The Biden administration on Monday announced a new $3.1 billion plan to ramp up electric vehicle battery production in the U.S. The effort comes as supply constraints have hindered automakers’ ability to secure EV battery components—potentially slowing down the administration’s goal of having zero-emission cars make up 50% of automotive market share by 2030.
The grant money, which will be funded through the administration’s $1 trillion infrastructure plan, focuses on expanding the U.S.’s domestic battery manufacturing and recycling capacity. The announcement arrives at a time when energy independence and our reliance on fossil fuels is at the forefront of American consciousness due to soaring gas prices. Meanwhile, automakers like Rivian have expressed fears they won’t be able to procure the materials needed to expand EV production, due to supply chain constraints brought about by both the pandemic and Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Geological surveys suggest that the U.S. has sufficient reserves of many of the critical minerals and components necessary to create a domestic supply chain for electric batteries. The $3.1 billion in funding aims to “support the creation of new, retrofitted and expanded commercial facilities” with the goal of reducing the U.S.’s dependence on foreign battery suppliers, the Department of Energy said. In the same vein, the plan also includes an additional $60 million to support battery recycling facilities, which would allow for the recovery and reuse of valuable components like nickel, cobalt and lithium.
For electric automakers—including Southern California-based players including Rivian, Fisker, Faraday Future and Mullen—the new funding provides further backing from an administration that has tried to prioritize EVs, despite opposition from some members of the president’s own party like West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin. The Biden infrastructure plan also included $7.5 billion to build out a national network of EV chargers, though some observers believe that figure to be too small to meet the nation’s EV charging needs.
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