In August, he announced a target that by 2030, half of the vehicles sold in the United States will be battery electric, fuel-cell electric or plug-in hybrid. It would be a seismic shift for an auto industry dominated by gas-powered vehicles.
But resistance to Biden’s ambitious goal is coming from a surprising stakeholder: the United Autoworkers Union, one of Biden’s oldest political allies.
The union has long been wary about the shift to electric vehicles and its implication for jobs, with electric vehicles taking about 30% less labor to assemble than traditional internal combustion engine vehicles, industry experts have told CNN.
“Our concerns were what that impact would be for our membership, what those products would actually look like, [and] potential volumes around those products,” UAW President Ray Curry told CNN in August, adding his union wanted assurances from the administration that EVs coming from the Detroit automakers would be built by union workers.
Making American cars greener is a key component of Biden’s economic and climate agendas, and major US automakers are already planning for the inevitable future of electric vehicles. GM (GM) pledged earlier this year that 100% of its cars sold would be zero-emissions by 2035. Ford (F) also announced in May that 40% of its vehicles sold by 2030 will be electric.