(WASHNGTON) — Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm can relate to Americans’ anxiety over electric vehicles.
The former governor of Michigan and longtime EV owner (who currently drives a Ford Mach-E) says she has experienced her own challenges with public charging on road trips. She has heard from drivers who are reluctant to give up their eight-cylinder engines and large trucks and SUVs for an electric model. But she is convinced that more Americans will soon realize the benefits of owning one, helping to change the current anti-EV rhetoric in this country.
“The Ford F-150 is a great example of a big car that has gone electric. But people have to make their own decisions,” Granholm told ABC News in an interview Thursday. “I get it — nobody is gonna force anybody to make these decisions. I honestly think … as the price of the electric vehicle comes down, and it has dropped 23% year-over-year, and the price of operating the car and not having to go to the gas station and being able to ‘fill it up’ for much less and more conveniently, honestly, I think it’s going to sell itself.”
She added, “People love their cars. And I think they’ll love their EVs, too.”
Tesla, which commands 56% of the U.S. electric vehicle market, has largely been responsible for the boost in EV sales, which hit a record of nearly 1.2 million units in 2023. According to data from Edmunds, the average transaction price of a new EV last December was $62,526 versus the industry average of $48,408.
Tesla on Wednesday said it sold 1.8 million vehicles in 2013, a 35% jump from 2022, but warned that sales growth would be “notably” slower this year. The carmaker has slashed prices on its popular Model 3 and Model 7 models to maintain its market share. The company’s shares tanked on Thursday even with the announcement of a “next generation low-cost vehicle” coming in late 2025.
Electrifying the U.S. auto industry is a top priority for President Joe Biden. The federal government has provided millions of dollars in funding for the expansion of the nation’s public charging infrastructure, including the maintenance of broken or nonfunctioning chargers. Sales of new electric vehicles totaled 7% of the U.S. market in 2023 though Biden’s goal is to reach at least 50% by 2030.
Owning an electric vehicle and supporting the industry’s push to go green eclipses blue state and red state politics, Granholm argued.
She pointed to the thousands of workers in the South who work on assembly lines building electric SUVs and batteries for major automakers like Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Ford, Volkswagen, Volvo and Genesis. Mercedes-Benz, for example, invested $1 billion in a state-of-the-art battery factory in Alabama. Hyundai Motor Group has teamed up with LG Energy Solution on a $4.3 billion electric vehicle battery plant in Georgia.
“All of those factories that I was talking about regarding building electric vehicles and electric vehicle batteries, 60% of them are going into red states. So, you know, people in red states love their EVs, too, and are working at these factories,” Granholm said. “I just think that over time, the political nonsense about it will die down and people’s experience will speak much more loudly.”
She went on, “For those who care about global warming [and] climate change, EVs are a solution for them. For those who care about cost, EVs are a solution for them. For those who care about power, EVs are a solution.”
ABC News’ complete interview with Secretary Granholm will be published on Monday, Jan. 29.
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