In March 2021, Audi announced it will develop no new combustion engines. Three months later, Germany's Süddeutsche Zeitung reported the even bolder move that Audi will stop producing cars with petrol and diesel engines from 2026 - the switch apparently applying to the company's hybrid models too. First was Revolution 4.0. Then Society 5.0. Then COVID-19.

The Audi move echoes the strategy of its parent, the Volkswagen Auto Group, which has started flexing its muscles to rival Tesla in the electric vehicle (EV) space. Although other major auto producers such as Ford, General Motors and Volvo have committed to only selling EVs within the next 10 to 15 years, VW's brand development chief Thomas Ulbrich confirmed the company is planning “to realign to this in a massive way.” With plans to build EVs in eight factories by 2022, the company will launch around 70 battery-powered models by 2030. $174 billion In June 2021, General Motors upped the ante by raising planned investment for the second time in eight months after announcing plans to spend $35 billion on EVs and autonomous vehicles by 2025.

So why the pivot, and why now? EV momentum gathered pace after President Biden visited a Ford EV facility in Michigan and pitched his $174 billion plan to subsidize American EV production and infrastructure. The plan "to win the EV market" is part of the Biden administration's American Jobs Plan, the $2.25 trillion plan to revitalize US infrastructure. Although EVs only accounted for only 2% of US auto sales in 2020, the Biden plan seeks a swift "energy transition” to an all-electric vehicle fleet within 15 years by:

  • Spending hundreds of billions on 500,000 EV charging stations and infrastructure by 2030, plus subsidies and incentives for automakers.

  • $100 billion in consumer rebates to "encourage people to switch to electric vehicles and efficient electric appliances."

  • Raising the cost of gasoline and internal combustion vehicles.

Big numbers, high stakes Since taking office, President Biden has signed a "Buy American" executive order to replace the government’s fleet of 645,000 vehicles with all-electric models made in the US. The Biden plan further raises the stakes across multiple dimensions:

  • It fast tracks EV charger infrastructure: The US federal government will help achieve the 500,000 EV charging station target via grant and incentive programs for local and state governments, plus the private sector.

  • It mandates the electrification of transit and school buses: The plan calls for the replacement of 50,000 diesel-powered transit vehicles and electrifying 20% of the U.S. school bus fleet via a new Clean Buses for Kids Program.

  • It focuses on decarbonizing transit: By "modernizing existing transit" via $85 billion investment in public transit, plus another $80 billion towards intercity rail systems such as Amtrak.

  • It prioritizes clean energy infrastructure: The plan calls for the Investment Tax Credit (ITC) to cover transmission lines and energy storage projects.

  • It mentions a clean energy standard: This would set goals for the proportion of clean energy required each year, much like the existing plan in California that set renewable energy standards and boosted clean energy.

Will the plan help kick-start an American EV revolution? It seems that way - especially in combination with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer's own plans for EV incentivization. $454 billion over 10 years Senator Schumer plans to move every away from gasoline and into EVs, describing his proposal as: “A bold new plan designed to accelerate America’s transition to all electric vehicles on the road, to developing a charging infrastructure, and to grow American jobs through clean manufacturing. And the ultimate goal is to have every car manufactured in America be electric by 2030, and every car on the road be clean by 2040.” Among other incentives, Schumer proposes $45 billion to upgrade the nation’s charging infrastructure and $17 billion to encourage manufacturers to retrofit facilities for EV production. The total cost of the Schumer plan? $454 billion over 10 years, in addition to the $2.25 trillion Biden plan.

Getting the infrastructure right - first time, every time If the political will's there, the money will be too. Having "every car on the road clean by 2040", however, requires every one of those cars to have quick, convenient access to EV charging stations. This requires exponential growth in the physical infrastructure between now and 2040.

At 22i, that's where we come in. Our AI guides, checks and records the physical installation of digital infrastructure. Whether EV charging points, smart meters for smart homes, smart energy for smart cities, or any other piece of the Industry 4.0 infrastructure, our mission's to make sure it's done right first time, every time. Our AI helps install digital infrastructure faster and more efficiently, conforms to best working practices, and records all results by storing them securely on the cloud. This enables our clients to:

  • Maximize the daily number of infrastructure installations.

  • Open every job to remote, real time auditing.

  • Reduce carbon footprint by eliminating the need to physically check an engineer's work.

  • Deliver a Zero Harm industry by reducing injuries to engineers and customers.

  • Empower the workforce to meet their daily targets and reduce time off the road - meaning greater efficiencies, less pressure and less stress.

  • Improve business resilience, plus reduce industry sanctions, costs and fines for missed targets.

  • Open the door to de facto, global industry standards.

At 22i, we’re ready. Our AI builds tomorrow's world today - one charging point at a time.

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