- A Joe Biden administration could be very good for transportation policy and electric vehicle (EV) adoption, with experts pointing to the potential for his administration to encourage expanding vehicle tax credits and infrastructure spending for charging stations deployments.
- Currently, only the first 200,000 EVs sold by a manufacturer can use the federal tax credit, though there have been proposals to expand it. "There's been interest on both sides of the aisle but it hasn't happened," said Ben Prochazka, national director of the Electrification Coalition, during a Wednesday webinar on the potential for EV policy.
- Prochazka and others are optimistic for EV policy under a Biden administration. The president-elect's plan calls for installing 500,000 electric charging stations nationwide, and he has named California Energy Commission member Patricia Monahan — who also serves as an Electrification Coalition board member — to his transition team.
In Biden, EV advocates see the potential for a leader who can not just develop policy but even help sell the technology itself.
"Biden is a car guy. His dad was a car salesman. He gets the excitement around this technology," said Sue Gander, managing director of EV policy for the Electrification Coalition, during the webinar.
Potential policy wins under Biden include expanding EV tax credits and incentives, as well as cooperating with states on building out charging infrastructure, among other things, according to Gander.
"Before we even get started, there's a presidential candidate talking about electric vehicles," Gander said. "It just changes the whole dynamic, and the chance to do things more quickly."
The electric vehicle sector expects to see a "profound change" in transportation and energy policy under the Biden administration, according to Jay Friedland, director and senior policy advisor for Plug In America. "There's a lot of opportunity there."
Friedland sees opportunities to advance EV policy through legislative action, regulation and in the form of executive actions.
Plug in America has urged members of Congress to support several pieces of EV legislation, and some were included in HR 2, the Moving America Forward Act, which passed the House this summer. The White House indicated it would veto the bill, if also passed by the Senate.
Among the legislation being tracked by Plug in America are: the Driving America Forward Act, which would help bring EVs to price parity with gas-powered vehicles; the Affordable PEVs for Working Families Act of 2019, which would create a new credit for low-income consumers to buy EVs; and a "Cash for Clunkers" style program to encourage drivers to retire older cars.
Plug in America is also calling for the extension of the Section 30C alternative fuel vehicle refueling property credit in federal tax law, which the group says would create thousands of infrastructure jobs and boost charging capabilities.
In terms of executive orders, Plug in America says it is expecting to see something aligning the federal clean cars program with the California clean cars program, and an executive order increasing the number of EVs within the federal fleet. A stimulus measure, to help the country recover from the economic impacts of COVID-19, could include infrastructure spending to deploy EV chargers which would mean jobs for electricians and construction workers.
The labor and economic policy impacts will be important to Biden's administration, said Prochazka.
"We want to make sure people in the U.S. continue to build cars," Prochazka said. For EVs, that means battery factories and new supply chains alongside vehicle manufacturing facilities.
"This is about building up our industrial base and the idea the United States can play a leadership role across the globe," said Prochazka.
And the issue shouldn't be political, Prochazka added. "So far, it seems there's been a lot more interest on the Democratic side to be aggressive on these policies, but at the end of the day ... we've got to figure out how to make these issue resonate with people on all sides of the aisle."