Michael Flanagan on Consequences of a Forced Transition to Electric Vehicles

This week, former U.S. representative from Illinois, Michael Flanagan, penned a column in Automotive News discussing the potential dire consequences of President Biden’s electric vehicle policies on America’s electrical grid security and reliability. Through new EPA rulemaking, the Biden administration has tightened tailpipe emissions standards for car manufacturers. This would essentially force them to produce more electric vehicles – even if the market demand is not there. This move will not only “limit consumer choice” but likely will outstrip the pace of supporting infrastructure like charging stations and – vitally – electric power generation.

California has passed even more stringent EV requirements. A rule passed by the California Air Resources Board in 2022 would require 68 percent of vehicles to be electric by 2030. This contrasted with requests from the entity managing the state’s power grid that residents limit their EV charging because, as Flanagan writes, “The strain on the grid was almost too much.” Expanding the electrical grid to meet EV demands comes at a steep cost. Flanigan cited that in California alone, it’s estimated that the state “will have to spend as much as $50 billion by 2035 on grid upgrades to meet burgeoning EV demand.” This staggering figure underscores the financial burden that these policies could impose.

Flanagan’s piece also focuses on issues with the electric vehicle supply chain and the strong reliance on China for the materials used to make EVs. He writes, “China is in control of 60 percent of the world’s production of rare-earth minerals. Even Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm has said she was ‘very concerned’ about China’s control of the critical mineral supply chain. This reliance on a single country for such crucial materials raises serious geopolitical concerns and underscores the need for a diversified supply chain.

Flanigan concludes that when it comes to President Biden’s EV pipedream, “Ideology cannot trump real science or even simple logic.” Instead of advancing policies that will force a rushed transition, the president should focus on reducing China’s dominance over the supply chain and expanding U.S. energy production to support our electrical grid.

Read the full column here.

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