Biden Admin To Spend Billions On Retrofitting Plants To Help Reach EV Dreams

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The Biden administration is making $12 billion in taxpayer funds available for car manufacturers to retrofit their plants to produce electric vehicles (EVs) and hybrids, the White House announced Thursday.

The funding opportunities will be available as loans and grants to major auto manufacturers through the Department of Energy (DOE), according to a DOE press release issued Thursday. EVs are a key pillar of President Joe Biden’s broader climate agenda, as his administration aims to have EVs make up at least 50% of all new car sales by 2030 to reduce America’s overall carbon dioxide emissions.

“As I’ve said before, under Bidenomics building a clean energy economy can and should provide a win‑win opportunity for auto companies and unionized workers who have anchored the American economy for decades,” Biden said Thursday, according to a White House press release. “This funding from my Investing in America agenda will further that goal by creating auto manufacturing jobs here at home and helping companies avoid painful plant closings — and to retool, reboot, and rehire in the same factories and communities with high wages.” (RELATED: ‘Poverty Level’: United Auto Workers President Slams Biden Over EV Goals)

The United Auto Workers (UAW), one of the nation’s most powerful labor unions representing hundreds of thousands of auto industry workers, has ripped the Biden administration for its EV policies. Traditionally a stalwart supporter of Democratic candidates in national elections, the union has so far withheld its endorsement of Biden’s 2024 campaign, largely because of its concerns that the administration’s EV goals will ultimately disadvantage the workers UAW represents.

Former President Donald Trump urged the UAW in July to endorse his bid for the White House in 2024, slamming the Biden administration’s EV policies in the process, The New York Times reported.

“The UAW supports and is ready for the transition to a clean auto industry. But the EV transition must be a just transition that ensures auto workers have a place in the new economy,” UAW President Shawn Fain said in a statement issued Thursday. “Today’s announcement from the Department of Energy echoes the UAW’s call for strong labor standards tied to all taxpayer funding that goes to auto and manufacturing companies.”

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed new tailpipe emissions standards in April that would effectively require manufacturers to have their new light duty vehicle fleets be about 67% EVs by model year 2032, and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) proposed updates to its fuel economy standards that amount to an “EV mandate,” Dan Kish, senior fellow for the Institute for Energy Research, told the Daily Caller News Foundation at the time.

The administration is heavily subsidizing EV component supply chains and manufacturing capacity to help reach its longer-term climate goals, which include having the overall American economy reach net-zero carbon dioxide emissions by 2050.

The majority of new EVs currently are luxury models, which typically cost about $12,000 more up front than the industry average car price, according to a February report by Consumer Reports. EVs consisted of less than 6% of all new car sales in the U.S. in 2022, according to InsideEVs

Biden’s EV and wider green energy ambitions may ultimately benefit the interests of China, which overwhelmingly controls the global supply and refining capacity of the key resources needed to build component parts of EV batteries and other technologies crucial to realizing the administration’s goals.

“President Biden is investing in the workforce and factories that made our country a global manufacturing powerhouse,” Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm said Thursday, according to the DOE press release. “Today’s announcements show that President Biden understands that building the cars of the future also necessitates helping the communities challenged by the transition away from the internal combustion engine.”

Stellantis, one of the “big three” U.S. auto manufacturers, is reviewing the administration’s announcement, a company spokesperson told the DCNF.

The White House, Ford and General Motors did not respond immediately to the DCNF’s requests for comment.

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