Manchin pushes to delay tax credits on EVs

WASHINGTON — Ratcheting up his criticism, Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin on Wednesday moved to delay new tax credits for electric vehicles, a key feature of President Joe Biden’s landmark climate law.

Manchin said guidelines issued by the Treasury Department allow manufacturers in Europe and other countries to bypass requirements that significant portions of EV batteries be produced in North America.

The climate law, officially known as the Inflation Reduction Act, “is first and foremost an energy security bill,” Manchin said, adding that the EV tax credits were supposed “to grow domestic manufacturing and reduce our reliance on foreign supply chains for the critical minerals needed to produce EV batteries.”

Manchin’s bid to delay the tax credits surfaced as Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm and White House climate adviser Ali Zaidi visited the Washington, D.C., Auto Show on Wednesday to highlight the administration’s efforts to boost electric vehicles and related infrastructure.

EV sales have tripled since Biden, a Democrat, took office two years ago, Granholm said. There are now more than 2 million EVs and 100,000 chargers on U.S. roadways, with more than $100 billion invested or pledged for EVs and their supply chains, including batteries, she said.

While batteries and components have long been manufactured in China, “we’re going to bring that manufacturing home,” Granholm told reporters.

“We’re going to give Americans the chance to drive American vehicles made by American workers — and that is only going to compound as Americans start to drive these vehicles and realize how great they are,” she said. “The demand is going to go very high. We expect that by 2030, half of all the vehicles sold in the United States will be electric.”

Granholm and the White House declined to comment on Manchin’s bill, but the measure by the West Virginia lawmaker is unlikely to gain traction in the Senate, where Democrats hold a slim majority and have shown no inclination to reopen a bill they just passed on a party-line vote.

Tax credits of up to $7,500 per vehicle are intended to spur EV sales and domestic production of vehicles and batteries while reducing planet-warming greenhouse gas emissions.

Biden acknowledged “glitches” in the legislation but said “there’s tweaks we can make” to satisfy allies.

Manchin’s bill follows a decision by the Treasury Department to delay rules on battery contents and minerals until March, while allowing the rest of the program to be implemented on Jan. 1.

The Manchin bill directs Treasury to stop issuing tax credits for vehicles that don’t comply with battery requirements.

“The United States is the birthplace of Henry Ford, who revolutionized the automotive industry,” Manchin said, calling it “shameful that we rely so heavily on foreign suppliers, particularly China, for the batteries that power our electric vehicles.”