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Japan Joins the EV Push

All new vehicles in Japan must be hybrids or fully electric starting in mid-2030s and this has Toyota howling.

Japan said it planned to stop the sale of new gasoline-powered cars by the mid-2030s, bucking criticism by Toyota Motor Corp.’s chief that a rapid shift to electric vehicles could cripple the car industry.

Earlier this month, Toyota President Akio Toyoda said that if Japan banned gasoline-powered cars and moved to electric vehicles too hastily, “the current business model of the car industry is going to collapse.” 

Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga pointed to a different portion of Mr. Toyoda’s comments in which the Toyota chief said he backed the government’s goal of making Japan carbon-neutral by 2050. Reducing carbon emissions “should be tackled as a strategy for growth, not as a limitation on growth,” Mr. Suga said.

Japan’s move, combined with those in China, Europe and California, adds pressure on global auto makers to shift more quickly to electric vehicles, although for now many are getting their profits from U.S. consumers hungry for gasoline-powered trucks and sport-utility vehicles.

California to Ban Sales of New Gas-Powered Cars Starting in 2035

On September 23, California announced it would Ban Sales of New Gas-Powered Cars Starting in 2035

California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed an order Wednesday that aims to end the sale of new gasoline and diesel-powered passenger cars in the state by 2035.

It is an ambitious attempt to bolster electric vehicles in the largest car market in the U.S., as well as a bid to tackle emissions that most scientists say contribute to climate change. Transportation is responsible for more than half of carbon pollution in California, the governor said. 

More than 11% of all light vehicles in the U.S. last year were registered in California, according to IHS Markit. 

California is the first state in the nation to commit to such a goal, but could serve as a spark for other left-leaning states to follow, given its size and historic leadership on regulatory issues. Seventeen countries including France, the U.K. and Germany have adopted goals to phase out internal combustion passenger cars, according to the International Council on Clean Transportation, a nonprofit that supports decarbonizing fuels.

Biden's Climate Change Plan

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President-elect Joe Biden want 500,000 new public charging outlets in a decade as part of his plan to combat climate change

The 500,000-unit pledge was part of Biden’s platform when he was running for the job but largely overlooked in a grinding campaign dominated by the pandemic. Now, the industry hopes he’ll stick with it. But it is a wildly ambitious strategy to overcome one of the biggest hurdles facing EVs: Would-be drivers fear they won’t have enough places to charge up. The infrastructure milestone would cover 57% of the charging that U.S. vehicles will need by 2030 and could spark the sale of some 25 million electric cars and trucks, according to forecasts by Bloomberg.

Right now, there are about 90,000 public charging plugs at 28,000 U.S. stations, according to the latest Energy Department tally. However, one in five of those is exclusive to Tesla; of the remainder, only one in 10 tops a car up quickly enough to be useful on a road trip. Most public charging options are still relatively slow—useful for drivers idling at work, for example, or grinding through a long grocery hunt.

Two big questions remain, however: How will the policy be structured, and will Biden’s administration be able to persuade Congress to pay for the plan?

Stumbling Block

Unless McConnell is willing to go along Biden's plan is dead. 

Assuming there is a deal, what would McConnell ask in return, or will McConnell suddenly turn green?

McConnell aside, does Biden's plan make any sense?