President Biden, riding in a fossil fuel-guzzling armored limousine known as the Beast, arrived Tuesday at a Ford Motor Co. electric vehicle plant to showcase his zero-emissions agenda.
The 20,000-pound Beast, a bulked-up Cadillac, is powered by a diesel engine that is estimated to get less than 10 miles per gallon.
Diesel automobiles boast lower carbon dioxide emissions than gasoline-powered vehicles. However, diesel cars can have a greater effect on the climate because they also emit 25 to 400 times more soot per mile, according to a Stanford University report.
Mr. Biden traveled to Detroit aboard Air Force One and then motored roughly 12 miles in the Beast to Ford’s Rouge Electric Vehicle Center in Dearborn, Michigan.
The visit included a preview of the new electric Ford F150 pickup truck, which weighs about 15,000 pounds less than the Beast.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki said the president wants to some day have an electric-powered Beast.
“That is certainly our objective,” she told reporters traveling on Air Force One. “That’s certainly something the president has talked about and is an objective for him.”
Ms. Psaki shrugged off questions about the irony of Mr. Biden traveling in a gas-guzzler to the electric vehicle plant.
“I think it’s going to take some time to continue to grow the electric vehicle industry in our country. That’s why the president believes there needs to be a historic investment,” she said.
The visit was intended to highlight the climate change agenda built into Mr. Biden’s $2.3 trillion infrastructure plan.
The package would spend $174 billion on electric vehicles, including money for rebates and incentives for consumer purchases. It spends another $15 billion on more electric vehicle charging stations, with a goal of 500,000 charging stations nationwide by 2030.
Ford and most major auto companies have pledged to go all-electric in the coming years. Ford plans to have its entire commercial vehicle fleet zero-emissions capable, either all-electric or plug-in hybrid, by 2024.
Marc Morano, the publisher of the climate change and eco-news center Climate Depot, said Mr. Biden was acting as the chief lobbyist for the electric car industry.
“Biden visiting in a gas-guzzling limo is par for the course for climate activists,” Mr. Morano said. “Did the president have to wait in long gas lines to fill up his limo? Did the president have to drive from gas station to gas station to find gas for his ride? Biden is doing his best John Kerry imitation.”
Mr. Kerry, the White House climate change envoy, was criticized earlier this year for flying in private jets to events where he admonished that “too many airplanes” were adding greenhouse gases to the atmosphere.
• David Sherfinski contributed to this report.