In a move backed by the U.S. auto industry, President Joe Biden took another progressive step toward bringing down the United States’ carbon footprint by issuing an executive order that seeks to make at least half of all new vehicles sold in the U.S. in 2030 fully electric.
The executive order comes only a few days after Reuters reported a joint statement on August 10 between General Motors, Ford Motor, and Stellantis NV (Chrysler’s parent company) announcing their aspirations “to achieve sales of 40-50% of annual U.S. volumes of electric vehicles … by 2030.”
Biden has committed to making the fight against climate change a major part of his platform, with the new order hoping to target vehicle emissions and cement the United States at the peak of the automotive industry amidst strong electrical vehicle competition abroad, particularly from China.
Reactions have been mixed, with many criticizing the lack of legal repercussions for auto makers that don’t meet the 50% target by 2030. Democrats have repeatedly called on Biden to set a legally binding date for the phasing out of gasoline-powered light-duty vehicles and follow the examples of California and other countries, who have set a hard limit of 2035 to stop sales of gas-powered vehicles.
Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla Inc., brought attention to the fact that his company, which produces electrical vehicles, was not involved in drafting the order: “Seems odd that Tesla wasn’t invited.”
Foreign automakers are also in support of the goals, though some are already suggesting they may not commit to meeting the 50% figure. Hyundai has said they support 40-50% EV sales by 2030, and Nissan has said it already has existing plans to target U.S. vehicle sales of more than 40% by 2030.
The United States’ biggest automakers are in full support of the order, but say that such aggressive goals would require significant government incentives and infrastructure investment to the tune of billions of tax-payer dollars.
Biden is calling for the United States to spend an extra $174 billion to boost EVs.