General Motors CEO Mary Trump threw President Trump under the electric car on Monday, announcing in a letter to environmental groups that GM no longer supports the Trump administration’s struggle in California to eliminate its own clean air standards, and signaled that the carmaker is ready is at work. Joe Biden is elected president on climate policy.
“President-elect Biden recently said,‘ I think we can re-own the 21st century car market by switching to electric vehicles. ’We, General Motors, couldn’t agree more,” Barra wrote. “We believe the ambitious electrification goals of the president-elect, California and General Motors, are in line with tackling climate change by drastically reducing car emissions.” GM announced last week that it is testing a new battery chemistry test that should lead electric vehicles to the same price range as gas-powered ones within five years.
Barra has called on Toyota, Fiat-Chrysler and 10 smaller carmakers alongside Trump to turn their side as well, and Toyota says it is “assessing the situation” and mostly wants uniform fuel standards in all 50 states.
“GM’s maneuvering was a public humiliation before Mr. Trump” The New York Times reports. “Barra gave no warning to the administration, but spoke on the phone Monday with Mary Nichols, California’s chief climate regulator and architect of Obama-era fuel consumption rules.” Two people know Barra’s thinking Times his actions were clearly driven by the outcome of the presidential race, but “nonetheless, the way he did this shocked analysts.”
When Trump took office, he reversed President Barack Obama’s national fuel standards, lowering the target from 54.5 mpg to 40 miles by 2025. California then quietly made an agreement with Honda, Ford, Volkswagen, BMW and Volvo to reach 51 mpg by 2026, angering Trump, who moved in September 2019 to withdraw California’s unique ability, to set its own exhaust emission standards. GM and its allied automakers sided with Trump when environmental groups sued the move. The 51 mpg compromise “can now be seen as an expected model for a new Biden-era fuel economy rule.” Times reports.
“This huge scenario, which follows election results so closely, especially from a company like General Motors, is a big deal,” said Barry Rabe, a professor of public policy at the University of Michigan. “This is the first big industrial step towards the next president. Are there epiphany and direction of rotation in other industries?”
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