What's going on?
Not to harp on about it or anything, but the US president called on Thursday for half of all vehicles sold in the US to be electric or plug-in hybrid by 2030 (tweet this).
What does this mean?
Electric vehicles (EVs) only accounted for 2% of US passenger car sales in 2020, according to Bloomberg, so this target isn’t exactly an easy one to meet. Fortunately, it’s more symbolic than legally binding, and motivated by a couple of factors: climate concerns, of course, but also the worry that the US will fall behind Europe and China in developing its EV industry – essential to any ahead-of-the-curve economy. As for the country’s carmakers, they’re happy to help, but they did point out that this ambitious target would only be achievable if the government laced their palms with silver…
Why should I care?
The bigger picture: Keep up or drop out.
The announcement hasn’t fundamentally changed anything for US carmakers, many of which have long since announced plans to shift focus to EVs. General Motors, for example, is planning to only sell zero-emission models by 2035, while Ford and Chrysler-parent Stellantis are expecting EVs to represent 40% of global and US sales respectively by 2030. Still, given the huge investment required and the intensifying competition from EV newcomers, only time will tell if the traditional players can actually make a decent return on their investment.
For you personally: Think laterally.
There are ways other than carmakers to invest in EVs – like, say, the companies that are building and operating charging stations. They’ve already installed more than 100,000 in the US, and, according to the Zero Emission Transportation Association, 4.4 million more will be needed if the US is going to transition to all-electric vehicle sales.