Tesla, Uber, Rivian, Lucid Motors, and others have joined forces to create a new lobbying group for electric vehicles on Capitol Hill. The group, which is called the Zero Emission Transportation Association (ZETA), says its mission is that 100 percent of new car sales are electric by 2030.
Some states are already moving in that direction. California recently announced its plans to ban the sale of combustion-engine vehicles by 2035. New Jersey has said it is interested in doing the same. However, the new industry group won’t push states to require its residents to only purchase EVs, but rather it supports policies to incentivize their sale.
One of its five missions outlined in its announcement is “point-of-sale consumer incentives.” In other words, the group will likely push for the extension of the federal government’s $7,500 federal tax credit for new EV purchases. The tax credit was created under President Barack Obama in 2009.
ZETA will also push for infrastructure improvements, such as EV charging stations, and emissions standards to help push more customers to electric cars. The group supports policies that help electric vehicle manufacturers scale their operations.
ZETA is likely to have an easier time pushing its agenda under President-elect Joe Biden than Donald Trump. While Trump claimed to support electric cars on several occasions, his administration tried to end the federal EV tax credit in its 2020 budget proposal but was not successful. Also under Trump, the Environmental Protection Agency rolled back Obama-era emissions rules aimed at forcing the auto industry to manufacture less-polluting vehicles.
One of Biden’s goals is to create 1 million new jobs in the auto sector and to “position America to be the global leader in the manufacture of electric vehicles and their input materials and parts.” He wants the federal government to swap all the combustion-engine vehicles in its fleet with electric ones. And he supports Senate Democrats’ “cash-for-clunkers”-style plan to ensure that every vehicle on the road is zero-emission by 2040.
The group is comprised of established players like Tesla and Uber; startups like Rivian, Lucid, and Lordstown; raw materials companies like Piedmont Lithium; and utilities like Southern Company, PG&E, Duke Energy, Con Edison, and Salt River Project. A full list of the group’s 28 members can be found here.
Notably absent from this list are any legacy automakers. US-based auto manufacturers are pouring billions of dollars into electrification plans but typically lobby lawmakers and administration officials through their own channels. But that can run counter to the push for zero-emissions transportation. For example, the Alliance for Automotive Innovation, which is backed by all the major car companies, tried to play both sides in the Trump administration’s fight with California over the state’s stricter emissions rules.