Yesterday, President Biden issued an “Executive Order on Strengthening US Leadership in Clean Cars and Trucks.” The decree sets “a target that 50% of all new passenger cars and light trucks sold in 2030 will be zero-emission vehicles, including battery-electric, plug-in hybrids or fuel cell electric vehicles.” It also directs the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Secretary of Transportation to consider starting to develop rules to set new emissions and fuel economy standards for light, medium-sized vehicles. and some heavy-duty vehicles for model years 2027 through at least 2030, with final regulations due out by July 2024. Executives from several major automakers and representatives from United Auto Workers attended the president’s remarks announcing the executive order and pledged their support for these initiatives.
The 50% target is not compulsory and does not pretend to anticipate the objectives imposed by the State. Last September, for example, the governor of California signed an executive order banning the sale of new combustion-engined cars and trucks after 2035 in a bid to revive industry support and consumer interest in electric vehicles. (VE). On setting new emissions standards, President Biden’s Executive Order commends “the significant expertise and historic leadership demonstrated by the State of California” and directs the EPA administrator to coordinate activities of the agency with this state and others “who pave the way for reducing vehicle emissions, including adopting California standards.”
Achieving this ambitious goal will require significant investments in infrastructure to promote consumer acceptance of EVs. Electric vehicles are off to a good start in 2021; According to a leading industry source, electric vehicle sales accounted for 7.8% of total sales in the first quarter of this year, a significant increase from their share of 4.8% in the same period in 2020. The US Department of Energy reports that at the end of 2020, there were more than 106,000 charging ports in the United States, an increase of more than 21,000 from the previous year. In his remarks yesterday, the president reiterated the administration’s goal of building 500,000 new charging stations. Developing the infrastructure necessary for the widespread adoption of electric vehicles will also require buy-in and substantial investment from states, municipalities and private companies.