In an unprecedented move, nearly 4,000 dealerships across the United States have united to voice their concerns over the rapid shift towards battery-electric vehicles (BEVs). This collective action, culminating in a letter addressed to President Joe Biden, underscores the complexities and challenges of transitioning to an electric vehicle (EV) dominant future.
Firstly, the dealerships are responding to a controversial proposal from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which aims for 60 percent of new-vehicle sales to be battery-powered by the 2030 model year, escalating to 67 percent by 2032. This ambitious target, while aligning with broader environmental goals, has raised significant concerns among these dealerships. They argue that such a rapid transition is outpacing consumer readiness for fully electric vehicles. This concern is not unfounded, as it touches upon several critical issues.
One of the primary challenges highlighted in the letter is the current state of the EV infrastructure, particularly the availability of reliable charging networks. While there have been legislative efforts, such as the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act of 2021 and the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022, which allocate significant federal funding for a national EV charging network, the dealerships stress the need for more time. They point out that the infrastructure is still not robust enough to support a sudden influx of EVs.
Moreover, the letter emphasizes the issue of vehicle affordability and the persistent problem of range anxiety among potential EV adopters. These are valid concerns, as the cost of EVs remains a barrier for many consumers, and the fear of running out of charge without access to a charging station is a real deterrent.
Interestingly, the dealerships are not against the transition to electric vehicles per se. They acknowledge that “these vehicles are ideal for many people, and we believe their appeal will grow over time.” However, they highlight a critical gap between the current demand for electric vehicles and the supply being pushed onto the market due to the regulations. This mismatch is evident in the accumulation of BEVs on dealership lots, indicating that the market is not absorbing these vehicles as quickly as anticipated.
The letter, spearheaded by Mickey Anderson, CEO of Baxter Auto Group, also brings to light the absence of the consumer’s voice in the ongoing conversation surrounding the EV transition. Anderson emphasizes that this issue is becoming overly politicized and insists that the focus should be on the American consumer. He initiated the signature-gathering process in early November, aiming to ensure that the voices of dealers and customers alike are considered in the ongoing policy discussions.
In conclusion, the dealerships’ plea to President Biden is a call for a more measured and consumer-focused approach to the EV transition. They suggest allowing additional time for advancements in battery technology, increased affordability of EVs, and the expansion of the charging infrastructure. This approach, they argue, would better serve the interests of consumers and ensure a smoother transition to a future dominated by electric vehicles. The full list of dealerships that endorsed the letter can be found at the source link provided.