Joe Biden Opens Detroit Auto Show Talking About Electricity

Joe Biden, a big car lover, pleaded for a switch to electric cars at the opening of the Detroit show, which is coming back to life after two shows were canceled due to Covid-19, with manufacturers unveiling more and more eco-friendly models alongside their traditional. gasoline powered vehicles.


“The great American road trip will go all electric,” the American president said. He assured that on all highways crossing the United States, “charging stations will be in place and will be as easy to find as gas stations.” The President’s visit shed light on the show, which was suspended for two years due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The event used to take place in January but has been rescheduled for September, a better-weather period that does not coincide with the major technology show in Las Vegas, which is increasingly attracting companies from the automotive sector. The 2022 Detroit show is less grandiose than previous ones, with many foreign manufacturers or more recent players like Tesla absent. And the companies in attendance, accustomed during the pandemic to presenting their latest models online, didn’t make big, flashy presentations.

Joe Biden made no secret of his pleasure in taking the opportunity to drive a Chevrolet Corvette Z06 before driving an electric Cadillac Lyriq. “It’s a beautiful car,” he said of the Cadillac, “but I love the Corvette,” whose engine he spun. “He said he was taking her home,” joked General Motors CEO Mary Barra. Walking down the aisles of the show, the president also met with officials from Ford, Stellantis and the UAW’s main automobile union.

Internal combustion engines are still present

Even if internal combustion engines still largely dominate the roads of the United States, manufacturers present in Detroit have pushed the electric vehicles they are about to offer in hopes of capturing Tesla’s share of the growing market. So the Chevrolet brand promoted electric versions of the Silverado pickup truck and Equinox SUV, introduced last week at a base price of $30,000, to appeal to a wider clientele.

“People are on the cusp of mass adoption of electric vehicles,” said Chevrolet Vice President Steve Majoros. In particular, with the increase in the number of charging stations, “more and more Americans are ready.” However, internal combustion engines aren’t completely forgotten: Chevrolet also unveiled a new version of its Tahoe petrol SUV on Wednesday.

Jeep, part of the Stellantis Group, has unveiled a 30th anniversary special edition of its Grand Cherokee SUV, as well as a Jeep plug-in hybrid. Ford also unveiled on Wednesday the 7th generation of its legendary Mustang, born 58 years ago, equipped with an internal combustion engine sufficient to prove the durability of gasoline cars. The company, which has invested more in electric vehicles than any other company in recent years, defended its choice, saying that customers “interested in sports cars still want (the) internal combustion engine.”

Biden and the automakers

Since joining the White House, Joe Biden has initiated several measures designed to ease the transition to electricity, such as $7.5 billion allocated for the construction of charging stations. On Wednesday, he announced that the administration would release the first $900 million shortly. He also pushed for a basic law on semiconductors, components now needed for cars full of electronics, and subsidies for manufacturers and motorists.

However, sector players have expressed doubts about new incentives to buy an electric car subject to certain conditions, such as final assembly in North America or a commitment to use raw materials produced in the region. But the president has a pretty good relationship with manufacturers, having bailed them out of a difficult situation after the 2008 financial crisis while he was vice president.

And since his arrival at the White House, he has already visited the factories of GM and Ford. Builders hope that the administration will be flexible in implementing the new rules. “There are still many recommendations that the government needs to develop on how they should be applied,” said Chevrolet CEO Steve Majoros.

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