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Cox, other GOP governors want Biden to tap the brakes on EV transition

Letter details concern over ‘unrealistic, costly’ mandate for American public

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Jon Barney disconnects his electric car from a charging station at the Capitol in Salt Lake City on Sept. 3, 2020.

Jon Barney disconnects his electric car from a charging station at the Capitol in Salt Lake City on Thursday, Sept. 3, 2020.

Laura Seitz, Deseret News

Utah Gov. Spencer Cox was among 16 governors who implored President Joe Biden Monday to switch to the slow lane when it comes to his electric vehicle mandate, insisting it is unrealistic and costly, hurting U.S. consumers.

The mandate requires that two out of every three vehicles be battery electric by 2032.

“Instead of using government mandates to drive the vehicle market, allow American consumers to maintain choice in the types of vehicles they choose to drive,” the letter reads. “While we are not opposed to the electric vehicle marketplace, we do have concerns with federal government mandates that penalize retailers and do not reflect the will of the consumer.”

The letter went on to add: “Even with deep price cuts, manufacturers’ incentives, and generous government funding, federal mandates on electric vehicles are unrealistic.”

It made these statements to underscore its point:

  • China currently accounts for 70% of global electric vehicle battery production capacity. Bolstering the domestic critical minerals industry is an essential step to realizing any long-term, responsible electric vehicle battery production. Given China’s current action atop the global electric vehicle production, mandating electric vehicle use too quickly can also present a national security risk.
  • There are a number of reasons why consumers are leaving these cars on dealership lots — the cost, the infrastructure required and the battery content requirements are untenable for today’s car buyers.

“While battery electric vehicles are a promising technology, we believe it will take time to develop the marketplace to address consumer access and concerns, and to build out the necessary infrastructure,” the letter said.

Utah has done a lot of work in the arena of electric vehicle adoption and getting the proper battery charging infrastructure in place.

The hurdles remain, and recent news has not done much to enamor the public with an electric vehicle.

J.D. Power reported of the 250 million vehicles, light duty trucks and sports utility vehicles sold over the last year, less than 1% were electric vehicles.

CBS News reported that last week during Chicago’s deep freeze, Teslas were idled because the cold saps their charging ability.

“I’ve been here for over five hours at this point, and I still have not gotten to charge my car,” said Tesla driver Brandon Welbourne. “A charge that should take 45 minutes is taking two hours.”

Idaho National Laboratory is one of many national research facilities trying to solve the problem, but it will take time.

In the interim, some of the public relations problems continue to mount.

Hertz Global Holdings is selling about 20,000 of its electric vehicles, citing higher expense and damage repairs after collisions. It is now opting for gas-powered vehicles.

Ford has announced it’s cutting back production on its electric F-150 to make room for the Ford Bronco and Ranger pickup trucks, while General Motors stopped selling its electric Blazer due to charging and software issues.