President Biden blamed the Trump administration on Tuesday for letting the U.S. fall behind China in electric-vehicle production, saying his multitrillion-dollar spending plans will spur the auto industry and create more union jobs.
“Look, the future of the auto industry is electric,” Mr. Biden said after a tour of Ford’s Rouge Electric Vehicle Center in Michigan. “There’s no turning back … the only question is whether we’ll lead the race or fall behind.”
Mr. Biden said the U.S. lost ground to China during the Trump administration on production of electric vehicles and batteries. He blamed the former president for rolling back vehicle-emission standards and claimed that his predecessor allowed the tax credit for electric vehicles to “expire.”
“They announced ‘Infrastructure week’ … every week for four years, and then didn’t do a damned thing,” Mr. Biden said of Trump officials. “We’re going to set a new pace for electric vehicles.”
Mr. Trump did propose eliminating the federal tax credit for electric vehicles, but Congress did not do so.
During a presidential debate last year with Mr. Biden, Mr. Trump proclaimed himself “all for electric cars.”
Ford’s plant is building the new F150 Lightning, an all-electric pickup truck due to hit the market within the next year. Company President Bill Ford told the president that the new truck is “going to give your Corvette a run for its money.”
The president, who was often accused during last year’s campaign of being soft on China, said the U.S. cannot allow Beijing to dominate the electric vehicle market.
“Right now China is leading in this race, make no bones about it,” he said. “They think they’re going to win. But I’ve got news for them. They will not win this race. We can’t let them. We have to move fast. And that’s what we’re doing here.”
As if there were any doubt, Mr. Biden also reminded his audience that he is “a union guy.” He said his $4.1 trillion infrastructure proposals will create thousands of jobs for autoworkers, and for electricians who will install charging stations across the country.
“We’ll do everything in our power to encourage and protect the right of workers to unionize and collectively bargain,” Mr. Biden said.