Utilities, Tesla, Uber create U.S. lobbying group for electric vehicle industry

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A group of major U.S. utilities, Tesla TSLA.O, Uber UBER.N and others said on Tuesday they are launching a new group to lobby for national policies to boost electric vehicle sales.

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The new Zero Emission Transportation Association wants to boost consumer electric vehicle incentives and encourage the retirement of gasoline-powered vehicles. It also advocates for tougher emissions and performance standards that will potentially enable full electrification by 2030.

Under President Donald Trump, the White House rejected new tax credits for electric vehicles as it proposed to kill existing credits and made it easier to sell gas-guzzling vehicles.

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President-elect Joe Biden promises new tax incentives, including new rebates to buy EVs and a dramatic expansion of charging stations for electric vehicles – policy measures automakers have long advocated.

“We can own the electric vehicle market — building 550,000 charging stations — and creating over a million good jobs here at home — with the federal government investing more in clean energy research,” Biden said Monday.

Biden’s measures are in line with the group’s call for “strong federal charging infrastructure investments” and its goal to reach 100% electric vehicle sales by 2030.

Uber chief executive Dara Khosrowshahi said the group will support “Uber’s work to move 100% of rides to EVs in (the United States), Canadian and European cities by 2030 and go fully zero-emissions by 2040. It will take all of us working together to address the urgent crisis of climate change.”

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Automakers in the United States sold 326,000 EVs in 2019, accounting for about 2% of total U.S. auto sales. Tesla sold nearly 60% of the total.

Other members include ConEdison ED.N, Duke Energy DUK.N, PG&E PCG.N along with EV charging companies like Chargepoint and EVgo, fledging automakers like Lordstown Motors RIDE.O, Rivian and Lucid Motors. Also part are Albemarle Corp ALB.N, the world’s largest producer of lithium for electric vehicle batteries, Piedmont Lithium PLL.AX and Siemens SIEGn.DE

In September, California Governor Gavin Newsom said the state plans to ban the sale of new gasoline powered passenger cars and trucks starting in 2035 in a dramatic move to shift to electric vehicles and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

California is the largest U.S. auto market, accounting for about 11% of all U.S. vehicle sales. Many states have adopted its green vehicle mandates.

(Reporting by David Shepardson; Editing by Aurora Ellis)

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