There's an irony to all of this.
There's been one relative constant throughout the ongoing semiconductor chip crisis: trucks. They remain as popular as ever and automakers have prioritized them, along with the SUVs that share their platforms, over conventional cars like the Chevrolet Malibu. Trucks like the best-selling Ford F-150 and Chevy Silverado 1500 continue to be Detroit's cash cows, which is both good and bad. You see, trucks and SUVs bring in hordes of cash every year but they're not exactly fuel efficient.
At the same time, GM, Ford, and Stellantis are in the process of transitioning to electrified vehicle lineups, but this requires major investments estimated at around $100 billion combined among the three. Guess where the money's coming from?
Reuters reports the ironic and somewhat troubling situation Detroit and the Biden administration is currently in. On the one hand, America's craving for these big vehicles is keeping factories up and running, and that means jobs. Specifically union jobs, a core issue for Biden. Cutting down on truck production in favor of EVs will likely require fewer jobs because the latter has fewer parts.
Earlier this month, the Detroit automakers voiced their full support for Biden's goal of reaching 50 percent EV sales by 2030. It's a tough act to balance and Detroit knows it must proceed very carefully. The Biden administration is also rightly concerned that robust truck and SUV sales will keep EV demand low.
Officials at the state and federal levels need to find ways to convince consumers to buy EVs in order to meet that 2030 goal. It won't be easy judging by what's popular now.
"It's not just about the companies, [which] are doing their best to design and build electric vehicles that people want and make sure there are batteries that get greater range and that there will be charging available. That part is moving pretty fast (but) it's going to have to go faster," said a member of the California Air Resources Board (CARB). The new Ford F-150 Lightning and GMC Hummer EV are both very good starts, but there's a lot more work to do.