Realizing the Biden administration’s ambitious electric vehicle targets might bring more investment and employment growth to the Southeast’s auto manufacturing hub. With today’s Executive Order, President Biden established a goal: by 2030, half of all new cars sold would be zero-emission automobiles. That is a target America is ready to achieve, and the Southeast is prepared to prosper from, with increased investment and the appropriate public policies.
Although Georgia, Florida, North Carolina, Alabama, South Carolina, and Tennessee account for only 18% of the country’s population, they have captured around 36% of nationwide electric car investment (up from 28% a year earlier) and 18% of EV jobs (up 4 percent from last year). And as additional automakers and supply chain firms operate in the region, the numbers are expanding by the month. Biden’s target of 50% zero-emission vehicles by 2030 will propel the EV market forward. Pay attention to the major automakers. GM, Ford, Stellantis, Honda, Volkswagen, BMW, and Volvo have all stated their support for rapid transportation electrification and have committed hundreds of billions of dollars to the cause.
Tesla’s quarterly profits have surpassed $1 billion, while new competitors such as Rivian, Lucid, and Arrival have piqued customer interest. The United Auto Workers (UAW) is also supporting the campaign. The Executive Order also begins developing a long-term fuel economy and pollution regulations, which were pushed down during the Trump regime. When coupled with transportation electrification, these regulations will improve vehicle efficiency, save consumers money at the pump, reduce exhaust pollution, promote public health, and lower carbon emissions.
The Southeast leads the way in terms of EV-related economic growth and job growth, but it lags in terms of actual EVs on the road. Only approximately 10% of EV sales in the United States come from this region. This is partly due to a lack of consumer understanding of the benefits of electric vehicles. Still, it is primarily due to a lack of favorable state-level EV policies and state electric utility regulators’ unwillingness to allow and electric utilities to recommending large-scale utility investments.
Southeast’s EV market needs to be enhanced to remain competitive and attract more EV investment and jobs. Now is the moment for state legislators to adopt initiatives that will increase electric vehicle ownership and access. Policy levers such as Zero Emission Vehicle standards, the Transportation Climate Initiative, Advanced Clean Truck and Omnibus rules, and allowing EV makers to sell their items directly to customers are instances of levers which can be lifted to enable customers and fleet providers to access EVs, start generating revenue to help state programs, enhance public health, and reduce carbon emissions.
This post was originally published on Downey Magazine