Biden touts shift to electric vehicles at Detroit car show

President announces approval of first $900m in funding to build EV charging stations in 35 US states

US President Joe Biden gets behind the wheel of a Chevrolet Corvette z06 as he tours the Detroit auto show in Michigan. AFP
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US President Joe Biden on Wednesday highlighted car makers' shift to electric vehicles and investment in battery plants as he toured the Detroit car show in Michigan, sometimes jumping behind the wheel of a vehicle on display.

“You all know I’m a car guy,” Mr Biden told a crowd of car workers. He said cars “just give me a sense of optimism — although I like the speed, too".

Mr Biden's trip to the largest car show event in North America is part of an effort to refocus voter attention on the progress the nation is making on electric vehicles.

“We're choosing to build a better America, an America that is confronting the climate crisis, with America's workers leading the way,” he said.

Mr Biden announced the approval of the first $900 million in US funding to build EV charging stations in 35 states as part of a $1 trillion infrastructure law approved last November.

Detroit's Big Three car makers are showing off new EVs at the car show.

Mr Biden and Congress have pledged billions of dollars in loans and other financial assistance to move from internal combustion vehicles to EVs.

Vietnamese car maker VinFast previously announced it would build factories in North Carolina, while Hyundai announced battery and assembly plants to be built in the state of Georgia.

Honda and Toyota also announced battery plants.

Mr Biden set a goal in 2021 that electric vehicles or plug-in hybrids would represent half of all new US vehicle sales by 2030.

“A great American road trip is going to be fully electrified,” he said.

Mr Biden viewed the new electric Ford Mustang Mach-E with Ford executive chairman Bill Ford.

“It's amazing, the speed,” Mr Biden said. “Does it have a launch button?”

He also got behind the wheel of a Cadillac Lyriq all-electric SUV, the price for which starts at $63,000.

Agencies contributed to this report

Updated: September 14, 2022, 10:40 PM