Car dealers press Biden to ease up on ‘unrealistic’ electric vehicle push

A group of U.S. auto dealers urged the Biden administration to ease up on its ambitious electric vehicle targets, citing concerns about what the dealers say is a lag in consumer demand.

The group of dealers, which collectively dubbed themselves the EV Voice of the Customer, noted in a letter Tuesday morning that production has outpaced demand, leaving them with a surplus of unsold electric vehicles on their lots.

“The reality,” the group of car dealers said, “is that electric vehicle demand today is not keeping up with the large influx of BEVs arriving at our dealerships prompted by the current regulations. BEVs are stacking up on our lots.”

While EV sales in the United States have increased in 2023 and are on pace to reach 9% of all new passenger vehicles sold this year, according to the latest projections published by the Atlas Public Policy group, sales remain far below expected targets.

The Biden administration has sought to ramp up EV sales to 50% of new vehicles sold for 2030, a target that the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed 2027-2032 vehicle emissions targets would sharpen further, aiming for 67% of new vehicles sold by 2032 to be electric vehicles.

That target came under harsh criticism from the top U.S. automotive trade group, the Alliance for Automotive Innovation, which criticized the EPA’s proposed rule earlier this year as “neither reasonable nor achievable” in the time frame intended.

The lag in EV adoption has put dealers and manufacturers in a tough position as they wait for consumer demand to catch up to production.

Ford announced last week it would scale back its planned $3.5 billion investment in an EV battery plant in Michigan, part of its plan to trim its investments in the EV space more broadly by $12 billion.

“Mr. President, it is time to tap the brakes on the unrealistic government electric vehicle mandate,” the group of auto dealers said Tuesday, asking for additional time to allow EV battery technology to advance and secure a reliable battery supply chain.

Most importantly, the dealers said, they want to “allow time for the American consumer to get comfortable with the technology and make the choice to buy an electric vehicle.”

This commentary first published November 28, 2023 at the Washington Examiner.

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