unlikely.


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