Automakers and other interested parties have rallied around to support the recent US presidential executive order covering vehicle emissions and EVs.

President Joe Biden has moved further towards his goal of slashing greenhouse gas emissions with the order aimed at making half of all new vehicles sold in 2030 electric while the administration also proposed new vehicle emissions standards that would cut pollution by the end of 2026, starting with a 10% increase in stringency for the 2023 model year.

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The actions, according to a Reuters report, were part of a broader US plan to fight climate change by targeting emissions from cars and trucks while working to make the country an industry leader as China moves to dominate the electric vehicle market.

But the 50% EV target is not legally binding, though it won support from US and foreign automakers which said achieving the goal would require billions of dollars in government funding. An environmental group, the Safe Climate Transport Campaign, told Reuters the White House did not go far enough and called automakers’ commitment to a non-binding target unreliable.

A joint statement from Ford, GM, and Stellantis said the [‘Detroit Three’] were announcing “aspiration” to achieve sales of 40-50% of annual US volumes of electric vehicles (battery electric, fuel cell and plug-in hybrid vehicles) by 2030 in order to move the nation closer to a zero-emissions future consistent with Paris climate goals.

“Our recent product, technology, and investment announcements highlight our collective commitment to be leaders in the US transition to electric vehicles. This represents a dramatic shift from the US market today that can be achieved only with the timely deployment of the full suite of electrification policies committed to by the administration in the Build Back Better Plan, including purchase incentives, a comprehensive charging network of sufficient density to support the millions of vehicles these targets represent, investments in R&D, and incentives to expand the electric vehicle manufacturing and supply chains in the US.”

UAW president Ray Curry said: “We are at a critical time for the auto industry as countries compete to build the vehicles of the future. We are falling behind China and Europe as manufacturers pour billions into growing their markets and expanding their manufacturing. We need to make investments here in the United States. Today’s announcement on emissions standards brings more certainty and better planning for the auto industry and UAW member future jobs.”

BMW, Ford, Honda, Volkswagen, and Volvo said in a joint statement: ““We were proud to stand with California to establish progressive new greenhouse gas regulations, and we remain committed to leading the industry in fighting against climate change. That’s why we support the Administration’s goal of reaching an electric vehicle future and applaud President Biden’s leadership on reducing emissions and investing in critical infrastructure to achieve these reductions. While the California framework companies are driving towards 40-50% of our sales being EVs in the next nine years, bold action from our partners in the federal government is crucial to build consumer demand for electric vehicles and put us on track to achieve the global commitments of the Paris Climate Agreement. That includes a strong nationwide greenhouse gas emissions standard, continued investments in charging infrastructure, and broad consumer incentives for all electric vehicle purchases.”

Alliance for Automotive Innovation president and CEO John Bozzella said: “Auto manufacturers are committed to a net-zero carbon transportation future, and we look forward to working with the administration as we evaluate EPA’s proposed changes to light-duty vehicle standards for model years 2023-2026. Collectively, the auto industry has committed to investing more than $330bn to bring exciting new electric vehicles (EVs) to market, including plug-in hybrid, battery and fuel cell EVs. And we support stringent GHG and fuel economy standards that are aligned and encourage continued improvements. Federal and state governments—and all stakeholders—will need to provide significant support for consumers, infrastructure and innovation. The auto industry has stepped up—investments in electrification globally will exceed $330 billion by 2025.”

California has traditionally imposed stricter auto emissions standards than federal level, a move subsequently followed by some other states. Governor Gavin Newsom said: “California applauds the Biden Administration’s move to boldly reduce climate pollution from cars, inspired by California’s nation-leading framework.”

Julie Cerqueira, executive director of the US Climate Alliance, said: “Strong vehicle standards protect our communities from unnecessary air pollution and fuel costs, and address the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in the US. There’s much more work to do, but these new proposed rules are a critical step forward.”