President Joe Biden signed an executive order on Thursday that aims to ensure that half the new vehicles sold in the United States in nine years will be electric or carbon-free.
According to The Washington Examiner‘s report on the signing, its purpose was to unify the auto industry behind the lofty goal of an green automotive fleet in the United States.
In attendance at the signing were the CEOs of the Big Three U.S. automakers as well as the president of the United Auto Workers union, all of whom looked on as Biden unveiled stricter binding standards for fuel efficiency and tailpipe emissions for cars and light trucks.
“Their vision of the future is now beginning to happen, a future that is electric,” Biden said from the Rose Garden, with electric vehicles parked behind him. “There is no turning back.”
The heads of Ford, GM, and Stellantis made a joint statement in which they said they share a goal of 40%-50% of EVs (defined as battery electric, fuel cell, and plug-in hybrids), but they seemed to indicate some doubt by saying they are giving themselves more leeway.
Currently, the United States stands to lose the battle for electric dominance to China, who have dedicated generous subsidies to spur purchases of their electric vehicles, which Biden called a lost opportunity.
“The question is whether we will lead or fall behind,” Biden said. “It’s whether we will build these vehicles or batteries in the United States or rely on other countries. Right now, China is leading the race. We are in competition with China.”
Even if the United States is able to play catchup on the electric vehicle front, we’re faced with a troubling possibility of global supply chain issues with cars and batteries coming from China.
While Americans are working to become more conscious of green energy, they’re also concerned about Biden’s ties to China, and what incentive the current president might have for pushing a product that relies on the superpower for continued use.