PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN’S FIRST 100 DAYS: An auto industry perspective

Nigro called the proposal “a great down payment” on putting the U.S. toward 100 percent electrification by 2035. But to get there, more than $87 billion in investments in charging infrastructure will be needed over the next decade, including $39 billion for public charging, he said, citing a recent analysis by the Washington-based policy and tech firm.

Despite increased investments in electrification by automakers, EVs account for only about 2 percent of the U.S. market, according to Akshay Singh, a partner at Strategy&, PwC’s strategic consulting arm.

“The question still remains what kind of returns they can generate in the short term,” he said.

While Biden’s American Jobs Plan sends a message to the industry that Washington will play a constructive role in building out EV infrastructure, prospects on how much of the plan make it into law are unclear, several industry experts said.

“Their size and scope is correct on what needs to happen,” said Diamond of Securing America’s Future Energy. “But the devil will be in the details that come out in Congress.”

To pay for it, Biden has proposed raising the corporate tax rate to 28 percent from 21 percent and enacting a 15 percent minimum tax on the income large corporations report to investors as well as other steps to reform the corporate tax code.

With a narrow Democratic majority, the plan as it stands won’t have an easy path in Congress, though the White House has said it is willing to compromise on aspects of the package — and how to pay for it.

“What’s frustrated Biden’s efforts to get bipartisan support is that he’s made the infrastructure bill so large and so broad … that it’s alienated some Republicans,” said Ferry of the Coalition for a Prosperous America.

Members of Biden’s own party also have offered their critique of the plan, with progressive House Democrats such as Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York and Pramila Jayapal of Washington saying the overall package needs to be bigger.

The administration’s emphasis on greening the transportation system — as well as the electric system and grid — are also “hugely large lifts,” said the American Energy Alliance’s Kish.

“What surprises me is the sort of Field of Dreams approach that the industry seems willing to take on this, in the sense that ‘if we build it, they will come,’ ” he said.

The Alliance for Automotive Innovation’s Hartrick argues such a transformational change is unlikely to occur without a few hiccups, however, and that vehicles and infrastructure “must arrive together.”

“Many coordinating activities all have to happen together, and there’s a lot of moving pieces that, unless we fit the puzzle pieces together at the same time, don’t develop this comprehensive transformation that we’re looking for,” he said. “Thus, we need to have some flexibility.”

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.