Sen. Joe Manchin blasts EV tax credit expansion, calls for hydrogen development

West Virginia Democrat Joe Manchin blasted a potential expansion of the electric vehicle (EV) tax credit on Thursday, while also calling for the development of the hydrogen sector to decarbonize the transportation industry.

Manchin, who called a Biden administration proposal to broaden the EV tax credit program “ludicrous,” said the waiting period for EVs right now is already so long that there is no point to offering more money to incentivize consumers to buy a battery-powered car.

“There is a waiting list for EVs right now, with the fuel prices, but they still want us to throw a $5,000, or $7,000 or $12,000 credit for us to buy electric vehicles,” said during a Thursday Senate budget hearing. Manchin added that production volumes of EVs are far away from fulfilling current demand levels, so it would be ridiculous to offer additional funding to the programs.

It is evident that EVs are becoming more popular, and with automakers in nearly all situations relating to EVs still working to produce and sell 1 million electric powertrains a year, demand is outweighing current production metrics. However, companies are funneling incredibly large amounts of money toward EV development, while smaller, EV-dedicated companies are ramping production. Tesla will produce at least 1 million vehicles globally this year after coming just short of the mark in 2021. Many projections have the company producing at least 1.5 million vehicles this year, but some of its cars are still sold out until 2023.

The EV tax credit was set to be introduced with new terms. That is until President Biden’s Build Back Better plan stalled after Manchin refused to support the bill. It would have increased the $7,500 credit to as much as $12,500, granted the vehicle and its battery were built in U.S facilities that were unionized to see the full benefit. It would have also put an end to EV credit caps, which Tesla and General Motors both have as they are disqualified from offering the credit after selling 200,000 EV units.

Manchin added that the money put toward expanding the EV tax credit program should be funneled to other sources, like research into hydrogen powertrains. Manchin is a member of the West Virginia Hydrogen Hub Coalition, which welcomed Speaker of the House Roger Hanshaw, President of the Senate Craig Blair, Senate Minority Leader Stephen Baldwin, and House Minority Leader Doug Skaff to the group yesterday.

Manchin has been openly critical of a full transition to EVs in the past and has openly criticized the “advantages” of an all-EV future.

“I have grave concerns about moving too quickly towards an EV-only future,” Manchin said at a panel hearing earlier this month.

Manchin also believes EVs are not a way to free dependence on oil from other countries. “It is frustrating to hear calls for a swifter transition to electrified transportation to reduce our dependence on foreign oil,” Manchin said in early April. “We cannot replace one unreliable foreign supply chain with another and think it’s going to solve our problems.”

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