Detroit (AFP) – President Joe Biden“Automan” with his vintage Corvette, showcased his administration’s efforts to promote electric vehicles During a visit Wednesday to the Detroit Auto Show.
Biden traveled to the massive North American International Auto Show to block a massive new climate, tax, and healthcare law that offer tax incentives for the purchase of electric cars. He toured a mix of American-made plug-in hybrids, electrics, and combustion vehicles from Chevrolet, General Motors, Ford and Stellantis on an enclosed floor of the Convention Center, and greeted union workers, CEOs and local leaders.
“You all know I’m a car guy,” Biden told a massive crowd of auto workers, adding that cars “give me a sense of optimism — even though I love speed too.”
While Biden took credit for the recent boom in electric car battery and assembly plant adsMost of them were in business long before the Inflation Reduction Act was signed into law on August 16. Biden’s infrastructure legislation of 2021 could have something to do with it – it saves $5 billion More than five years to help countries build a network of electric vehicle charging stations.
In Detroit, Biden announced approval of the first $900 million in infrastructure money to build electric chargers across 53,000 miles. National Highway System in 34 states and Puerto Rico.
“The great American road trip is going to be all-electric,” Biden said.
He also highlighted the law’s funding to support infrastructure projects in Detroit and across Michigan.
“When you see these big projects in your town, I want you to feel what I feel: pride. We take pride in what we can do when we do it together,” Biden said.
The president has credited the Auto Workers and other unions with his support in his 2020 campaign for the White House. He highlighted how his administration is promoting union contracts for large projects, calling union workers the “most skilled” in the country.
“The middle class built America, and the unions built the middle class,” Biden said.
He made time for party politics, too. He praised Michigan Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, who will be re-elected in November, calling her a “great governor” who has used her state’s federal resources to the fullest. Biden also participated in a Michigan Democratic Party fundraiser on behalf of her re-election campaign.
During a tour of the convention center floor, the Democratic president, who recently rolled his pine-green 1967 Stingray with Jay Leno for the part of CNBC’s “Jay Leno’s Garage” on CNBC, hopped into the driver’s seat of his bright orange Z06 Chevrolet Corvette— Which starts at $106,000 and isn’t an electric car — and powered its engine, along with General Motors CEO Mary Barra.
“He says he’s driving home,” she joked.
Biden then toured the new electric Ford Mustang Mach-E, marveling with Ford CEO Bill Ford at the model’s performance. “It’s incredible speed,” Biden said, adding, “Does it have a play button?” Also explore less bright vehicles, such as Ford’s all-electric E-Transit truck and F-150 truck.
Biden finally takes the wheel of a Cadillac Lyriq electric all-wheel drive, which starts at $63,000, briefly driving down a hallway in the blue-carpeted hall. It was a rare occasion to drive — albeit a little more than walking speed — for the president, who is usually ferried in armored U.S. Secret Service vehicles when out in public.
“Jump, I’ll get you to Washington,” he joked to reporters. “It’s a nice car,” he said, “but I love the Corvette.”
Under the new law, electric vehicles must be built in North America to be eligible for a federal tax credit of up to $7,500.. Qualified vehicle batteries must also be manufactured in North America, and there are requirements for battery metal production or recycling on the continent. The credits aim to create a supply chain for electric vehicles in the United States and end dependence on other countries, particularly China.
The passage of that measure sent automakers rushing efforts to find batteries and batteries made in North America from the United States, Canada or Mexico to ensure that electric vehicles are eligible for credit.
In April, Ford began building electric pickup trucks at a new plant in Michigan. General Motors has renovated an older plant in Detroit to make Hummers and pickup trucks.
Long before lawmakers reached a compromise on the legislation, each company announced three electric battery factories, all of which are joint ventures with battery makers. A genetically modified battery factory in Warren, Ohio, has already begun manufacturing. A government loan announced in July will help General Motors build its own battery plants.
Ford said last September it would build the next generation of electric trucks at a plant in Tennessee, and General Motors announced electric vehicle assembly plants in Lansing, Michigan. Spring Hill, Tennessee; and Orion Township, Michigan. In May, Stellantis, formerly known as Fiat Chrysler, said it would build another joint battery plant in Indiana, and announced a battery plant in Canada.
Hyundai announced battery and assembly plants in May in Georgia, and Vietnamese automaker VinFast announced plants in North Carolina in July. Honda and Toyota both announced US battery plants after the law was passed, but they have been in the pipeline for months.
Biden has long been talking about the importance of building a domestic supply chain for electric vehicles, and this may have prompted some companies to locate factories in the United States, but it is also beneficial to build batteries near where the electric vehicles are assembled because the batteries are heavy and expensive to ship from abroad.
Car companies are introducing more affordable electric options Although the battery costs. The most recent one came last week from General Motors, a small SUV from the Chevrolet Equinox. It has a starting price of around $30,000 and has a charging range of 250 miles or 400 kilometers. Buyers can get a range of 300 miles, or 500 kilometers, if they pay more.
Equinox is verifying the North American Consolidation Fund. It will be made in Mexico. The company will not specify where the battery is manufactured, but it is working to meet other criteria for the tax credit.
It will take more than government money to build enough charging stations to ease public anxiety about running out of juice with an electric car, said Christian Meunier, CEO of Jeep brand Stellantis. But he said the funds announced by Biden should bring in more private investment.
“There is building momentum. There will be a feasibility study for private companies to increase investment,” Monnier said on the motor show floor. “It will grow exponentially.”
Krecher reported from Detroit. Associated Press writer Zick Miller in Washington contributed.
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