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Biden plans to replace the government fleet with electric vehicles

President Joe Biden plans to replace the government’s fleet of cars and trucks with electric vehicles assembled in the United States, he said Monday when he signed a new “Buy American” executive order.

The government is a major buyer of vehicles. However, replacing such a fleet with American-made electric vehicles will be costly and time consuming. Currently, only a handful of all-electric vehicles are assembled in the United States. Tesla, General Motors and Nissan Motor produce electric vehicles in the country, while Ford Motor and others have announced plans to do so.

“The current proposals are quite subtle, but the industry is about to release an avalanche of new product, much of it built in North America,”

; said Christine Dzicek, vice president of industry, labor and economics at the Center for Automotive Research, CNBC. “Almost every plant in the United States will have a hybrid or electric product.”

It is unclear whether Biden’s plan includes included hybrid electric vehicles that use a combination of EV engines and traditional internal combustion engines. In discussing the plans, he mentioned the new fleet of electric vehicles, “which are net zero emissions”.

The White House did not immediately respond to comment.

A man drives his Tesla car as SpaceX’s Starship SN8 is seen from behind, days before the test launch of the company’s new super-heavy Starship rocket from their facilities in this small town of Boca Chita, Texas, December 4, 2020.

Jen Blevins Reuters

Biden did not specify deadlines for switching the government’s “huge fleet” to electric cars, which cost significantly more than traditional vehicles. He said changing the fleet would support his administration’s plan to create 1 million new jobs in the US auto industry.

Biden also announced plans to use US parts more strictly in government-purchased vehicles, which will make fleet switching even more difficult. He said current standards require parts of the vehicle to be at least 50% US to purchase.

“The 50% content threshold is not high enough, and the way we measure content doesn’t take into account jobs and economic activity in the United States,” Biden said. “We will change that, too. The executive action I’m signing today will not only require companies to produce more of their components in America, but that the value of those components contributes to our economy, measured by things like a number of American jobs created and / or or supported. “

A statement from GM said it was “encouraged by President Biden’s commitment to supporting US production and looks forward to reviewing the details of the order.”

Ford, which launched the “Built for America” ‚Äč‚Äčadvertising campaign last year, said it “believes that investing in America, its people, goods and services should be a national mission.”

Tesla did not immediately respond to comment.

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