Biden hops in Corvette, declares Detroit 'back' at EV-focused auto show

Biden hops in Corvette, declares Detroit ‘back’ at EV-focused auto show

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DETROIT, Sept 14 (Reuters) – President Joe Biden won a victory lap at the Detroit auto show on Wednesday by highlighting automakers’ push into electric vehicles, including billions of dollars in investment in battery factories, thanks to new government support.

The self-proclaimed “car guy” Biden rode in a silver electric Cadillac SUV and an orange Corvette, happy with union workers in the industry and said the city, home of the auto industry, was making a comeback.

The Detroit auto show is the largest in North America and a key milestone in Democrat Biden’s midterm election travel program as he introduces new laws to fund infrastructure and grant consumers with subsidies to buy electric vehicles.

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“We choose to build a better America, an America that faces the climate crisis, with working Americans in the lead,” Biden said in a speech on the show.

The president was introduced by local auto union worker Ryan Buchalski, who said the president was “kicking the ass of the working class.”

Biden announced the approval of the first US funding of $900 million to build electric vehicle charging stations in 35 states, as part of a $1 trillion infrastructure bill approved last November.

When he was vice president in the Obama administration, Biden attended the Detroit auto show as a vocal advocate of the 2008-09 bailouts of General Motors Co (GM.N) and Chrysler, which makes now part of Stellantis NV (STLA.MI).

Now Detroit’s Big Three automakers – GM, Ford Motor Co (FN) and Chrysler – are showcasing new electric vehicles at the auto show, as Congress and Biden pledge tens of billions of dollars in loans, manufacturing and consumption tax credits and subsidies to accelerate the transition from internal combustion vehicles to cleaner electric vehicles.

The “great American road trip is going to be fully electrified,” Biden said.

In August 2021, Biden set a goal for electric or plug-in hybrid vehicles to account for 50% of all new vehicle sales in the United States by 2030. The Detroit Three support the non-binding goal of 50% , but Tesla Inc (TSLA.O) dominates the United States. electric vehicle market and exceeds combined Detroit automakers’ sales of electric vehicles.

Sales of electric vehicles in the United States jumped 83% last year, but only represent a measly 3% of the market, and gasoline trucks were well represented at the exhibition.

NEW VE FACTORIES

White House national climate adviser Ali Zaidi told Reuters automakers and battery makers announced in 2022 “$13 billion in electric vehicle manufacturing” as they accelerate “the rate of their investments in investment projects here in the United States”.

In July, the US Department of Energy announced plans to loan Ultium Cells LLC, a joint venture of GM and LG Energy Solution (373220.KS), $2.5 billion to help fund the construction of new facilities manufacturing lithium-ion battery cells.

Honda Motor Co Ltd (7267.T) recently announced that it will build a new $4.4 billion lithium-ion battery plant for US electric vehicles with Korean battery supplier LG Energy Solution Ltd.

Toyota Motor Corp (7203.T) said it would increase its planned investment in a new battery plant in the United States from $1.29 billion to $3.8 billion.

GM and LG Energy Solution began production in August at their $2.3 billion joint venture battery production facility in Ohio. The companies are considering a site in New Carlisle, Indiana, for a fourth battery cell manufacturing plant in the United States, which is expected to cost about $2.4 billion.

“I believe we can own the future of the auto market. I believe we can own the future of manufacturing,” Biden said. “American manufacturing is back. Detroit is back. America is back, and folks, we’re proving that it’s never, ever, ever a good bet to bet against the American people.”

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Reporting by David Shepardson and Jeff Mason in Detroit and Jarrett Renshaw in Philadelphia Editing by Heather Timmons, David Gregorio and Matthew Lewis

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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