By David Shepardson
WASHINGTON (Reuters) -U.S. President Joe Biden plans to visit a Ford Motor electric vehicle manufacturing facility in Michigan next week as he makes a push for a $174 billion government boost for electric vehicles and charging stations.
The following day, Ford is set to unveil its electric F-150 pickup dubbed the F-150 Lightning at an event. The F-150 is the best-selling U.S. vehicle and the EV version’s success is crucial to U.S. efforts to shift the vehicle fleet away from internal combustion engines.
Ford spokeswoman Melissa Miller said the second-largest U.S. automaker was honored to host Biden at its Ford Rouge complex in Dearborn on May 18. She called the EV F-150 “a milestone in our country’s transition to cleaner transportation.”
A dozen governors and many U.S. lawmakers have urged Biden to endorse banning new passenger gasoline-powered vehicle sales by 2035, following California’s lead — a step he has declined to take.
The United Auto Workers union is worried about the impact of the shift to EVs on U.S. jobs.
“When autoworkers hear about zero emission by a certain date they get very uncomfortable because they feel it’s a challenge to their very employment,” UAW President Rory Gamble told Reuters last month.
Biden’s $174 billion EV proposal includes $100 billion in new consumer rebates.
The UAW wants Biden to limit EV incentives to U.S.-built vehicles.
General Motors announced last month it would invest $1 billion in its Mexico operations and begin building EVs there in 2023, drawing criticism from the UAW and Michigan lawmakers.
GM noted it has announced almost “9,000 jobs and more than $9 billion in new U.S. electric vehicle or battery cell manufacturing facilities.”
In March, the UAW criticized Ford Motor’s plan to build a new vehicle in Mexico rather than at an Ohio plant. Ford said in November it was planning to build an additional EV at its plant in Cuautitlan, Mexico, where it builds the Mustang Mach-E.
Automotive News reported Ford had been considering building EVs in Ohio and instead decided to assemble them in Mexico.
(Reporting by David Shepardson; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Andrea Ricci)