China’s ability to flood EV market concerning to US, energy secretary says

Mar 6, 2024

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States is concerned about China’s ability to flood the electric vehicle market but U.S. incentives can increase the affordability of domestically-made EVs, the U.S. energy secretary said on Wednesday.

“We are very concerned about China bigfooting our industry in the United States even as we’re building up now this incredible backbone of manufacturing,” Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm said at an Axios event in Washington.

Chinese companies are producing waves of low-priced EVs that some worry could harm big U.S. car manufacturers, some of which have focused recently on big gasoline-powered sports utility vehicles.

Granholm said the U.S. did not want to see a repeat of China’s influence on the solar panel market. “Solar technology was invented here … and was bigfooted and pulled away because there was flooding of the market,” Granholm said.

With incentives from the U.S. Inflation Reduction Act (IRA)and other programs, domestic manufacturers can bring down EV prices, she said. “China is investing massive amounts for the purpose of bigfooting, and so we need to understand that it is important for people to buy electric vehicles in an affordable fashion.”

Granholm referred to a U.S. Commerce Department move last month to open an investigation into whether Chinese vehicle imports pose national security risks. The probe is needed because vehicles collect large amounts of sensitive data on their drivers and passengers and often use cameras and sensors to record information on U.S. infrastructure, the White House said.

The EV industry is experiencing a near-term slowdown. In late 2023, legacy automakers as well as Tesla and Rivian were throttling back EV investments and reworking product strategies.

Granholm mentioned a $4000 credit in the IRA for the purchase of a used EV as one of the incentives that could help spur demand.

(Reporting by Timothy Gardner in Washington; Editing by Nia Williams)

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