A report released on Dec 15 by the Alliance for Automotive Innovation calls on the government to increase support for both the manufacturing and ownership cycle of electric vehicles. The report from the nation’s top auto lobbying group, simply titled Auto Innovation Agenda, encourages legislators to act swiftly to “remain a leader in the development and adoption of these transformational technologies”.

The AAI’s report states, “We are on the cusp of a transformative moment for the automotive industry in the United States. Through substantial, long-term investments in electrification, as well as advanced safety technologies, including automation, the industry has committed to creating a cleaner, safer, and smarter future for personal mobility. Due to intense global competition, the U.S. must recommit itself to developing these innovative technologies — supported by complementary legislative and regulatory policies — that will redefine motor vehicle transportation for decades.

The Auto Innovation Agenda puts forth an outline that endeavors to bring everyone to the table with the goal of structuring a plan going forward. 

Research and Manufacturing Recommendations 

Tuesday’s report highlights four tenets to establish the US as a leader in the EV industry. At the forefront, it recommends that the nation makes massive inroads into research and development with new incentives over the next three to five years as well as providing access to funding to transform the industry. It also calls for less export control that could reduce American competitiveness worldwide.

As well, it encourages less red tape for approvals in Automated Vehicles and revamping the NHTSA’s New Car Assessment Program. It’s seen as crucial to incentivize local businesses to retool for EV tech and to retrain the current workforce and attract new staff into the field. 

Implementation and Retailing Proposals 

For auto retail, the intentions are clearer. The report points out that IHS Markit has predicted as many as 130 EV models available on American soil by 2026 but currently, only 2% of new vehicles sold are ZEVs. To encourage better adoption, electrified options need to be much closer to cost parity with traditional ICE vehicles. 

Four leading points have been identified for the implementation and retailing of EVs:  

  • Incentives for the consumerCurrent tax credits for the consumer at the federal level are up to $7,500. Chevrolet and Tesla have reached the threshold of 200,000 units sold, so new EVs from those stables no longer qualify for the federal rebate. To make EVs affordable for all, AAI is lobbying for extended incentives across all automakers. 
  • Adding charging infrastructure. As range anxiety is one of the leading concerns for EV adoption, the group suggests that funding for charging networks and upgrades to the grid be addressed across all levels of government.  
  • Establishing building codes. Since as much as 80% of vehicle charging occurs at home, AAI deems it necessary to ensure building codes account for EV usage rather than requiring owners to retrofit devices into their home. 
  • Being forerunners. To lead by example, government agencies can build their vehicle fleets with more efficient EVs. It acclimatizes Americans to seeing electrified cars on the roads, gives government employees an opportunity to experience the tech, and expands awareness. 

As America’s largest automotive lobbying group, it’s evident by their efforts that electrification is pushing forward from its current 2% annual sales to a much higher level. $250 billion is being invested in EVs by 2023 with more than triple the current model availability. Dealers should be preparing to adapt their own infrastructure and techniques to reflect the coming changes. 

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