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In a bid to reduce carbon emissions from new passenger vehicles by 60 percent, the United States government is set to push the sale of electric vehicles (EV) in the coming years and has set a target of 50 percent by 2030. The move is also backed by major automotive manufacturers in the US, the White House said in a statement.

In accordance with the Paris Agreement, countries are aiming for net-zero emissions by 2050. To achieve this ambitious goal, the US, China, and the European Union, need to drastically slash their emissions. Currently, the three regions contribute 46 percent of total emissions, which is also 16 times the emissions of 100 low-emitting countries combined.

One of the methods deployed by countries is to electrify their transportation. While technological advancements to make electric vehicles feasible have happened in the U.S., the country lags terribly in its adoption. As of 2019, the U.S. had 880,000 electric vehicles while China had more than 2.5 million electric vehicles on its roads. Although China allows the sale of electric vehicles from foreign companies like Tesla, users in China prefer indigenously developed electric vehicles.   

After the success in local markets, Chinese EV manufacturers are now aiming for the European markets, where EV adoption is still higher than in the U.S. and they are likely to hit US shores next. The recent move from the US Government is also politically motivated and aimed at countering China’s influential position in this arena.

The White House statement makes no effort to hide this and states, “China is increasingly cornering the global supply chain for electric vehicles and batteries with its fast-growing electric vehicle market.” By signing an executive order, President Biden wants to set a clear trajectory of sales of electric vehicles in the US with the aim to attract investments in EV manufacturing, just like China has done.  

It is hardly a surprise that the executive order has found the support of major automotive manufacturers in the US. A joint statement from General Motors, Ford, and Stellantis read, “Our recent product, technology, and investment announcements highlight our collective commitment to be leaders in the U.S. transition to electric vehicles.” Under the California framework, companies like Ford, BMW, Honda, Volkswagen, and Volvo have already pledged to increase their EV sales to 40-50 percent by the end of the decade.

Apart from the reaffirmation of the fossil fuel-powered car manufacturers’ commitments, the executive order also pledges to finance the “retooling and expansion of the full domestic manufacturing supply chain”, and invest in providing “point-of-sale consumer incentives” to spur U.S. manufacturing of electric vehicles, while also investing in innovating next generation of clean technologies.  

What might have come as a shock to Elon Musk and his company’s supercharger network, the executive order also committed to building a national network of electric charging stations. This would probably add to the agony that Tesla wasn’t invited to a joint statement about EV commitments.  

Apart from electric vehicles, the executive order also instructions on advancing the smart fuel efficiency and emissions standards that the previous administration had rolled back. The White House statement said this planned action would save about 200 billion gallons of gasoline, reduce two billion metric tons of carbon pollution and deliver health benefits in addition to saving lives. 

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