President Biden has committed to replacing the U.S. government’s fleet of cars, trucks and SUVs with American-built electric vehicles, a move that could cost upwards of $20 billion.
Speaking to media on Monday, Biden said the federal government “owns an enormous fleet of vehicles, which we’re going to replace with clean electric vehicles made right here in America made by American workers.” The government has roughly 645,000 vehicles in its fleet, Reuters reports, with just 3,215 of those being EVs.
President Biden hinted his administration would make such a move on the campaign trail, at the time saying he planned to “make a major federal commitment to purchase clean vehicles for federal, state, tribal, postal, and local fleets.”
The president also outlined a new executive order taking aim at rules that allow for vehicles to be considered American-made for federal fleet purchases even if the steel, glass or other key components were made abroad. A large number of parts for virtually all modern-day ICE vehicles and EVs are made outside of the U.S., like the microchips that have caused significant production delays across the entire industry, for example. These microchips are often made by China-based suppliers.
If Biden were to take aim at foreign-made vehicles for federal purchases, General Motors’ new BrightDrop EV600 could be ruled out for any federal fleet purchases, as the electric delivery van will be built at the GM CAMI plant in Canada.
The White House did not immediately respond to media inquiries regarding when the Biden administration planned to begin replacing the federal fleet with electric vehicles, or how long it might take to replace all 645,000 vehicles with EVs.
The president said the transformation of the federal fleet would represent “the largest mobilization of public investment in procurement infrastructure and R&D since World War Two,” and would help create more American jobs in the automotive manufacturing sector. In a subsequent statement, GM said it is “encouraged by President Biden’s commitment to supporting American manufacturing.”
President Biden also said this week the federal government would build 550,000 EV charging stations in the U.S. to help facilitate the incoming shift to battery-powered vehicles.