On Monday, President Joe Biden announced that he has big plans for both the auto industry and the country’s entire federal vehicle fleet. As part of his plan to invest in the American auto industry, get Americans back to work, and decrease the fleet’s fuel and maintenance costs, President Biden says that the fleet will be replaced with American-made electric vehicles.
President Biden says the US federal fleet is going electric
Biden announced his plans to electrify the federal fleet in a briefing concerning his “Buy American” executive order. According to the Federal Fleet Report, the fleet currently includes 645,000 vehicles. The Drive reports that 645,000 figure includes about 225,000 postal vehicles, 173,000 military vehicles, and 245,000 civilian vehicles. In 2019, those vehicles traveled an astounding 4.5 billion miles.
During the briefing, President Biden explained, “The federal government also owns an enormous fleet of vehicles, which we’re going to replace with clean electric vehicles made right here in America, by American workers, creating millions of autoworker jobs, and clean-energy vehicles that are net-zero emissions.”
“Together, this will be the largest mobilization of public investment in procurement, infrastructure and [research and development] since World War II,” The president added.
What a federal fleet of electric vehicles could mean for the auto industry
While President Biden’s plans to replace the federal fleet with electric vehicles are still being worked out, it is good news for the auto industry. Automakers like Ford and GM have already committed to spending a significant amount on electric vehicles in the future. Unfortunately, not many electric vehicles are actually assembled in the US. CNBC reports that Tesla, General Motors and Nissan Motor are currently the only automakers producing electric cars in the states.
“The current offerings are pretty slim, but the industry’s about to unleash an avalanche of new product, and a lot of it built in North America,” Kristin Dziczek, vice president of industry, labor, and economics at the Center for Automotive Research, told CNBC. “Just about every U.S. plant is going to have a hybrid or electric product.”
Biden didn’t just announce plans to electrify the federal fleet either. President Biden also announced plans that include stricter use of American-made parts in government-purchased vehicles. While the current standards require that a vehicle’s parts be at least 50% from the US, the president believes that’s not enough.
“The content threshold of 50% [isn’t] high enough, and the way we measure the content doesn’t account for U.S. jobs and economic activity,” President Biden said. “We’re going to change that as well. The executive action I’m signing today will not only require the companies make more of their components in America, but that the value of those components is contributing to our economy, measured by things like a number of American jobs created and/or supported.”
How automakers are responding to the news
As it turns out, automakers are pretty pleased with Biden’s announcement. In a statement provided to CNBC, GM said that it was “encouraged by President Biden’s commitment to supporting American manufacturing and looks forward to reviewing the details of the order.” Ford added that it “believes that investing in America, its people, goods and services, must be a national mission.”