Washington lobbyists: You can't live without them, for better or for worse. On Nov. 17, the world welcomed yet another lobbying group, though this one is a bit different from other auto industry lobbying groups -- it's completely focused on making all new car sales 100 percent electric by the end of this decade.
The name? Zeta, and it features some prominent backers. Tesla, Uber and Rivian highlight the list, with other companies such as Lucid, Lordstown Motors, ChargePoint and even utility firms like Edison involved. In total, 28 companies are backing the new group, and not coincidentally, it launches less than two months before President-elect Joe Biden takes office. The incoming Biden administration promises a tougher stance on climate change than the Trump administration, which moved to relax fuel economy and emissions regulations just this year.
Zeta laid out five areas it plans to focus its efforts as it gets up and running, and chief among them are consumer incentives for EV purchases. Today, federal tax credits can offset up to $7,500 of an electric car's sticker price, but it varies by battery pack size and phases out for automakers after they sell a certain number of vehicles. General Motors and Tesla reached their limits months ago. Second are regulations for emissions, which in turn would spur EV adoption rates and create the need for charging infrastructure, the group's third focus. Zeta also calls for greater federal cooperation to research EV technology and its associated supply chain.
Finally, there's manufacturing. The group said it's determined to make EVs a shot in the arm for US manufacturing jobs. Not only is there the possibility to assemble the actual cars, but Zeta said it will call on the government to support jobs across the supply chain and for critical materials needed to build batteries.
The end game is simple for Zeta, though it won't be simple to achieve. By 2030, it wants every vehicle sector to move to electric vehicles, including heavy-duty vehicles. A tall order for sure, and it isn't likely the internal-combustion engine will go silently into the night.©2020 Roadshow. Visit at cnet.com/roadshow. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.