U.S. President Joe Biden’s administration said on Wednesday it intends to invest $2 billion from last year’s Inflation Cut Act to speed up domestic electric vehicle manufacturing and revive struggling factories.
Speeding up grants and other subsidies to fund the conversion of existing auto factories to electric vehicles could help the White House calm criticism from automakers and the UAW of proposed environmental rules aimed at helping usher in the era of electric vehicles .
The Electric Vehicle Domestic Manufacturing Conversion Grant Program will provide cost-sharing grants for the manufacture of high-efficiency hybrid, plug-in hybrid, all-electric and fuel cell vehicles.
The DOE Office of Vehicle Technologies said the plan would prioritize projects to refurbish or retool manufacturing plants that have recently ceased operations or are expected to close soon.
The goal is to preserve existing jobs, including union jobs and wages, and “jobs in the communities that have powered our auto economy for decades.”
Ohio-based electric truck maker Lordstown Motors filed for Chapter 11 protection on Tuesday, the latest in a string of startups to go public during the special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) pandemic. Aims at acquiring private companies.
Also read: Planned U.S. car emissions rules are toughest ever. Does India need these too?
The Biden administration is pushing the U.S. auto industry to accelerate its transition to electric vehicles as part of its goal of decarbonizing the economy by 2050. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which proposed rules in April, expects as much as two-thirds of the new car market to shift to electric vehicles by 2032.
The Alliance for Automotive Innovation, which represents GM, Stellantis NV, Toyota Motor and others, said Wednesday the EPA’s proposal, a “de facto battery electric vehicle mandate,” is “neither reasonable nor achievable.”
Such rapid change could put thousands of jobs at risk in states including Michigan, Ohio, Illinois and Indiana, the UAW warned. UAW President Shawn Fain has launched a campaign to save a Jeep factory in Belvedere, Illinois, which Strandis is preparing to close. The automaker has left open the possibility of factories getting new products with government aid.
Individual award amounts may range from $25 million to $500 million, and grant funding will continue through September 2031.
The notice of intent issued by the Energy Department on Wednesday is preliminary. The Notice may soon result in a financing announcement that is similar, substantially different, or not at all to the Notice.
First published date: June 29, 2023 at 13:11 PM EST