Automakers urge incoming Biden Administration for tax credit, incentives to boost R&D into self driving cars, EVs

On Tuesday, Alliance for Automotive Innovation, a major automotive trade association urged U.S. policymakers to back support for electric vehicles (EV), including new incentives to boost up consumer purchases, as well as research and development.

U.S. President-elect Joe Biden has made boosting electric vehicles a top priority and has pledged to build 550,000 new EV charging stations. He has also shown support for new tax credits to boost consumer purchase and retrofitting factories for producing EVs.

The Alliance for Automotive Innovation, represents Volkswagen AG, Ford Motor Co, General Motors Co, Toyota Motor Corp, and nearly every major automaker. In its report released on Tuesday, it called for a series of steps to boost the EV market and to revamp regulatory oversight of self-driving vehicles.

In an interview, the group’s chief executive, John Bozzella, said “the future of the industry” is at stake while calling for increased investments in electric and self-driving vehicles.

The technologies “will redefine motor vehicle transportation for decades,” said the alliance in its report.

While the U.S. Congress has debated legislation to ramp up the adoption of self-driving vehicles, and debated new incentives for EVs, but has yet to approve either.

Automakers are likely to face significantly tougher emissions rules under the Biden Administration with the industry split over whether to continue backing President Donald Trump’s efforts to bar California from setting vehicle emissions rules. In September, California Governor Gavin Newsom had said he wants the state to bar the sale of new gasoline-powered passenger vehicles by 2035.

Automakers invest around $26 billion annually in research and development in the United States.

In its report, the alliance has backed “enhancing R&D incentives over the next 3-5 years” and “facilitating and expanding access to capital to support” the industry’s transformation over that period.

Automakers also back new incentives to transition factories to building cleaner vehicle technologies.

The group also noted that Beijing “has already established EV battery supply chain and manufacturing dominance” and noted China is also moving aggressively to develop automated vehicles.

 “We can own the electric vehicle market — building 550,000 charging stations — and creating over a million good jobs here at home — with the federal government investing more in clean energy research,” said Biden.

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