Biden to sign executive order to sell half of new vehicles in 2030

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WASHINGTON, Aug 5 - U.S. President Joe Biden will sign an executive order on Thursday with a mission to sell half of all new vehicles in 2030 as zero emissions vehicles and propose new vehicle emissions rules to fight pollution through 2026.

Biden's goal, which is not legally binding, won the support of major U.S. and foreign automakers who warned it would require billions of dollars in government funding.

General Motors Co, Chrysler-parent Stellantis NV and Ford Motor Co confirmed in a joint statement that they aspire to achieve sales of 40 - 50% of annual U.S. volumes of electric vehicles by 2030. On Tuesday, Reuters reported the car manufacturer announcement plan.

Biden's 50% goal and the automakers' 40 - 50% aspiration includes battery electric, fuel cell and plug-in hybrid vehicles with a gasoline engine.

Biden has repeatedly resisted calls from many Democrats to set a binding requirement for EV adoption or to follow California and some countries in setting 2035 as a date to phase out the sale of new gasoline-powered light duty vehicles in the face of opposition by the United Auto Workers union.

UAW President Ray Curry outlined the EV goal, but pointed out that the UAW focus is not on hard deadlines or percentages, but on preserving wages and benefits that have been the heart and soul of the American middle class.

Biden's new executive order sets a new schedule for developing new emissions standards through at least 2030 for large vehicles and as soon as 2027 for light duty vehicles.

Dan Becker, director of the Safe Climate Transport Campaign, said that the plan relies on legally binding voluntary commitments from unenforceable car makers. Voluntary pledges by auto companies make a new year resolution look like a voluntary contract.

The Detroit 3 Automakers said aggressive EV sales goals can be met only with billions of dollars in government incentives including consumer subsidies, EV charging networks and investments in R&D, and incentives to expand the electric vehicle manufacturing and supply chains in the United States.

Hyundai said it supports the 2030 40-50 % EV sales target. Toyota said in a statement that the goal was great for the environment and added you can count on Toyota to do our part.

The U.S. regulators plan to propose to revise former President Donald Trump's March 2020 rollback of fuel economy standards. The President Barack Obama required 1.5% annual improvements in efficiency through 2026, well below the 5% annual boosts set by Trump in 2012.

Biden's proposed rules, which cover 2023-2026, are expected to be similar in overall vehicle emissions reductions to California's 2019 deal with some automakers that aims to improve fuel economy 3.7% annually through 2026, sources told Reuters. BMW, Honda, Volkswagen, Ford and Volvo cars - which previously struck the California deal - said in a joint statement that they support the administration's goal of reaching an electric vehicle future but also said bold action from our partners in the federal government is crucial to build consumer demand for electric vehicles.

Consulting firm AlixPartners said in June that investments in electric vehicles by 2025 could total $330 billion. As of now, electric vehicles represent about 2% of total global vehicle sales and will be around 24% of total sales by 2030, the firm said.

Biden called for $174 billion of government spending to push EVs, including $100 billion in consumer incentives. A bipartisan Senate infrastructure bill includes $7.5 billion for EV charging stations but no money to support new consumer incentives.

Stellantis said last month that it was targeting over 40% of cars to be low emission by 2030.

GM aspires to end the sales of new gasoline-powered new light duty vehicles by 2035. Ford said it plans to import at least 40% of our global vehicle volume all-electric by 2030.