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  • As climate change is increasingly  central to everything

  • from personal health to big business,

  • can the Biden administration's  policies to clean up emissions

  • also jumpstart America's  effort to beat Europe and China

  • as the world leader in  electric vehicle production?

  • His two trillion dollar infrastructure plan

  • offers a possible roadmap  for how the U.S. can lead

  • and grow its economy.

  • Creating good-paying jobs by leading the  world in the manufacturing and export

  • of clean electric cars and trucks.

  • Electric vehicles, also  referred to as EVs, are not new.

  • The U.S. began experimenting  with them in the late 1800s,

  • and by the turn of the century,

  • they accounted for a third of  all vehicles in the country.

  • But the discovery of new domestic oil sources

  • and the rise of Ford's more affordable,

  • mass-produced Model T eventually  squashed the electric car market.

  • And in the century that followed,

  • gas-powered cars took over the roadways,

  • contributing to skyrocketing  global carbon emissions.

  • Modern EVs can help clean up  the transportation sector.

  • Electric vehicles do reduce overall CO2 emissions,

  • both from a tailpipe point of view and  also from a life cycle point of view.

  • It does vary depending on where  the vehicles are being used

  • and the electricity grid mix  in that country or region,

  • and it also varies where you make the battery

  • and the type of battery chemistry you're using.

  • Even factoring for these variables, EVs almost

  • always mean lower carbon emissions  than their gas-powered counterparts.

  • At the moment, U.S. EV sales  are still pretty small,

  • accounting for only about two  percent of all vehicles sold in 2020.

  • Somewhere around five percent of sales  is where things really start to take off.

  • Experts say it will take government  policy to reach that five percent.

  • There are already some U.S. tax credits  that make EVs cheaper for consumers

  • but nothing like what's available in Norway,

  • where 54% of new cars sold in 2020 were electric.

  • In addition to exempting EV drivers  from certain taxes and road tolls,

  • Norway's government has also built  a massive charging infrastructure

  • and subsidizes free parking for EV  owners in many parts of the country.

  • China has similar incentives.

  • In China, there are substantial subsidies.

  • They're supporting electric vehicle companies.

  • Automakers get larger subsidies the  farther their EVs can go per charge,

  • and that incentivizes the  production of better batteries.

  • They have done so much to try to  build out the charging infrastructure.

  • Like this massive charging station in Shenzhen,

  • which can charge up to 15,000 vehicles each day.

  • The government investments seem to have paid off.

  • China is home to about half of  the world's electric vehicles

  • as well as more than 400 companies  building EVs for global consumers.

  • In January, Wuling's Hong Guang  Mini, which costs just 4,500 dollars

  • surpassed the Tesla Model 3 as the  world's best-selling electric car.

  • Generally the U.S. has been behind,

  • but there's a lot of things that might  make you think that's about to change.

  • The president and his team haven't been  shy about their electric vehicle ambitions.

  • We're going to look at the opportunities  that electric vehicles provide

  • to actually make our air cleaner  and address our climate challenge.

  • One of their key priorities is expanding  the nation's charging infrastructure

  • by more than quadrupling the number of

  • publicly accessible charging plugs in the country.

  • Building a nationwide network  of 500,000 charging stations.

  • Another priority is making EVs more  affordable for everyday buyers.

  • We're going to provide tax incentives

  • and point of sale rebates to  help all American families.

  • And the White House wants to lead by example.

  • The federal government also owns  an enormous fleet of vehicles,

  • which we're going to replace  with clean electric vehicles.

  • Currently only 0.6% of that fleet  of 650,000 is battery powered.

  • Even 100% of the fleet makes up onlysmall portion of total American vehicles,

  • but electrifying it can still have a big impact.

  • The procurement tool is particularly  powerful because it gives us

  • a way to pull on the entire supply chain  and bring it here into the United States.

  • Biden has said that he wants a federal fleet

  • that is made and sourced  by American union workers.

  • But as of now, he may have trouble  finding EVs that match his wish list.

  • Three large American automakers currently sell

  • fully electric vehicles: Tesla, GM and Ford.

  • None of their EVs on the market  are made by union workers with

  • enough American-made parts to meet Biden's goals.

  • GM, however, recently announced  a number of upcoming EVs,

  • opened a plant exclusively for their assembly,

  • and is investing inmassive supply chain shakeup.

  • Doing our own battery and cell  production and battery assembly

  • allows for all the key elements of  the supply chain to be right here

  • in the U.S. with American workers doing  the doing the manufacturing for us.

  • The U.S. Postal Service operates  a third of the federal fleet.

  • The problem is that the USPS is run more like

  • a corporation than a typical federal agency.

  • It's funded through payments for its  services rather than federal funding,

  • and how it spends that money is  determined by a board of governors

  • rather than the president and Congress.

  • The current board is made up  of Trump appointed holdovers,

  • and Biden is hoping to fill three  vacancies with nominees of his own.

  • The USPS recently awarded a long-term  contract for new postal delivery vehicles,

  • and so far, only 10% of them  are committed to be electric.

  • I think it's a missed opportunity.

  • Look, vehicles that go small  distances on predictable routes,

  • those are the easy wins.

  • But Oshkosh Defense, the  company that won the contract,

  • says that all of its vehicles  are built for flexibility.

  • If there's a use case today that  needs an internal combustion system,

  • a couple of years from now it can be retrofitted

  • that exact vehicle to a battery electric vehicle.

  • And the USPS says it's open to ordering more EVs

  • if it can get Congress to  offer a funding lifeline.

  • A group of House Democrats recently  introduced legislation that would

  • provide an additional six billion  dollars of funding for the Post Office.

  • Experts point out cleaner cars are only one part

  • of the overall climate change puzzle.

  • Certainly increased demand for electric vehicles

  • will put more strain on the U.S. grid,

  • which is still largely powered by fossil fuels.

  • But for an American industry  coming to terms with its role

  • in helping to clean up the planet, some  clear government policy may help it

  • become a leader in an electric vehicle revolution.

As climate change is increasingly  central to everything

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B1 US electric electric vehicle charging battery vehicle fleet

How Biden's Infrastructure Plan Can Impact Electric Vehicles | TIME

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    joey joey posted on 2021/05/27
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