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Auto sector sees Biden EV plan aiding shift from gas-engine cars

Keith Laing and Ari Natter, Bloomberg News on

Published in Automotive News

Shares of EV makers may get a fresh lease on life from Biden’s plan. EV stocks had rallied hard last year, partly in anticipation of more favorable industry policies after the election, but the intense investor enthusiasm had started showing signs of strain this year, as sentiment toward risky, high-multiple stocks soured amid a rise in Treasury yields.

EV stocks gained in postmarket trading after Biden’s speech. Workhorse Group Inc. gained more than 4%, while Lordstown Motors Corp. and Nikola Corp. each gained more than 1%.

Some critics of Biden’s plan questioned whether the scope will even come close to what is needed to shift consumers from gas-powered vehicles.

The 500,000 charging stations “wouldn’t even amount to 50% of what is needed in California alone,” said Tom Pyle, a former Trump adviser and the president of the American Energy Alliance, a free-market advocacy group. “The notion it would be built in the U.S. with union paying jobs is also a fantasy when you consider the entire supply chain is based in China.”

“It’s a pipe dream built on a foundation of lies,” Pyle said.

Biden also called for the electrification of the federal government’s entire fleet of more than 600,000 vehicles — including the U.S. Postal Service, which recently earned scorn of environmentalists and Democratic lawmakers for selecting the military and emergency truck maker Oshkosh Corp. for part of a $6 billion contract for more than 100,000 mail-delivery vans over Workhorse Group.

 

“It forces the U.S. Postal Service in the game,” said Scott Sklar, director of sustainable energy at George Washington University’s Environment & Energy Management Institute. “The U.S. government is a huge customer so that could propel the U.S. EV industry into a world leadership position vis-a-vis China.”

Congress in the coming months is expected to put its own flourishes on the final package --- which House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said she wants to see completed by July 4.

Among likely candidates for inclusion is a $454 billion plan to remove gas-power vehicles on the road by 2040, a measure championed by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, as well as the expansion of an existing $7,500 consumer tax credit for the purchase of electric vehicles.

Senator Debbie Stabenow and Representative Dan Kildee, both Michigan Democrats, are working with the White House and Democratic leadership on a plan to do away with an existing 200,000-vehicle per manufacturer cap on the tax credit. Among possible tweaks to the credit are making it refundable and targeting it better toward middle and lower-income motorists.

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