In a second letter to President Joe Biden within a span of two months, a substantial coalition comprising around 4,700 dealerships across all 50 states is urging the President to exercise caution regarding the proposed Electric Vehicle Mandate. The dealers argue that the infrastructure is not adequately prepared for a fully electric future.
The initial letter, signed by 3,882 dealerships in November 2023, went unanswered by the Biden administration. In response, an expanded group of dealers, totaling nearly 5,000, has now expressed their opposition to what they deem a “completely unrealistic” mandate.
The primary concern of the coalition revolves around the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) proposed vehicle emissions standards for the 2027-2032 model years. The proposal aims for a 60% market share of new battery electric vehicle sales in the U.S. by the 2030 model year, with an additional increase to 67% by 2032. This move contrasts with stricter measures in other regions like Europe, where legislation aims to prohibit the sale of new gas- and diesel-powered vehicles from 2035 onwards.
The latest letter highlights several ongoing concerns related to electric vehicle (EV) ownership. Dealers criticize the high cost of EVs, emphasizing that many are currently ineligible for tax credits. Additionally, reservations are expressed about the practicality of EVs in cold-weather conditions, and the public charging network is deemed ‘woefully inadequate' for those without home charging options. The dealers propose waiting for the battery supply chain to mature beyond China's control before fully embracing an EV future.
Mickey Anderson, CEO of Baxter Auto Group, leading the coalition, stated, “The unfortunate aspect of this situation is that if manufacturers had the freedom to produce the vehicles that align with current customer preferences, we would witness a much higher demand for plug-in EVs and hybrids.”
The National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) has also criticized the EPA's proposal, asserting that it is progressing ‘too quickly, too soon.' Jonathan Collegio, NADA's Senior Vice President of Public Affairs, emphasized the need for regulators to adopt a “more practical and consumer-friendly approach to the adoption of EVs.”
In response to the criticism, a White House spokesperson issued a statement to Automotive News, stating, “Every day, more Americans are choosing EVs, and EV sales are outpacing traditional gas-powered cars. This trend is aided by the President's Inflation Reduction Act, which not only makes EVs more affordable but also enables Americans to save money while driving.”
Meanwhile, an EPA spokesperson declined to provide further comments on the draft rule, citing its ongoing review.