One of President Joe Biden’s first acts as president was to sign a “Buy American” executive order that seeks to overhaul the federal government’s fleet of cars and trucks with electric vehicles (EVs) assembled in the U.S. And the U.S. Postal Service in February announced a new 10-year contract to overhaul its delivery truck fleet with a mix of EVs and traditional vehicles.
Replacing the government’s gas and diesel vehicles is a laudable goal, and one that could be a boon to the automotive industry. Indeed, just days after Biden’s announcement, American automaker General Motors announced its alignment with the president’s policy and declared that its fleet of vehicles would be all-electric by 2035.
Even a few years ago, such a decisive and rapid move by an American auto company would have been hard to imagine. After all, it took until 2019 for the country’s most successful and recognizable EV company, Tesla, to turn an annual profit. But as more companies recognize sustainability as a crucial component of future success, we are likely to see others follow suit.
And they will have pressure and incentives from governments, as well. Here in Colorado, we adopted a zero-emission vehicle rule in 2019 to promote clean transportation. And countries around the world are setting climate goals, many of them citing 2050 as the target date to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions. Candidate Joe Biden pledged the U.S. would meet that same mid-century goal and reiterated that pledge from the White House in January.
While Biden’s plan is still light on details, there is a smart way to approach vehicle electrification in this country that goes beyond just the government fleet.
When it comes to EVs, most Americans think of battery electric vehicles (BEVs) that are charged overnight in your garage or in the Whole Foods parking lot while you shop. But fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs) that run on hydrogen must be part of any net-zero emissions goals.
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