Biden announces $900 million for electric vehicle chargers at Detroit auto show

Washington — President Biden, shifter with his old Corvette, showed his administration’s efforts to promote electric vehicles during a visit to the Detroit auto show on Wednesday, where he announced hundreds of millions of dollars to build roughly 500,000 charging stations in dozens of states.

Mr. Biden arrived at the big North American International Auto Show to turn on a huge new car climate, tax and health law which offers tax credits for the purchase of electric vehicles. He toured a mix of American hybrid, electric and internal combustion vehicles from Chevrolet, General Motors, Ford and Stellantis in the indoor convention center and greeted union workers, CEOs and local leaders.

While Mr. Biden takes credit for the recent boom in electric vehicle batteries and assembly plant announcements, most were in the works long before the Inflation Reduction Act was signed into law on Aug. 16. Mr. Biden’s 2021 infrastructure bill could have something to do with that — it provides $5 billion over five years to help states create a network of electric vehicle charging stations.

In Detroit, Mr. Biden announced the approval of the first $900 million in infrastructure money to build charging stations for electric vehicles in 53,000 miles of the nation’s highway system and 35 states.

“The great American road trip will be fully electrified. Whether you’re driving coast-to-coast on I-10 or I-75 here in Michigan, charging stations will be installed and easy to find like gas stations are now,” the president said in an address to the assembled auto workers and supporters.

US President Biden visits the Detroit Auto Show in Detroit, Michigan
President Biden is shown a Chevrolet Silverado EV by General Motors CEO Mary Barra during a visit to the Detroit auto show on September 14, 2022.

KEVIN LAMARQUE / REUTERS

By law, electric vehicles must be manufactured in North America to qualify for a new federal tax credit up to 7500 dollars. Batteries for qualifying vehicles must also be manufactured in North America, and there are requirements that battery minerals be produced or recycled on the continent. The loans are aimed at creating an American electric vehicle supply chain and ending dependence on other countries, mainly China.

The adoption of the measure set off a race among car manufacturers accelerate efforts find batteries made in North America and battery minerals from the US, Canada or Mexico to make sure electric vehicles qualify for the credit.

In April, Ford began production of electric pickup trucks at a new factory in Michigan. General Motors has converted an old factory in Detroit to produce electric Hummers and pickup trucks.

Well before lawmakers reached a compromise on the legislation, each company announced three electric vehicle battery plants, all joint ventures with battery makers. GM’s battery plant in Warren, Ohio, has already started production. The government loan announced in July will help GM build its battery factories.

Last September, Ford said it would build the next generation of electric pickup trucks at a plant in Tennessee, and GM announced electric vehicle assembly plants in Lansing, Michigan; Spring Hill, Tennessee; and Orion Township, Michigan. In May, Stellantis, formerly of Fiat Chrysler, said it would build another joint venture battery plant in Indiana and announced a battery plant in Canada.

Hyundai announced construction of battery and assembly plants in Georgia in May, and Vietnamese automaker VinFast announced plants in North Carolina in July. Honda and Toyota announced U.S. battery factories after the legislation was passed, but they had been planned for months.

Mr. Biden has long talked about the importance of building a domestic supply chain for electric vehicles, and that may have encouraged some companies to locate factories in the U.S. But it’s also beneficial to build batteries close to where electric vehicles will be assembled because batteries are heavy and expensive. for sending from abroad.

And car companies are introducing more affordable electric options even despite battery costs. The latest arrived last week from General Motors, a Small SUV Chevrolet Equinox. It has a starting price of about $30,000 and a range per charge of 250 miles. Customers can get 300 miles of range if they pay more.

Equinox checks the North American mounting box. It will be produced in Mexico. The company would not say where the battery will be manufactured, but it is working to meet other criteria to get the tax break.

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