The White House said on Thursday that it was aiming for half of all new vehicles sold by 2030 to be electric powered, portraying the shift to battery power as essential to keep pace with China and to fight climate change.
President Biden announced the target on Thursday as part of a plan that will also include construction of a nationwide network of charging stations, financial incentives for consumers to buy electric cars, and financial aid for carmakers and suppliers to retool factories for electric vehicles.
“Folks, the rest of the world is moving ahead. We’ve just got to step up,” Mr. Biden said on Thursday.
The president is also seeking to tighten fuel economy standards that were rolled back by former President Donald J. Trump.
Electric vehicles account for a much higher share of auto sales in Europe and China because of incentives for consumers and government regulation. In June, less than 4 percent of the new cars sold in the United States were pure electric vehicles or plug-in hybrids, according to Argonne National Laboratory.
“Despite pioneering the technology, the U.S. is behind in the race to manufacture these vehicles and the batteries that go in them,” the White House said in a statement. “Today, the U.S. market share of electric vehicle sales is only one-third that of the Chinese electric vehicle market.”
The Biden administration’s target is generally in line with what the major American carmakers have set for themselves. Virtually all major U.S. automakers as well as numerous foreign automakers endorsed the plan, though they described the target as 40 percent to 50 percent electric vehicles and said it would be possible only with enough charging stations for millions of cars.
“We look forward to working with the Biden administration, Congress and state and local governments to enact policies that will enable these ambitious objectives,” Ford Motor, General Motors and Stellantis, which owns Jeep and Chrysler, said in a joint statement.
The United Automobile Workers union expressed support for the plan, as did BMW, Honda, Volkswagen and Volvo.