Rhetoric vs. Reality: The Truth About Electric Vehicles

Donald Trump and other Republicans continue to spread lies and misinformation about electric vehicles (EVs) and the Made in America clean energy boom that has been unleashed thanks to President Biden’s affordable clean energy plan. As usual, the reality is very different from Republican rhetoric. 

Republican Rhetoric: Joe Biden is forcing everyone to buy an EV.

  • Reality: President Biden has not proposed banning gas-powered cars, and no federal law or regulation mandates EVs for consumers. No one is forced to buy an EV. In fact, surging consumer demand for EVs means that auto companies are already building far more EVs than are needed to comply with any state or federal climate pollution standards. For many years to come, the vast majority of new vehicles sold in the U.S. will continue to be gas-powered. 

Republican Rhetoric: EVs will be “automatically” made in China.

  • Reality: Already, the majority (57%) of plug-in EVs sold in the United States use battery cells and battery packs that were produced in the United States. And in the first quarter of 2023, North American factories manufactured 39% more EVs than they did in the first quarter of 2022 as clean energy manufacturing incentives from the Inflation Reduction Act went into effect. Since the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act, dozens of companies have announced plans to manufacture EV battery components on American soil. EV sales and the percentage of EVs and batteries manufactured in the U.S. are expected to continue growing at a rapid pace.

    The Inflation Reduction Act’s stringent Made in America requirements are bringing whole industries and supply chains back to the U.S. and our closest trading partners. The clean energy plan is specifically designed to eliminate our reliance on China for EV batteries and other components.

    Ironically, eliminating the clean energy plan, as Donald Trump and other Republicans have pledged to do, will only benefit China at the expense of American workers and consumers.  

Republican Rhetoric: EV tax credits are going to China. 

  • Reality: The Inflation Reduction Act includes stringent content requirements for batteries and other components – and requires that EVs be assembled in North America to qualify for consumer tax credits for new vehicles. This is causing a massive surge of investment that is creating a Made in America supply chain to build EVs and their components here in the U.S.

    Ironically, eliminating the clean energy plan, as Donald Trump and other Republicans have pledged to do, will only benefit China at the expense of American workers and consumers.  

Republican Rhetoric: EVs are bad for American auto workers.

  • Reality: The UAW supports moving toward EVs, and doing so can and must be a win for workers, the auto industry, and consumers alike. Michigan is leading all other states in the nation’s clean energy boom, with 24 new projects announced since the Inflation Reduction Act was passed just over a year ago. Clean energy investments have already spurred $21.03 billion in investment and helped create or move forward over 15,800 good-paying clean energy jobs in the state. Overall, the clean energy boom is creating new opportunities for workers in states all across the country.  

Republican Rhetoric: EVs make us more dependent on China. 

  • Reality: The purpose of the clean energy plan is to create a Made in America clean energy boom, and the results speak for themselves: since the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act, dozens of companies have announced plans to manufacture EV battery components on American soil. Over 170,000 new American clean energy jobs and over $278 billion in new clean energy investments have been announced since the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act, including over 32,000 new electric vehicle jobs and over 92,000 new battery jobs.

    The clean energy plan is specifically designed to eliminate our reliance on China for EV batteries and other components. Ironically, eliminating the clean energy plan, as Donald Trump and other Republicans have pledged to do, will only benefit China at the expense of American workers and consumers. 

    Notably, the oil and gas industry relies heavily on components from China, including barite and steel, tying the United States to supply chains in China as long as we rely on oil and gas. 

Republican Rhetoric: EVs are only for rich people.

  • Reality: Many EVs cost less than the average price of a new gas-powered vehicle. As domestic EV production ramps up, prices will continue to fall, and the clean energy plan’s tax credits make a variety of EVs affordable for middle-class families. EVs will become even more accessible to American families as the used-car market grows – more than 70% of car sales in the U.S. are pre-owned vehicles.

    EVs that can be purchased today will provide lifetime cost savings of up to $18,440. EVs require very little maintenance, and you’ll never have to pay for a tank of gas ever again. 

The clean energy plan includes strict income caps to make sure the wealthy are unable to claim the tax credit for new vehicles. The most expensive EVs are also ineligible for the new vehicle credit. 

Republican Rhetoric: EVs don’t have enough range.

  • Reality:  EVs have more than enough range for everyone’s day-to-day needs both at home and further afield, whether for vacation, a work trip, or anything else: 
  • There are many EVs that provide more than 200 miles of range per charge, and at least 18 models that have driving ranges above 300 miles.
  • The average American only traveled 39 miles per day in 2019 (pre-COVID); rural Americans traveled further at 48.6 miles per day.

Thanks to the clean energy plan, America’s charging infrastructure is getting better every day, whether you live in rural America, a big city, or anywhere in between.

Republican Rhetoric: EVs catch on fire all of the time. 

Republican Rhetoric: EVs will destroy the electric grid.

  • Reality:  Additional EVs will not harm the grid. In the next few years, EVs will increase power demand only slightly, and, in reality, EVs – which are a highly flexible source of electric load –  actually have the ability to improve, not degrade, power grid performance.   

Real-world evidence from states with a large number of EVs has demonstrated that EVs reduce electricity cost for all ratepayers, not just those who own EVs. This is because they help spread out the fixed cost of maintaining the electric system over a larger volume of electricity sales.