California’s Electric Vehicle Future Must Be Made in America

By Jennifer Snyder
Jun 07 2021 |
The Los Angeles skyline is seen as an electric vehicle charges. Photo by Getty Images

A bill making its way through the state legislature aims to incentivize the purchase of electric vehicles (EVs). But somewhere along the way, language to ensure those EVs are Made in America was removed from the legislation.

Back in September 2020, California Gov. Gavin Newsom issued an executive order to require that, by 2035, all cars and trucks sold in the state must be zero-emission vehicles. A new bill making its way through the state’s legislature is designed to help Californians through this transition by incentivizing the purchase of clean energy and electric vehicles (EVs). But there’s a problem.

Before the measure passed the assembly last week, commonsense language to require vehicles that qualify for the incentive program be Made in USA (and from American-made parts) was quietly removed. If the language is not put back in the legislation, taxpayer dollars may end up supporting foreign-made EVs, at the expense of American workers.

On Monday, AAM field coordinator Jennifer Drudge, who lives in California, sent this email to our grassroots supporters asking them to contact their lawmakers to ask that the language be reinserted into the bill. If you live in California, please be sure to join this important effort.

Hi Friend,

I’m so proud to be from California. We’ve long led the nation in everything from technological innovation to entertainment, and lately, our state has been showing the rest of the country what needs to happen to address climate change.  

But right now there’s a clean energy bill making its way through the state legislature that could end up doing a lot of harm to workers in California and throughout the country. If it passes as-is, it is something California should NOT be proud of.

The bill, AB 794, is designed to provide incentives for buying electric vehicles (EVs). It’s part of the effort for the state to transition to all clean vehicle purchases by 2035.

When the legislation was first written, it included commonsense domestic content language to ensure that vehicles that qualify for the incentive program are Made in America, with American-made parts. But somewhere along the way, that domestic content language was stripped from the bill – and it just passed the state assembly without it.

Please join me in telling California lawmakers that our state’s electric vehicle future must be Made in America!

There are countless reasons for lawmakers to include language in this legislation to ensure EVs purchases that qualify for taxpayer-funded incentives are Made in America.

For one, the United States needs to ramp up production of EVs, along with the related supply chain and infrastructure. Any state effort to encourage EV purchases should support the U.S. production of EVs and not allow foreign manufacturers to gain an advantage, especially by using taxpayer money.

Including domestic content language also will help over 100,000 Californians who work in the fossil fuel industry. These workers helped power our state’s success for decades, and deserve the opportunity to be a part of the coming EV future.

And one more reason: China. The Chinese government already has made it known they plan to dominate the global EV industry. Without including domestic content language in this bill, California will miss an opportunity to support the growth of America’s EV industry – and give China’s regime an edge.

There’s a popular saying: As California goes, so goes the nation. The Golden State should be leading the way on the transition to electric vehicles. But if our state does not include commonsense domestic content language in AB 794, we will be setting a bad example for the rest of the country.

Fortunately, there’s still time for California’s lawmakers to do the right thing.

Now it’s up to me and you: Tell lawmakers to put domestic content language back into AB 794. Let’s make sure America’s electric vehicle future is Made in America!