How Biden’s E.V. Plan Could Help Tesla and Squeeze Toyota
Companies that have been slower, like Stellantis, which owns Ram, Jeep and Chrysler, brands that do not yet have vehicles solely powered by batteries, face additional pressure to catch up. Jeep started selling a plug-in hybrid version of its popular Wrangler this year and plans to start selling fully electric vehicles by 2023.
“Automotive industry leaders have seen the writing on the wall for some time now when it comes to electrification and autonomous technologies,” said Jessica Caldwell, a senior analyst at Edmunds, a market researcher.
Ms. Caldwell added that the sales targets set by the Biden administration and the automakers “are certainly not unreasonable, and most likely achievable by 2030 given that automakers have already baked in large numbers of electric vehicles into their future product cycles.”
But many automakers are just beginning to bring electric vehicles to market that have been designed from the ground up to run on batteries. The Mercedes-Benz EQS, a luxury electric sedan, will go on sale in the United States this month. BMW began selling a battery-powered vehicle, the i3, eight years ago but was slow to follow up. The iX, an electric S.U.V., will arrive at American dealers early next year.
And just because companies make electric vehicles does not mean that people will buy them. Volkswagen began selling an electric S.U.V., the ID.4, this year, but sales in the United States so far have been only a fraction of the company’s established models like the Jetta or Tiguan.
By setting a clear target for electric vehicle sales, Mr. Biden is adding momentum to the shift to clean transportation, but he is also unleashing forces that automakers may not be able to control.
Consumers could stampede to electric vehicles as they become less expensive and people realize that gasoline vehicles are in danger of becoming white elephants with plunging resale value. That would strain companies that, with the exception of Tesla and some start-ups, are still mainly in the business of producing cars with internal combustion engines.