Biden sets goals for electric vehicle sales, what experts say needs to happen first

Durham County News

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — The future of cars could look a lot different. President Joe Biden signed an executive order Thursday to have half of new car sales be electric vehicles by 2030.

Currently, electric vehicles make up about 3 percent of new car sales in the U.S.

CBS 17 asked Tim Johnson, a faculty member at Duke University’s Nicholas School of the Environment, how realistic the goal is.

“It’s aspirational, not only would the auto manufacturers have to ramp up their production of electric vehicles, which then requires significant changes to their entire supply chain, but we’d also have to build out the electric vehicle charging infrastructure,” Johnson said.

He said the quick rise of gas stations in the early 20th century makes him optimistic that charging station infrastructure could rise quickly, too.

While electric cars usually cost more, Johnson expects that to change.

“The expectation is in a few years battery cost will be low enough that you’ll see near price parity between electric vehicles and a gasoline vehicle,” Johnson said. “Where electric vehicles really shine is in their operating costs.”

He said electric cars have lower maintenance costs and charging costs less than gas.

Johnson notes that doesn’t mean half the cars on the road will be electric in 2030, because on average people keep their car for more than a decade.

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper (D) said he supports the president. In 2018, Cooper set a goal of at least 80,000 zero-emission vehicles in North Carolina by 2025. That goal includes hybrid cars, Biden’s order refers to electric vehicles.

According to numbers from the North Carolina Department of Transportation, the state had 12,202 zero-emission vehicles in Sept. 2018, and rose to 30,031 zero-emission vehicles as of June 2021.

As for non-electric cars, Biden is setting standards to make them more fuel efficient. Johnson said he thinks that will also push companies to make more hybrid and electric vehicles.

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