Biden administration, auto leaders want ‘seamless’ EV charging station use

Source: By David Shepardson, Reuters • Posted: Thursday, April 7, 2022

Founder and CEO of Tesla Motors Elon Musk speaks during a media tour of the Tesla Gigafactory, which will produce batteries for the electric carmaker, in Sparks, Nevada, U.S. July 26, 2016. REUTERS/James Glover II

WASHINGTON, April 7 (Reuters) – Senior officials in the Biden administration and major automotive leaders agree that charging station infrastructure for electric vehicles should offer an interoperable experience based on any car model.

The White House said a virtual meeting was held Wednesday with major automotive leaders, including Tesla Inc (TSLA.O) Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk and General Motors (GM.N)CEO Mary Barra to discuss electric vehicles and charging.

The administration said in a statement “there was broad consensus that charging stations and vehicles need to be interoperable and provide a seamless user experience, no matter what car you drive or where you charge your EV.”

Musk has often been at odds with the White House, frequently firing off harsh tweets directed at President Joe Biden. In February, Biden publicly acknowledged the role of Tesla in U.S. electric vehicle manufacturing, after Musk repeatedly complained about being ignored.

Congress last year approved $7.5 billion in government funding for EV charging stations, but legislation has stalled for new tax incentives to purchase and build EVs.

Biden wants at least 50% of new vehicles by 2030 to be EVs or plug-in hybrids.

Ford Motor (F.N)CEO Jim Farley, Chrysler-parent Stellantis (STLA.MI) CEO Carlos Tavares, Lucid (LCID.O) CEO Peter Rawlinson and Nissan Americas (7201.T) chair Jeremie Papin were among other auto leaders who took part in Wednesday’s meeting, which discussed U.S. funding to “create a national network of 500,000 chargers.”

On Thursday, Farley posted a tweet praising the meeting’s focus on charging, including for commercial vehicles.

Also in attendance were Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm, National Climate Advisor Gina McCarthy and Infrastructure Coordinator Mitch Landrieu.

Granholm said Thursday on Twitter that it was a “very productive meeting – as we roll out EVs and charging infrastructure the CEOs were very forthcoming about government’s role as a partner in electrifying the transportation sector.”

Executives from Hyundai Motor America (005380.KS), Subaru of America (9778.T), Mazda North America, Toyota Motor North America Mercedes-Benz USA (MBGn.DE) and Kia Motors America (000270.KS) also took part.

Each auto executive received about 90 seconds to talk about their EV plans and spoke about a wide range of issues around EVs, including battery supply chain concerns, one company executive told Reuters. Biden last week invoked the Defense Production Act in a bid to boost U.S. production of minerals needed for electric vehicles.

Last week, automakers backed the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) new tougher vehicle emissions regulations in a court challenge brought by some states and ethanol groups.

Corn growers, a Valero Energy (VLO.N) subsidiary and other ethanol producers said the new EPA rules revising emission requirements through 2026 “effectively mandate the production and sale of electric cars rather than cars powered by internal combustion engines.”

Reporting by David Shepardson; Editing by Jacqueline Wong, Bradley Perrett and Bernard Orr

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