When it comes to climate change, Cheddar is doing its part to bring awareness and drive home the importance of making everyday changes in order to protect the planet. This week in Cheddar Climate, we're highlighting the automotive industry and the steps its leaders are taking to reduce carbon emissions.
Federal Incentives for EV Production
President Joe Biden is heading up efforts to slash the country's carbon footprint and to do so, he plans to bolster incentives for consumers looking to purchase an electric vehicle. Last year, just under 300,000 electric cars were sold in the U.S. but according to Tim Stevens, editor-in-chief at the Roadshow, that number would likely surge if more people were confident about being able to "fuel" their vehicle.
"One of the big things is chargers. A lot of people are concerned about moving over to buying an electric car because they feel that they won't have anywhere to plug it in. You can get gas in pretty much any corner in the U.S., but you can't recharge your battery as easily," Stevens told Cheddar.
To quash charging concerns, Biden proposed a $2 trillion plan to install half-a-million charging stations nationwide. As it currently stands, automakers can only provide those incentives in the form of tax credits for up to 200,000 sales, but Biden wants to raise that threshold to 600,000.
According to Stevens, to boost the production of electric vehicles and ultimately reach zero carbon emission, manufacturers should also be incentivized for building factories dedicated to EV production.
BMW Bets on Aluminum to Slash Emissions
BMW, meanwhile, is moving forward with steps to expand its fleet of electric vehicles and recently inked a deal with UAE-based Emirates Global Aluminum on a deal that provides solar-produced aluminum to the automaker.
The green aluminum, according to BMW's head of sustainability, Nadine Philipp, has saved the company "more than 220,000 tonnes [243,000 tons] of CO2." With the implementation of solar power-produced aluminum, the automaker is on track to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 2.5 million tons.
"We believe that this is key to the future of society, like committing to the Paris Climate Agreement targets. That's a key role, and we are part of this. We have a responsibility there and we have responsibility towards, of course, our own business, our customers, but [also] society," Philipp told Cheddar.
She stated that the impact on the environment has become just as important to the German automaker and its customers as the luxury quality of its vehicles.
Chevrolet Projects 30 EV Models by 2025
As more consumers become aware of the state of the environment, Chevrolet looks to be the go-to EV manufacturer with an ambitious goal of offering 30 different models over the next four years.
To encourage more American purchases, Jesse Ortega, executive chief engineer at Chevrolet, said the company is committed to being both as stylish as consumers want as well as the affordable option for the everyday consumer.
"There's a lot of people that are coming in and they're coming in at different segments but for us, we've got over 2 billion miles of EV use from our customers. We've got 100,000 customers that have purchased our vehicle," he noted.
Much like BMW, Chevy is also feeling pressure from its consumer base to take strides toward tackling climate change as emission reduction takes precedence — while keeping the same level of quality in their rides.
"They are looking for vehicles that allow them to not have to compromise their lifestyle, not compromise how they live, provide them desirable, provide them affordable, and provide them a driving experience that they value," Ortega said.