Biden to promote shift to electric vehicles during visit to Detroit auto show


DETROIT (Reuters) – President Joe Biden plans to take a victory lap at the Detroit auto show on Wednesday, highlighting automakers’ growing shift to electric vehicles and billions of dollars in new investment in battery factories.

Detroit’s Big Three automakers are showcasing a number of new electric vehicles at the auto show. The U.S. Congress and Biden, a self-proclaimed Democratic “car guy,” have pledged tens of billions of dollars in loans, manufacturing and consumption tax credits, and grants to accelerate the transition from vehicles to internal combustion towards cleaner electric vehicles.

General Motors Chief Executive Mary Barra, Stellantis NV CEO Carlos Tavares and Chairman John Elkann and Ford Motor Co Executive Chairman Bill Ford Jr will welcome Biden to the auto show where he’ll take a look at some new green models before commenting on the transition to electric vehicles.

Still, gasoline trucks are well represented at the show. A large majority of new vehicles sold by the Detroit Three are still gasoline-powered models, and Tesla Inc dominates the U.S. electric vehicle market and outsells the Detroit Three automakers combined on electric vehicles.

The White House announced a string of recent major investment announcements from U.S. and foreign automakers to build new battery and electric vehicle factories.

White House national climate adviser Ali Zaidi told Reuters automakers and battery makers announced in 2022 “$13 billion in electric vehicle manufacturing” as they accelerate “the rate of their investments in investment projects here in the United States”.

Zaidi said “the answer is now unambiguous and clear – that the future – an all-electric transportation industry – is going to be made in America.”

Biden’s remarks will focus on a “sense of momentum” for electric vehicles, Zaidi said, including cutting battery prices by more than 90% since 2009.

In July, the U.S. Department of Energy announced plans to loan Ultium Cells LLC, a joint venture of GM and LG Energy Solution, $2.5 billion to help fund construction of new cell manufacturing facilities. lithium ion battery.

In August 2021, Biden set a goal for electric or plug-in hybrid vehicles to account for 50% of all new vehicle sales in the United States by 2030. The Detroit Three support the non-binding goal of 50%.

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan said the city’s auto show – the first since January 2019 – would highlight American automakers’ shift to electric vehicles.

“I think you’re going to see Detroit automakers overtake Tesla and compete with Chinese companies that are also way down the EV road,” Duggan told reporters Tuesday.

When he was vice president in the Obama administration, Biden attended the Detroit auto show and was a vocal advocate for the 2008-09 bailouts of GM and Chrysler, now part of Stellantis.

EV battery makers are looking to boost U.S. production as the country implements tougher regulations and tightens tax credit eligibility.

In August, California moved to require all new vehicles sold in the state by 2035 to be electric or plug-in hybrid electric. The Biden administration has refused to approve a specific phase-out date for gas-powered vehicles.

Honda Motor Co Ltd recently announced that it will build a new $4.4 billion lithium-ion battery plant for US electric vehicles with Korean battery supplier LG Energy Solution Ltd.

Toyota Motor Corp said it would increase its planned investment in a new battery plant in the United States from $1.29 billion to $3.8 billion.

GM and LG Energy Solution began production at their $2.3 billion joint venture battery plant in Ohio in August. The companies are considering a site in New Carlisle, Indiana, for a fourth battery cell manufacturing plant in the United States that is expected to cost around $2.4 billion.

(Reporting by David Shepardson in Washington; Editing by Matthew Lewis)

Copyright 2022 Thomson Reuters.


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