Here's what GM CEO Mary Barra had to say about the EV tax credit debate.
By 2030, President Biden wants half of all car sales in the US to be zero-emissions vehicles including battery electrics, plug-in hybrids, and fuel cell vehicles. Electrified sales in the US have increased dramatically over the last ten years, but a lot of work still needs to be done to accelerate EV adoption and convince hesitant buyers to make the transition. Speaking during the Automotive Press Association event, General Motors CEO Mary Barra thinks government incentives are necessary to help America transition to EVs.
If approved, President Biden's Build Back Better bill will make EVs eligible for $7,500 federal tax credits even if manufacturers have delivered over 200,000 EVs.
It also includes an extra $4,500 credit if the EV is assembled by US union workers, increasing the total credit to $12,500. Toyota, Hyundai, and Honda are not happy about this since their US factories are not unionized and Mexico is even threatening to take legal action. Elon Musk has urged the Senate not to pass the bill, arguing that Tesla has sold around two-thirds of all EVs in the US without federal tax credits. Barra, on the other hand, believes that government incentives are essential to increasing EV adoption.
Whereas many EV startups are focusing on high-end luxury models, GM's EV lineup will include luxury models like the Cadillac Lyriq and budget-friendly models including a Chevrolet Equionix-sized EV that will cost less than $30,000. Barra thinks these buyers shopping for $30,000 EVs will benefit most from government incentives. "Do those individuals need that support to make the transition? I think it's reasonable if you're trying to accelerate [EV adoption]," she said.
"That's their only vehicle, and they depend on it. If they don't get to work, it impacts their livelihood," Barra added. "Reaching that customer is where you're really going to get scale, and I'm very proud that at General Motors, we do that with the Chevrolet brand, across the board, from trucks to the crossovers to smaller vehicles."
At CES next month, GM will reveal more details about its entry-level electric such as the Equinox- and Chevy Blazer-sized EVs. By 2030, GM plans to launch as many as 30 EVs globally, with two-thirds launching in the US. This rapid expansion will "change the game" according to Barra. "We're going to go as fast as we can." The Chevrolet Silverado EV will also debut at CES next month before entering production.
Despite arriving later than its rivals such as the Ford F-150 Lightning, Rivian R1T, and Tesla Cybertruck, Barra is confident the electric Silverado can "educate people on what you can do with an electric truck when you have an electric truck platform" compared to the Ford F-150 Lightning that uses the same platform as the combustion-powered F-150.