Rep. Debbie Dingell Says the Big Clean Energy Bill Will Help Bring EV Manufacturing to Michigan

Oct 24 2022 |
Adjusting the cables of a lithium electric vehicle battery. | Getty Images

Says the Inflation Reduction Act’s provisions will keep the auto industry competitive.

With the passing of a big energy bill this August, the United States has made a commitment to becoming a leader in the production of electric vehicles (EVs). The Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) puts up tens of billions of dollars to incentivize the manufacture of EVs and their components domestically.

And Rep. Debbie Dingell of Michigan’s 12th Congressional District is eager to get a move on. EVs, the congresswoman said, are “where the marketplace is going.”

“I’m very proud of where I come from. I come from Michigan. I was born in Detroit,” she said in a public interview with Axios last week. “This area put the world on wheels, and I want Michigan to lead in innovation and technology for mobility. I want the United States to lead that.”

“This legislation,” she continued, “is to incentivize and to give grants that are going to help us stay competitive and are also going to bring jobs home.”

Dingle described the automotive industry as a “global, competitive race,” and said other governments, namely China’s, are out in front of the U.S. after prioritizing EV development for years. As such, EV supply chains are deeply embedded in that country.

“The fact of the matter is that 80% of minerals being used in batteries are coming from China and we need to incentivize the development of those minerals in our own country,” she said.

Dingle argued that the IRA does that. “It’s going to incentivize manufacturers to build the capabilities in this country and is going to bring jobs back into this country,” she said.

Despite the IRA’s investment, an issue that still must be hurdled is the price of these vehicles. Most EVs still cost a premium, but the representative was confident the sticker shock will subside. “As we get into more mass production, prices will go down,” she said.

“This area put the world on wheels, and I want Michigan to lead in innovation and technology for mobility. I want the United States to lead that.”

Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-MI)

The big investment in EVs is a pivotal facet of the IRA, and you can see it at work already in a range of factory announcements across the country. And state governments are getting involved too via all kinds of grant and tax incentive programs meant to foster its local development. It’s certainly a priority in places like Michigan.

Trevor Pawl, the state’s Chief Mobility Officer, told Axios that the state expects 300 Michigan internal combustion engine companies are at risk due to the EV shift, which means the 45,000 jobs they represent are at risk as well. Pawl pointed to programs like Michigan’s EV Jobs Academy that’s designed to help auto workers transfer their skills across their industry as new tech changes old job descriptions.

“We need to get them on a new career pathway where there’s options as the industry transitions,” he said.

You can watch the Axios interview with Rep. Dingell below: