US President Biden pats GM CEO’s back: “You electrified the entire auto industry. You led.”

Credit: The Wheel Network/YouTube

US President Joe Biden recently visited General Motors’ Factory Zero in Detroit, a site that the veteran automaker notes would be the centerpiece of a massive electric vehicle revolution. Factory Zero has gone through a $2 billion conversion, and it is expected to produce several all-electric cars, starting with the GMC Hummer EV, a hulking zero-emissions pickup truck which, ironically, would (mostly) not be included in the Biden administration’s planned EV tax credit program.

Biden did not hold back on the praise when he addressed his audience at GM’s Factory Zero. Taking careful note to validate the efforts of GM CEO Mary Barra, Biden noted that the executive effectively “electrified the entire automotive industry” because of her leadership. Biden also praised GM for its goal of shifting to an all-electric vehicle lineup by 2035, a timeframe that is, in a lot of ways, quite conservative considering the rise of EV companies like Tesla. 

“In the auto industry, Detroit is leading the world in electric vehicles. You know how critical it is? Mary, I remember talking to you way back in January about the need for America to lead in electric vehicles. I can remember your dramatic announcement that by 2035, GM would be 100% electric. You changed the whole story, Mary. You did, Mary. You electrified the entire automotive industry. I’m serious. You led, and it matters,” Biden said. 

Videos of the US President driving around in a GMC Hummer EV prototype were shared online, with Biden declaring that the future is electric, and it will be made on American soil. This completely ignores the fact that Tesla has been mass-producing electric vehicles for years, of course, or the fact that the Model 3 is the most American car on the market today — but it does follow the president’s now-typical tendency to completely ignore the Elon Musk-led EV maker

Biden’s statements about the GM CEO leading the electric vehicle transition are pretty interesting, seeing as the automaker is the company that chose to kill the modern electric car in the past by literally crushing the EV1. Mary Barra, while a notable proponent of electric vehicles, also does not have the best record today, seeing as she noted that GM conducted “appropriate diligence” regarding a $2 billion deal with Nikola Motors for its Badger pickup. The Badger, as it turned out, did not exist beyond CGI renders. 

Perhaps the most ironic aspect of Biden’s visit to GM’s Factory Zero, however, was the fact that he was driving around in a Hummer EV. Earlier this month, US Democrats released an updated social spending and climate measure that expanded the administration’s proposed $12,500 tax credit for zero-emission vehicles, capping the pace of electric pickups at $80,000. The Hummer EV, when it gets released next year, would be priced at $99,995 and $112,595 before options, which means that the truck is overpriced for Biden’s tax credit. A base Hummer EV is priced just below the $80,000 threshold, but that vehicle is not scheduled for release until Spring 2024. 

Watch US President Biden’s address at GM’s Factory Zero in the video below. 

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US President Biden pats GM CEO’s back: “You electrified the entire auto industry. You led.”
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