Washington, Sep 14 (EFE).- President Joe Biden once again on Wednesday declared his support for the US automotive sector during a visit to a Detroit showroom, announcing the investment of almost $1 billion to help create a nationwide network of recharging stations for electric vehicles.
As per current allocations, his administration will direct some $900 million toward build electric vehicle (EV) recharging stations in 35 states.
Those funds are part of the $7.5 billion included in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law that entered into force in November 2021 and which will provide $1.2 trillion in investment to update and repair US infrastructure.
“Today, I’m pleased to announce we’re approving funding for the first 35 states, including Michigan, to build their own electric charging infrastructure throughout their state, and you all are gonna be part of a network of 500,000 charging stations,” said Biden in a speech after touring the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS), which kicked off on Wednesday in Detroit.
The national network will include some 500,000 recharging stations, which will facilitate the operation of EVs throughout the US.
Calling himself a “car guy,” and saying that cars give him a sense of “optimism,” although he admitted that “I also like the speed,” Biden said that “The great American road trip is going to be fully electrified.”
The president also said that the network will end the limitations currently being faced by the owners of EVs and will allow them to travel throughout the country with ease and without worrying about being unable to recharge their vehicles.
Once the recharging network is built in the 35 states, the EV stations will cover 85,300 kilometers (52,900 miles) of highways and other roads and will be able to provide service to 47 million vehicles each year.
Biden not only is a self-proclaimed admirer of the automotive sector, considering it to be responsible for the creation and maintenance of the US middle class, but also of the transformation of the sector to abandon production of gasoline-powered vehicles in favor of EVs.
The father of the president, Joseph Biden Sr., spent a good part of his life working in the automotive sector selling vehicles in Wilmington, Delaware, something that his son frequently mentions in his public remarks, including on Wednesday.
Biden does not hide his satisfaction that, first when he served as Barack Obama’s vice president (from 2009-2017) and now that he occupies the White House himself, the US automotive sector has begun to recover its past splendor.
According to administration figures, since Biden took office in January 2021 EV sales have tripled in the US and firms in the sector to date have announced investments of $85 billion to manufacture EVs.
Meanwhile, the government has allocated $135 billion to support the sector in various ways ranging from business loans to tax credits for EV owners and for the development of EV technology in the US, the president said Wednesday.
Biden emphasized during his NAIAS remarks that the state of Michigan is “building the future” of electric vehicles in the US.
The three big US automakers – General Motors (GM), Ford and Stellantis – know that the Democratic president is one of their main supporters.
On Wednesday, the top executives of those three companies welcomed Biden to the pavilions they had set up at NAIAS and where they were exhibiting the vehicle models that will soon hit the market or which are already being sold at dealerships around the nation.
Biden met with GM CEO Mary Barra, Ford chief Bill Ford, Stellantis CEO Carlos Tavares and the chairman of that firm’s administrative council, John Elkann.
At the automakers’ pavilions, Biden examined the new hybrid models for Jeep, which is part of the Stellantis group, and got into vehicles like GM’s sporty Corvette Z06 – although that vehicle is not an EV – and the new electric pickup trucks by Chevrolet and Ford, the Silverado and the F-150 Lightning, respectively.
He also took advantage of the opportunity to try out the Cadillac Lyriq, another GM EV, which he drove a short distance, an undertaking that allowed him to joke with reporters – saying “Jump in, I’ll give you a ride to Washington” – with a Secret Service agent sitting in the passenger seat.