Energy Secretary Granholm, touring GM EV plant, touts Biden goal

DETROIT — Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm touted President Joe Biden’s ambitious goal — half of all vehicles sold in the U.S. will be emissions-free by the end of the decade — as she toured General Motors’ electric vehicle assembly plant here Thursday.

“We’ve got the Detroit 3 at the White House, and we’re here showing exactly what they’re talking about,” Granholm said, referring to the CEOs of GM and Ford, and the COO of Stellantis’ North America unit, who joined Biden on the South Lawn of the White House for Thursday’s announcement.

Factory Zero, formerly called Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly, will soon begin building GM’s next generation of EVs, starting with the GMC Hummer pickup this year. GM also plans to build the electric Chevrolet Silverado, GMC Hummer SUV and Cruise Origin at the plant. All of the EVs will be powered by GM’s proprietary Ultium batteries, which can offer a range of more than 400 miles on a full charge, GM estimates.

“The environmental community really wants to see a really robust commitment to clean energy,” said Granholm, a former Michigan governor. “The president has put on the table 100 percent clean electricity by 2035. [Biden] is going big on this, and he’s investing big.”

Biden’s actions will put the U.S. in a leading position in combating climate change, she said.

Part of Biden’s agenda includes consumer rebates at the point of sale to shift more buyers into an electric vehicle vs. a traditional gasoline-powered vehicle.

“They don’t have to file something, go back and try to reclaim money,” said Granholm. “That’s what you want to do … have the purchaser feel like there’s no difference between an internal combustion engine and an electric vehicle.”

Major automakers, including GM, supported Biden’s goal, which is nonbinding. GM has said it aspires to launch an all-electric light-vehicle lineup by 2035. It plans to launch 30 EVs globally through 2025.

“We are pleased to join in today’s joint statement of a shared aspiration of achieving 40-50 percent of annual U.S. sales volumes of electric vehicles by 2030,” GM said in a statement. “For GM, that means battery electric vehicles. To reach the high end of this range, we will continue to work with the Biden Administration, Congress, and state and local governments for implementation of supportive policies for the benefit of our workforce, our dealers, our customers and their communities.”

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