DEARBORN, Mich. (WLNS)– President Joe Biden will visit the Metro Detroit Ford Rouge Electric Vehicle Center Tuesday afternoon.
The president’s arrival comes just one day before the automaker is set to roll out its all-new electric F-150 Lighting. The Biden Administration is in major support of electric vehicles, as part of its mission to cut U.S. fossil fuel emissions up to 52% by 2030.
President Biden also made electric cars a priority in his infrastructure plan, with the largest chunk of the proposal including $621 billion for roads, bridges, public transit, electric vehicle charging stations and other transportation infrastructure. The spending would push the country away from internal combustion engines that the auto industry views as an increasingly antiquated technology. Specifically the plan hopes to dedicate $174 billion towards transitioning the nation to electric vehicles over the next 8 years.
“It’s not a plan that tinkers around the edges,” Biden said in regards to the infrastructure plan. “It’s a once-in-a-generation investment in America unlike anything we’ve seen or done since we built the interstate highway system and the space race decades ago. In fact, it’s the largest American jobs investment since World War II. It will create millions of jobs, good-paying jobs.”
In an effort to combat another hurdle, last month in a statement from the White House, the administration said it plans to accelerate and deploy electric vehicles and 500,000 charging stations nationwide.
The widespread presence of charging stations would help to overcome drivers’ fears of being stranded in a powerless car, one of the challenges confronting Ford and General Motors as those companies seek to go electric.
The White House says the U.S. has just a fraction, about one-third, of the electric vehicle market share that China has, and far fewer public charging points — and needs to catch up before it can take the lead.
At Ford, its F-Series pickup — including heavy-duty versions — have been the top-selling vehicles in the U.S. for 39 straight years. Last year, the company sold more than 787,000 of the trucks, even though it had to close factories for eight weeks at the start of the coronavirus pandemic.
Ford sells about 900,000 F-Series pickups during a normal year.
The trucks are a huge cash cow for Ford. A study by the Boston Consulting Group found that the F-Series brings in $42 billion in U.S. revenue for the automaker. That’s more than whole companies such as McDonald’s, Nike and Netflix.
The F-150 Lightning electric truck, due in showrooms in the middle of next year, will come at a time when only a few in the U.S. have been willing to switch away from gasoline-powered vehicles.
Through April of this year, automakers have sold only 107,624 fully electric vehicles in the U.S. That’s almost double the number for the same time last year. Still, EVs account for only 2% of U.S. vehicle sales, according to Edmunds.com.
Ford announced it was building the electric vehicle center last year and said it would employ 500 people to build batteries and assemble the F-150 Lightning. The exterior of the plant is finished, with work under way on the interior.
Biden also has pushed the transition to electric vehicles as a way to create good-paying American union jobs for the next generation of transportation. Critics of his plan say that his taxes and the move away from fossil fuels would increase expenses for businesses and possibly cost jobs.
Studies have shown that each electric vehicle sold reduces emissions, although it takes a couple of years to reach that point if coal is used to generate the power used to charge the vehicles.