Washington — A quiet partisan battle is brewing in the nation’s capital over government’s role in helping the fledgling electric vehicle market off the ground.
As Democrats push President Joe Biden’s $174 billion electric vehicle proposal with the hopes of out-competing China and reducing carbon emissions, many Republicans are calling the administration’s approach an anti-free market plan that costs too much — and that when it comes to emissions, the cure could be worse than the disease.
How the debate ends could have profound implications for Detroit automakers and their rivals, who all generally agree that the road to an electrified fleet should be paved in part by government subsidies to speed consumer adoption. Derailing the Biden push could make that transition slower.
“While EVs are branded carbon-free or emission-free, that is simply not the case. The electricity comes from somewhere, and that somewhere is predominantly power plants that are reliant on fossil fuels,” Rep. John Rutherford, R-Fla., told Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg in one such exchange during an April committee hearing.