Pres. Biden: "The federal government also owns an enormous fleet of vehicles, which we're going to replace with clean electric vehicles made right here in America, by American workers."https://t.co/figJbDMrpt pic.twitter.com/racgwk9VGw
— ABC News Live (@ABCNewsLive) January 25, 2021
News outlets like Reuters are reporting that:
President Joe Biden on Monday vowed to replace the U.S. government’s fleet of roughly 650,000 vehicles with electric models as the new administration shifts its focus toward clean-energy.
CleanTechnica reports on some of the challenges in making it happening, but saying first:
While the overall goal is probably not 100% possible during Biden’s 4 or 8 years, it is definitely possible to electrify most federal government vehicles if done over time and in conjunction with massive improvements to charging infrastructure (another Biden campaign promise).
The article notes that Biden’s campaign pages promise:
.. 500,000 electric vehicle charging stations — to create good jobs in industries supporting vehicle electrification.
Challenges noted by CleanTechnica include:
- Practical: Some of the federal government’s fleet works in remote areas that are unlikely to ever have the infrastructure needed for the EVs.
- Legal: Biden can probably, through executive order, make this happen. If he tried to mandate states to transition to EVs for federal funding, he would probably have to go through Congress.
- Infrastructure: Biden will have to make good on the his promise of 500,000 charging stations. Alas,”Even with funding, it’s going to take a lot of time to get all those stations put in…The planning, permitting, electrical work, approvals, and activation are all slow processes for high-powered DC fast charging stations. Even a completed station could take months at times to be turned on at the end. Don’t count on this all happening in Biden’s first four years, and be very surprised if it starts to really take shape in two terms.
- Political: “In the time it would take to get this plan going really well, a lot can happen. There are elections in 2022, 2024, 2026, and 2028. Any of these elections could create setbacks for this ambitious program…To get anything done, a coalition would have to agree to the plan.”
- Industry: Biden wants union jobs, Tesla for example opposes unions. So who gets the contracts?
Will it happen? CleanTechica writer Jennifer Sensiba thinks it will, writing:
Even if everything doesn’t go perfectly right for this plan, there is a lot of inertia behind it…Cost benefits over the lives of federally owned vehicles are also extremely hard to ignore… It will only be increasingly hard for fiscal conservatives to justify the purchase of anything but EVs as prices continue to fall.
Despite the challenges, Biden’s plan is likely to succeed, but the challenges must be planned for and planned around to make the program a success.