Tesla has joined a newly formed lobby group for electric vehicle adoption that includes the ride share company Uber and electric adventure vehicle manufacturer Rivian. The new lobby group, called Zeta, will focus on requiring that all new car sales will be electric vehicles by the 2030s.
Elon Musk has previously stated that one of Tesla’s goals is to make gasoline-powered cars obsolete. The goal is also backed by the State of California governor Gavin Newsom, who supports a measure that will ban the sale of new gasoline cars by 2035 along with pushing for zero-emission electricity production by 2045. The governor has recently referred to the switch to electric vehicles as an “economic imperative.”
The move to form a new lobby for electric vehicles may be seen as a timely one, considering that Joe Biden is pretty much set to take office in January. He intends to take a more firm stance on cutting carbon emissions than the Trump administration has taken and phasing out gasoline cars could become part of his plan if Zeta has its way.
Part of Zeta’s plan includes an expansion of tax credits that could be valued at up to $7,500 at the federal level. This would be on top of state-level incentives for purchases of electric vehicles, which most recently includes a rebate of up to $1,500 offered by a partnership between the California Air Resources Board and utility providers in the state. Most new Tesla vehicles sold in California will qualify for the maximum $1,500 rebate.
Zeta will push for tighter regulations on emissions and improved infrastructure for electric vehicles, which would include specialized chargers like Tesla’s Supercharger.
Zeta will also push for the government to provide better support for manufacturing jobs that include the production of electric vehicles in the United States. Tesla has especially supported manufacturing and sourcing of materials in North America, including deals with Canadian mining firms and some fledgling plans to build a fourth Gigafactory in an as-yet-unannounced location in the United States.
Elon Musk has also famously gotten into scraps with Californian government officials over coronavirus-related requirements that forced him to temporarily close the factory in that state, which was costing his employees their income. The conflict apparently centered around county-level officials who Musk claimed were illegally going against the governor’s order approving the factory’s reopening.
Yes, California approved, but an unelected county official illegally overrode. Also, all other auto companies in US are approved to resume. Only Tesla has been singled out. This is super messed up!
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) May 11, 2020
Tesla might also be continuing work on increasing the range of larger electric vehicles like the Tesla Semi. On the one hand, companies like Walmart Canada have expressed enough confidence to place orders for Semis to use for their short hauls. On the other, critics have said that the range of vehicles as big as the Semi will hit a natural cap on their range that won’t be solved by adding more powerful batteries.
Although the scrap did have its cost, including reports that Musk himself may have a mild case of COVID-19, companies like Tesla will need the additional manufacturing capacity if Zeta meets its primary goal of banning the sale of new gasoline vehicles. Used gasoline vehicles may still be bought and sold, which means that they will probably stick around for a little while longer. However, the ban will make a good first step toward greater adoption of electric vehicles.