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Biden’s 2030 electric vehicle sales goal unrealistic, says former executive at GM, Ford and Chrysler: ‘The American public is not ready’

By Jake Beardslee · February 15, 2024

In brief…

  • Former auto executive Bob Lutz doubts Biden can achieve 50% EV sales by 2030.
  • Lutz believes only 10-12% of car buyers want EVs right now.
  • He thinks the government is pushing EVs faster than infrastructure and public demand allow.
  • Lutz encourages considering EVs but notes limitations like range for long trips.
A former auto executive doubts the feasibility of President Biden's goal for 50% of new car sales to be electric by 2030, arguing the push for EVs is ahead of public demand and infrastructure capabilities.  Ed Schipul/Wikimedia

President Biden has made transitioning to electric vehicles (EVs) a priority, with a goal for 50% of new car sales to be electric by 2030. But a longtime auto industry leader is skeptical about the feasibility of Biden’s ambitious EV timeline.

Bob Lutz, former executive at GM, Ford and Chrysler, said in a recent interview that government fuel economy rules are forcing automakers to push electrification before the public and infrastructure are ready.

“The regulation is way ahead of the public,” Lutz said. “The American public is not ready for the broad adoption of electric vehicles.”

Lutz believes only 10-12% of car buyers truly want an EV right now. Since Biden took office, EV sales have tripled and available models have doubled. But Lutz thinks automakers will still have to make gas-powered cars to meet demand.

The EPA recently proposed emission cuts designed to accelerate EVs to 67% of new car sales by 2032. But Lutz insists, “This transition by 2030 is just not going to happen.”

He believes the government will have to repeatedly push back deadlines to let automakers, the energy industry and consumers catch up. “If it’s an authoritarian government like China, they’ll just say: ‘You either buy an electric vehicle or you buy no vehicle at all.’ Well, that may work in China but it’s not going to work in the United States. Or Europe,” Lutz said.

While doubtful about the political rhetoric around EVs, Lutz encourages people to consider them, citing benefits like lower operating costs. But he notes EVs still have limitations like range that make them impractical for some drivers.

The auto industry veteran thinks there’s a long road ahead before EVs can fully replace gas-powered cars in America’s garages.