The following is an article by Ben Prochazka, Executive Director, Electrification Coalition; Dr Shelley Francis, co-founder and director, EVHybridNoire; Jeff Allen, Executive Director, Forth; and Joel Levin, Executive Director, Plug In America.
Electrification of the US transportation system is necessary and inevitable – the only real question is whether we will do it quickly enough. For too long, the United States has failed to commit to the policies and investments needed to drive widespread adoption of electric vehicles. We need Congress to take decisive action now to support the electrification of transportation to protect public health, avoid the worst impacts of climate change, and ensure America’s competitiveness in the global auto industry. .
China and Europe are ahead of us in electrification, wildfires are burning communities, high rates of asthma afflict Americans of all ages, and historically disadvantaged communities continue to be at risk harmful vehicle emissions at disproportionate levels. In 2020, petroleum products still accounted for about 90% of the total energy consumption of the U.S. transportation sector, and transportation remains the primary source of our nation’s greenhouse gas emissions.
The White House took important steps last month by announcing stricter vehicle emissions standards and a goal of making half of all new vehicles sold zero-emission vehicles by 2030. These actions and targets help create market certainty and demonstrate a new determination to loosen the grip of oil on the movement of goods and people. Lawmakers must now step in by allocating federal resources at levels sufficient to meet the serious challenges we face.
President Biden’s US Jobs Plan has called for $ 174 billion in federal funding for electrification by 2030. Its priorities include the installation of 500,000 new electric vehicle chargers, the electrification of buses schools and public transportation, offering incentives to purchase electric vehicles, retooling US auto plants, and retraining workers for manufacturing and technician jobs. from the future. However, the bipartisan infrastructure deal that was passed by the Senate cuts investment in electric vehicles to just $ 13.6 billion. A proposed $ 15 billion investment in charging infrastructure, for example, has been reduced to just $ 5 billion through the national electric vehicle program and to $ 2.5 billion through a subsidy-based system – not enough to install the half a million chargers the administration requested. These types of concessions bypass a unique opportunity to ensure that US transportation remains competitive on the world stage.
We face serious economic risks as we cede leadership to China and Europe in supporting electric vehicle policies, electric vehicle manufacturing, developing charging infrastructure and relocation of the region. Supply Chain. As Congress moves forward in the reconciliation process, bipartisan support is essential to prepare our country’s auto sector for the inevitable global electrification. What is at stake are the transportation and tech jobs of the future, including the nearly 10 million jobs that the auto industry currently supports.
Analysis from Securing America’s Future Energy found that solid investments in electrification would generate hundreds of thousands of jobs in the United States over the next five years. For example, an investment of $ 12.5 billion in the electrification of school buses would create nearly 60,000 jobs. The current version of the infrastructure bill contains only $ 2.5 billion. China’s continued dominance in electrification would put the United States at a serious competitive disadvantage, sending jobs, new investment, and intellectual capital overseas.
Significant federal investments in electrification will not only benefit Americans linked to the auto industry. An accelerated transition to electric vehicles would significantly reduce tailpipe emissions, dramatically improving air quality, especially for historically marginalized communities. According to the American Lung Association’s analysis, aggressive electrification would prevent 6,300 premature deaths, 93,000 asthma attacks and 416,000 missed days of work each year in the United States.
Strong investments in electrification are also essential to the ability of the United States to protect us all from the climate crisis. As wildfires engulf entire communities in the West, hurricanes ravage the Gulf States and the East Coast, and floods plague the Midwest, lawmakers must recognize the consequences of our nation’s greenhouse gas emissions. . A national transition to electric vehicles, powered by an electricity grid that gets cleaner each year, is fundamental to avoiding the irreversible ecological, social and political upheavals resulting from climate change.
It is important to note that political efforts to accelerate the electrification of transport should focus on the needs of disadvantaged communities. The glaring inequalities that exist demonstrate the lasting impacts that historically inequitable infrastructure systems have had on the economic and social development of many communities, especially those of under-represented groups and black, indigenous and colored groups. Policymakers need to invest directly in these communities to effectively reshape the transportation ecosystem into a safer, affordable, accessible and built ecosystem in the United States.
We call on Congress to take immediate action to salvage the U.S. leadership in clean transportation by funding the rest of the administration’s proposals for electric vehicles and charging infrastructure. Congress leaders need to address research and development, buying incentives, charging along interstate corridors, workplace charging, and incentives to expand electric vehicle manufacturing and supply chains at national scale. We need a commitment from legislators to respond to the scale of the economic, environmental and public health challenges that lie ahead. We need policies that will put our country in the driver’s seat of the future of global electric transport.