Transitioning to electric vehicles is a key part of Biden’s $4 trillion economic agenda, and Ford’s rollout of an electric version of America’s most popular vehicle is an important milestone.,


Continue reading the main story

Biden will promote his infrastructure plan alongside Ford’s new electric F-150 truck.

President Biden traveled to Michigan to promote the idea that a transition to electric vehicles can create high-paying union jobs and help the United States compete with China.Credit…Doug Mills/The New York Times

May 18, 2021, 8:41 a.m. ET

President Biden traveled to Michigan on Tuesday to visit the factory where Ford will produce the first electric version of its signature F-150 pickup truck, seeking to harness the horsepower of an American icon as he continues to make the case for his $4 trillion economic agenda.

Mr. Biden’s remarks at the Ford Rouge Electric Vehicle Center are expected to center on the hundreds of billions of dollars for domestic manufacturing, electric vehicle deployment and research into emerging technologies like advanced batteries that are included in the first half of his two-part economic agenda.

In a state that helped deliver the White House to Mr. Biden last year, after going for former President Donald J. Trump in 2016, the president will pitch the idea that a transition to electric vehicles can position the United States to beat out China in the global automotive market, while creating high-paying union jobs. He will do so flanked by trucks from the best-selling vehicle line in the country.

Negotiations over a possible bipartisan economic package in Washington — centered on new spending for roads, transit and broadband internet — will continue on Capitol Hill even as the president is away. A group of administration officials, including Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg and Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo, will meet with Republicans on Tuesday, the White House press secretary, Jen Psaki, told reporters.

“Certainly, the president’s trip to Michigan will be on the minds of people on our end,” Ms. Psaki said.

The Republicans are expected to give the administration their updated counteroffer to Mr. Biden’s infrastructure proposal. Their plan will be significantly smaller than Mr. Biden’s, and won’t be paid for by raising taxes on corporations, as Mr. Biden has proposed.

The $2.3 trillion American Jobs Plan, as Mr. Biden calls it, focuses heavily on physical infrastructure and federal spending meant to drive the transition to an economy that relies less on fossil fuels, in order to combat climate change. The plan includes tax incentives to purchase low-emission vehicles, an effort to convert one-fifth of the nation’s school bus fleet to electric power, money to build 500,000 electric charging stations across the country and a wide range of other spending meant to encourage research, production and deployment of electric vehicles and their component parts.

The arrival of an electric F-150 is an important milestone in the auto industry’s transition to EVs. So far, only Tesla has sold electric models in high volume, but Ford’s F-Series trucks make up the top-selling vehicle line in the United States. Ford typically sells about 900,000 F-Series vehicles a year.

Earlier this year, Ford began selling the Mustang Mach E, a battery-powered sport-utility vehicle styled to resemble the company’s famous sports car.

“We’re not just electrifying fringe vehicles,” the company’s chairman, William C. Ford Jr., said. “The Mustang and the F-150 are the heart of what Ford is, so this is a signal about how serious we are about electrification. This really showcases where the industry can go and should go.”

Details about the full capability, battery range and price of the F-150 Lightning will be released Wednesday evening.

Autoworkers have expressed concerns over the electric transition, which American automakers are increasingly embracing, because the production of an electric vehicle requires about one-third less human labor than the making of a vehicle powered by an internal combustion engine.

Mike Ramsey, a Gartner analyst, said electrifying the top-selling vehicle in the U.S. market could help accelerate the adoption of electric vehicles. “If this truck is successful, it means you can sell an electric version of any vehicle,” he said. “It could be the domino that tumbles over the rest of the market for E.V.s.”

Even if the F-150 Lightning accounts for only a small percentage of total F-Series sales, it would likely become one of the top-selling electric vehicles in the United States. Last year, for example, sales of the Chevrolet Bolt, made by General Motors, totaled just over 20,000 cars.