Written by David Shepardson and Jeff Mason
DETROIT (Reuters) – President Joe Biden scored a winning run on Wednesday at the Detroit Auto Show as he highlighted the automakers’ push for electric vehicles, including billions of dollars in investment in battery plants, on the back of new government support.
The self-proclaimed “automan” Biden climbed into a silver Cadillac electric SUV and an orange Corvette, delighting union workers in the industry and declaring that the city, the birthplace of the auto industry, was on its way back.
The Detroit auto show is the largest in North America and a major stop for Biden’s midterm travel agenda, showcasing new infrastructure financing laws and granting consumers grants to purchase electric vehicles.
“We choose to build a better America, an America facing the climate crisis, with American workers leading,” Biden said in a speech at the show.
The president was introduced by local auto union worker Ryan Bushalsky, who said the president was “attacking the working class.”
Biden announced the approval of the first $900 million in US funding to build charging stations for electric cars in 35 states, part of the trillion-dollar infrastructure law approved last November.
When Biden served as vice president in the Obama administration, he attended the Detroit Auto Show as a vocal advocate for the bailouts of General Motors (NYSE: NYSE) and Chrysler, now part of Stellantis NV.
Detroit’s big three automakers — GM, Ford Motor (NYSE: Co) and Chrysler — are now showing off new electric cars at the auto show, as Congress and Biden pledge tens of billions of dollars in loans, manufacturing and consumer tax credits, and grants to accelerate the transition from vehicles Internal combustion to cleaner electric vehicles.
Biden declared that “the great American road trip will be entirely electrifying.”
In August 2021, Biden set a goal that electric vehicles or plug-in hybrid vehicles would account for 50% of all new car sales in the United States by 2030. The Detroit three support its non-binding target of 50%, but Tesla (NASDAQ:) American electric vehicles dominate the auto market and sales outside of Detroit automakers combined for electric vehicles.
US sales of electric cars jumped 83% last year, but they only account for 3% of the market, and gasoline-powered trucks were well represented at the show.
New electric car factories
White House National Climate Adviser Ali Zaidi told Reuters that in 2022 the auto and battery makers announced “$13 billion in electric cars” because they are accelerating “the pace of their investments in capital projects here in the United States.”
In July, the US Department of Energy said it plans to loan Ultium Cells LLC, a joint venture between GM and LG Energy Solution, $2.5 billion to help fund the construction of new lithium-ion battery cell manufacturing facilities.
Honda Motor Co., Ltd. recently announced that it will build a new $4.4 billion lithium-ion battery plant for U.S. electric vehicles with Korean battery supplier LG Energy Solution Ltd.
Toyota Motor Corporation (NYSE:) Corp said it will increase its planned investment in a new battery plant in the United States from $1.29 billion to $3.8 billion.
General Motors and LG Energy Solutions in August began production at their joint $2.3 billion battery plant in Ohio. The companies are considering setting up a site in New Carlisle, Indiana, for a fourth US battery-cell plant expected to cost about $2.4 billion.
“I think we can own the future of the auto market,” Biden said. “I think we can own the future of manufacturing.” “American industrialization is back. Detroit is back. America is back, folks, we’re proving it’s never, ever, a good bet ever to bet against the American people.”