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EVs: U.S. Dealers Ask President Biden to Slow Down Electrification Shift

2024 Mercedes-Benz EQB | Photo: Mercedes-Benz
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Daniel Rufiange
The dealerships argue the stated goals of the EPA are unrealistic

In an unprecedented move, nearly 4,000 dealerships from all 50 U.S. states signed an open letter to Joe Biden, calling on the U.S. president to reconsider proposed federal regulations regarding the shift to electric mobility.

In a letter published online on this past Tuesday, November 28, dealers ask the White House to "tap the brakes" on EV mandates. They cite an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposal from April that aims to increase the percentage of new BEV sales (compared to overall new vehicle sales) to 60 percent by 2030, and 67 percent by 2032.

Map of dealerships per state supporting call for U.S. government to slow down EV mandates
Map of dealerships per state supporting call for U.S. government to slow down EV mandates | Photo:

“These vehicles are ideal for many people, and we believe their appeal will grow over time. The reality, however, is that electric vehicle demand today is not keeping up with the large influx of BEVs arriving at our dealerships prompted by the current regulations. BEVs are stacking up on our lots.”

- Open letter to President Joe Biden, signed by close to 4,000 U.S. dealers

The dealers who signed the letter are based across the Unites States, including in states that have seen EV sales rise the most. In California, where consumers are most receptive to electrification, 336 dealerships signed the letter.

The dealers argue that their customers are not ready to switch to fully electric vehicles, principally due to ongoing issues to do with access to reliable charging networks, vehicle prices and range anxiety.

There are commitments in the billions of dollars for construction of a national charging network, and the adoption of Tesla's North American Charging Standard (NACS) by several automakers will open up access to that company’s network of charging stations. Seven automakers have signed a partnership to build an extensive charging network. 

A wider, more available charging infrastructure will certainly facilitate the transition and help increase demand. At the same time, the coming increase in domestic battery production and reduced retail prices for BEVs will further spur demand. But for now, that’s still in the future, not in the here and now.

Audi e-tron charging at a Baxter Auto Group dealership
Audi e-tron charging at a Baxter Auto Group dealership | Photo: Baxter Auto Group

The issue of prices remains central, and consumers continue to wait for more affordable EVs to hit the market.

The White House did not immediately respond to a request by automotive news for comment regarding the letter.

The letter was written by Mickey Anderson, the CEO of Baxter Auto Group, which operates 20 dealerships in Nebraska, Kansas, and Colorado for the Ford, Honda, Toyota and Volkswagen brands.

“What I and other dealers identified very early on is that the customer's voice was really absent from this entire conversation, and there's no chance we'll have an evolutionary solution if we don't have consumer buy-in,” stated Anderson.

2023 Toyota BZ4X
2023 Toyota BZ4X | Photo: Toyota

Anderson explained that the letter reflects the sentiments he and other dealers hear from their customers. “It's not about being for electric vehicles or for oil. This letter is 100 percent about the American consumer.”

Mary Rice, director of a Toyota dealership in Greensboro, North Carolina, was one of the first to sign the letter. What she had to say is interesting and highlights the reality that some dealerships are facing:

“If we can't sell the two or three vehicles we have on our lot right now. How will we sell them when they represent 80% of our offering?”. She says it’s easier right now to sell hybrid and plug-in hybrid vehicles than BEVs.

In Canada, we know that the reality is different from one province to another, but there are voices in certain parts of the country echoing the contents of this open letter.

Daniel Rufiange
Daniel Rufiange
Automotive expert
  • Over 17 years' experience as an automotive journalist
  • More than 75 test drives in the past year
  • Participation in over 250 new vehicle launches in the presence of the brand's technical specialists