President Joe Biden has announced a new target for the U.S. auto industry—to make half of all new vehicles sold in 2030 meet zero-emission standards.
“Today, I’m signing an executive order setting out a target of 50% of all passenger vehicles sold by 2030 will be electric and set into motion an all-out effort,” Biden said in a speech at the White House on Thursday Aug. 5.
Biden said that the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Transportation had unveiled those proposals. They are working on the next round of standards for a broad class of vehicles—for cars, SUVs, pick-up trucks, and medium heavy-duty vehicles.
The target is supported by companies such as General Motors, Ford Motor, and Fiat Chrysler parent Stellantis. Their representatives are invited to the summit about the future of electric cars at the White House on Thursday.
However, Elon Musk complained that Biden did not invite him to the summit though his company, Tesla, accounts for 74% of EVs sales in the United States last three years, according to The Hill.
According to the White House, the new order will position “America to drive the electric vehicle future forward, outcompete China, and tackle the climate crisis.”
Speaking on CNBC’s “Squawk Box” on Thursday, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said that the order “doesn’t function as a mandate, but it does create the conditions for us to meet that goal.”
“We have got to act, the transportation sector is the biggest part of our economy emitting greenhouse gases, and cars and trucks are one of the biggest parts of that,” he said.
Republican lawmakers have historically objected to the higher price of electric vehicles and called for the free market to dictate the future of the auto industry as opposed to executive orders, according to Breitbart.
The least expensive new electric car in 2021 is the $29,900 Mini Electric Hardtop, according to U.S. News & World Report, which reported the price before state and federal tax credits. By contrast, US News reports that the 2021 Chevrolet Spark is the least expensive new car overall and starts at $13,400.
Achieving the 50% target in less than nine years would be a steep climb as the electric car industry faces significant hurdles, such as charging infrastructure, consumer adoption, and vehicle costs.
But in a joint statement on Thursday, General Motors, Ford Motor, and Stellantis said that they aspired to achieve Biden’s goal.
“Today, Ford, GM and Stellantis announce their shared aspiration to achieve sales of 40-50% of annual U.S. volumes of electric vehicles (battery electric, fuel cell and plug-in hybrid vehicles) by 2030 in order to move the nation closer to a zero-emissions future consistent with Paris climate goals,” the automakers said. “We look forward to working with the Biden Administration, Congress and state and local governments to enact policies that will enable these ambitious objectives.”
At present, about 10% of European car sales are of electric vehicles, but they account for less than 2% in the United States, according to the International Energy Agency in 2020.