President Joe Biden traveled to Michigan to pitch his Administration’s plan to help the U.S. auto industry speed its transition to electric vehicles. Biden gave his speech at a Ford electric vehicle production facility, and sharing the stage with the President was Ford’s new F-150 Lightning EV pickup, making its first public appearance one day before its official unveiling.
Before his speech, Biden had been given a private preview of the new battery-powered pickup, and he evidently came away impressed. “Man, you’re going to like it,” he said.
Seen in the background alongside a current F-150, the new Lightning’s unique front styling was plainly visible. The EV pickup also appears to have a lower ride height than its internal-combustion counterpart, which should make for improved aerodynamic drag at highway speeds, which will be important for range.
Biden’s speech went on to detail some of the elements of his Administration’s plan. They include government assistance, in the form of tax credits, to establish EV and battery manufacturing in the U.S. and to retool existing facilities for those purposes. Biden proposes new incentives for EV purchases — although it’s not known if those will be an extension of an expansion of the current $7,500 EV tax credit — and to spur the adoption of battery-powered medium- and heavy-duty trucks. The Administration also wants 500,000 new EV charging stations, and has plans to upgrade the electrical grid as well.
Reuters quotes the President as saying, “We’re going to set a new pace for electric vehicles.” Making his pitch in what is still the cradle of the U.S. auto industry, he added: “The real question is whether we’ll lead or we’ll fall behind in the race for the future, or whether we will build these vehicles and the batteries that go in them here in the United States or rely on other countries.”
"After the speech Biden took a turn at the wheel of the new Lightning. He said, 'This sucker's quick.'" Watch his banter with the press, as well as a hard launch from a stop, in the video below: