As President Donald Trump arrives in Michigan today to announce a renewed review of vehicle emissions standards at the behest of several automakers, dozens of U.S. cities are considering the purchase of $10 billion in electric vehicles to show there’s a demand for low-emission vehicles, according to Bloomberg.
Trump’s expected to say that his administration will spend the rest of 2017 reviewing data on vehicle emissions and will set mileage standards next year, the Detroit News reports. But in the meantime, thirty cities—including New York City and Chicago—asked automakers for an estimate and feasibility of providing 114,000 electric vehicles, according to Bloomberg, equivalent to 72 percent of total plug-in sales last year. The cities suggested the vehicles could be used to replace police cruisers, street sweepers and trash haulers, the news outlet says. Here’s more:
The initiative is still in the early stages, and the cities haven’t actually ordered any of the 114,000 vehicles. Rather, they’ve taken what’s typically the first step in a formal bidding process by inviting manufactures to outline plans to supply them. Plus, some cities are asking about vehicles that don’t exist yet, such as electric fire engines and heavy-duty trucks.
The initiative could move the market nonetheless, said Colin McKerracher, an analyst with Bloomberg New Energy Finance. Orders for that many electric vehicles would be a significant driver for the U.S. plug-in market, which totaled 160,000 in 2016. While the initiative would probably be spread out over several years, it would provide electric vehicle manufacturers reliable demand as federal policies shift and gas prices fluctuate.
Consumers still overwhelmingly prefer gas guzzlers, and electrified vehicles only comprise a fraction of the auto market. But an order of this magnitude would—at the very least—make a statement in the face of a rollback for vehicle emission standards. And between the two carmakers building long distance EVs – Tesla and General Motors – it could mean the support of a whole bunch of American jobs.