Through their lobbying efforts since Donald Trump’s election and the EPA’s move to rush its new fuel consumption rules, automakers are sending a clear message that they don’t want to mass produce electric vehicles – at least not on the timeline suggested by the agency.
As we reported earlier this week, the EPA filed its midterm review of the fuel consumption standard early (before Trump takes over) in order to put in place a fleet requirement of 54.5 mpg by 2025, which would force automakers to add more electric vehicles to their fleet in order to compensate for their more gas-guzzling vehicles, like SUVs and pickup trucks.
Now several automaker lobbying groups representing nearly all major automakers (except Tesla Motors and a few French automakers) are now lobbying for the agency to delay finalizing the new rule until Trump takes over and replaces the head of the EPA.
And as we reported yesterday, Trump’s nomination for the head of the EPA is a climate change denier with close ties to the oil industry, which makes it clear that the automakers are hoping the rule is delayed until Trump’s administration can kill it.
Aside from Ford, most automakers haven’t directly commented on the rule, but they have done so through two major lobbying groups, the Association of Global Automakers and the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers. Put together, the two groups represent almost the entire auto industry (see below).
They have filed a petition for the EPA to withdraw the rule and they sent a letter to Trump’s transition team. They present the argument that demand for “alternative powertrains” (aka electric cars) is not strong enough for automakers to achieve fuel consumption requirements and that the EPA is rushing the rule in reaction to Trump’s election instead of making a “data-driven” decision.
Of course, the demand is also limited by the price of electric cars available, and the price is in turn limited by the fact that automakers are not mass producing electric cars to reduce the cost. We have kind of a chicken and egg situation here. With a vehicle like the Tesla Model 3 receiving over 400,000 reservations in just a few months, it’s clear that there is demand for electric vehicles, but not any electric vehicle at any price.
While almost all automakers have announced several upcoming electric cars, very few are committing to mass production of those cars, which seems to be the reason for backing those lobbying efforts.
It would be quicker to list those who are not involved in the effort, but here are all the automakers currently backing those efforts through their participation in those lobbying groups:
- Aston Martin
- Jaguar Land Rover
- Mercedes-Benz USA
- Mitsubishi Motors