A key touchpoint of President Joe Biden’s massive “infrastructure” package has been developing a clean-energy and high-mileage electric vehicle fleet and charging network throughout the United States.
The plan promises to reduce American reliance on fossil fuels while generating many thousands of quality union jobs. Biden’s high aim of 50% electric car adoption in the country would represent a staggering rise from the country’s existing 2% market penetration.
In July, a high-profile announcement at the White House regarding the electric vehicle plan was attended by leaders from Ford and GM and blue-state governors and environmental activists. However, no domestic non-unionized auto producers were invited. Even though they have expressed interest in Biden’s goals, no one from Tesla, Hyundai, Toyota, or Nissan was asked.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki was asked if Tesla owner Elon Musk had not been invited because Tesla is not a unionized producer. Psaki pointed out that the invited companies are the largest employers of United Auto Workers (UAW) members and told the reporter that she would let them “draw your conclusion.”
Biden’s plan calls for replacing the current tax credit for electric car purchasers set at $7,500 with a credit of $10,000 for cars produced by non-unionized companies and $12,500 for those made by unionized companies.
The administration’s plan would provide priority support to union firms while transitioning to electric production. The UAW’s membership is down to around 250,000 from a high in the 1970s of approximately 1.5 million.
The UAW and the administration know that electric vehicle production requires fewer skilled workers than gasoline and diesel vehicles do. The reality of production methods and the loss of market share for electric vehicles to non-unionized companies like Tesla and Toyota means that the UAW is looking for more assistance from the federal government than ever before.
Unionized domestic electric vehicle producers will need a national charging network to be competitive. Unlike Tesla, they can rely on Biden to ask taxpayers to pay the bill. One reasonably sure thing is the likelihood that Joe Biden will cast every “green” program in the way most beneficial to his lifelong supporters in America’s labor unions.