Electric vehicles are expected to be at least half of the U.S. vehicle market by 2040. But different sectors of the transportation sector, including the UAW, need to come together for that to happen. Members of the labor, environmental, auto manufacturing and political sectors held a roundtable at IBEW Local 58 on November 25 discussing the future of EVs and the role of Michigan groups and industries in making them affordable and convenient for consumers.The event, convened by the labor-environmental advocacy group BlueGreen Alliance with U.S.
Representative Debbie Dingell, included representatives from environmental organizations including the Sierra Club and the National Resources Defense Council, and the UAW-Ford Department, United Steelworkers and the IBEW.
Almost 30% of carbon emissions in the U.S. are created by the transportation industry, said Rep. Dingell. To reduce reliance on fossil fuels “we have to create financial incentives for consumers to buy EVs and industry has to build an infrastructure of charging stations to support them,” she told panelists. “We need to work together.”
Panelists said some of the challenges to increased market share for EVs include a lack of education about EVs and how they work, national safety standards on charging station installation, an insufficient number charging stations, the high cost of retrofitting homes with charging stations, a lack of awareness about financial incentives to offset the cost of purchasing an EV, and the political strength of the fossil fuel industry.
“We worked hard in recent negotiations to secure good paying jobs for Ford workers (making internal combustion engine vehicles). We need to do more to secure EV production jobs of the future,” said panelist and UAW-Ford Department Research Analyst-Futurist Jeff Faber.
All agreed the roundtable was a good step in bringing key industries together to increase EV production and consumer acceptance. More collaboration down the road is planned.
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