Biden administration officials tout EVs at DC auto show

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By David Shepardson

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Two senior officials from the Biden administration got behind the wheel of new electric vehicles (EV) at the Washington, DC auto show on Wednesday to urge Americans to buy a zero-emissions model.

Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm and White House climate adviser Ali Zaidi drove a Ford F-150 Lightning and a Chevrolet Bolt as they touted the revamped $7,500 EV tax credits and new $4,000 second-hand EV credits.

The pair also sat and walked around other EVs produced by Toyota Nissan, Subaru, Hyundai and others.

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They also highlighted that since President Joe Biden took office, companies have announced nearly $130 billion in US EV investment, including $56 billion in EV production and $72 billion in battery production.

“All of these companies are announcing that they are now establishing themselves in the United States,” Granholm told Reuters. “It’s electric vehicles. It’s the guts for the electric vehicle. It’s the guts for the battery — the entire supply chain is now in the United States.”

Part of that shift to manufacturing in the US is because new restrictions on EV tax credits are driving automakers and battery makers to rethink production plans.

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Zaidi noted that hundreds of school districts are using federal funds to help purchase EV school buses and that the postal service has ramped up purchases of EV vans.

“We will see more and more parts of the economy join this ambition,” said Zaidi.

Congress has approved billions of dollars in new incentives, low-cost loans and other funding for electric vehicle production and $5 billion for charging stations.

The government has been criticized by some automakers and foreign governments for limiting credits for North American-made EVs and imposing new battery procurement rules.

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Some consumers are still not sure if they are eligible for EV credits.

President Joe Biden has set a goal that 50% of US auto production should be electric or plug-in electric hybrid vehicles by 2030, but he has not joined California and others in calling for the phasing out of new vehicle sales on gas by 2035.

(Reporting by David Shepardson; editing by Christopher Cushing)

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