By David Shepardson
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Two senior Biden administration officials got behind the wheel of new electric vehicles (EV) Wednesday at the Washington, D.C. auto show to urge Americans to consider buying a zero-emission model.
Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm and White House climate adviser Ali Zaidi took spins in a Ford F-150 Lightning and a Chevrolet Bolt as they touted revamped $7,500 EV tax credits and new $4,000 second-hand EV credits.
The pair also sat and walked around other EVs produced by Toyota Nissan, Subaru, Hyundai and others.
They also highlighted that since President Joe Biden took office, companies have announced nearly $130 billion in U.S. EV investment including $56 billion in EV manufacturing and $72 billion in battery production.
“All these companies announcing they are locating now in the United States,” Granholm told Reuters. “It’s electric vehicles, it’s the guts to the electric vehicle, it’s the guts to the battery – the whole supply chain now locating in the United States.”
Part of that shift to U.S. production is because new restrictions on EV tax credits are prodding automakers and battery makers to rethink production plans.
Zaidi noted hundreds of school districts are using federal funds to help buy EV school buses and the Postal Service has ramped up EV delivery vehicle purchases.
“We’re going to see more and more parts of the economy align around this ambition,” Zaidi said.
Congress has approved billions of dollars in new incentives, low-cost loans and other funding for EV production and $5 billion for charging stations.
The administration has come under criticism from some automakers and foreign governments for restricting credits to North American-made EVs and imposing new battery sourcing rules.
Some consumers are still confused about whether they will qualify for EV credits.
President Joe Biden has set a goal for 50% of U.S. auto production by 2030 to be electric or plug-in electric hybrid vehicles but has not joined California and others in calling for phasing out the sale of new gas vehicles by 2035.
(Reporting by David Shepardson; Editing by Christopher Cushing)