Wednesday, September 22, 2021
Technology

Biden’s Electric-Car Ambitions Face Real-World Roadblocks

Auto makers want congressional moves on charging stations and tax incentives; consumer support also is needed WASHINGTON—President Biden wants to convert American motorists to electric cars as a linchpin of his plan to address climate change. Success heavily depends on factors outside his control.

The executive order that Mr. Biden signed Thursday—calling on sales of electric, fuel-cell and plug-in hybrids to account for 50% of car and light truck sales by 2030—has no binding authority.

Auto makers say they could meet a target of somewhere between 40% and 50% of sales, but only if Congress spends billions of dollars to build out a network of EV charging stations and provides tax incentives to consumers, among other measures.

Beyond that, consumers must buy in. EVs currently account for about 3% of sales, reflecting in part generally higher upfront costs and limits on their range.

“Possibly the biggest hurdle ahead is consumer acceptance,” said Jessica Caldwell, an analyst at auto-data firm Edmunds. “What will it take for Americans to be willing to change their car ownership habits to go electric?”

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  1. President Biden wants to convert American motorists to electric cars as a linchpin of his plan to address climate change. Success heavily depends on factors outside his control. It’s a welcome development but the process has to be gradual.

  2. Auto makers say they could meet a target of somewhere between 40% and 50% of sales, but only if Congress spends billions of dollars to build out a network of EV charging stations and provides tax incentives to consumers,