DEARBORN, Mich. - President Joe Biden took time from his visit to a local Ford plant in Michigan on Tuesday to take an unreleased electric vehicle for a spin on the company’s test track.
The visit was part of Biden’s efforts to spotlight his big infrastructure plans and build Republican support for his $2.3 trillion package while making the case that his plans could help steer the country toward a bright electric-car future.
During his tour of the facilities, the president, a car enthusiast, took a truck for a quick test drive.
Footage showed him behind the wheel of Ford’s newest all-electric version of its F-150 pickup truck called the Lightning.
"This sucker’s quick," Biden exclaimed as he drove up to reporters and photographers.
Asked if he would purchase a model, Biden said he would. "I don’t know if anybody has a stopwatch but I think we’re going about 0-60 in about 4.3," Biden said in amazement.
Despite Biden’s excitement, a major hurdle in his vision for a zero-emission future is the lack of stations where people can plug in and juice up their engines.
To that end, Biden has proposed $174 billion for electric vehicles. That money includes rebates and incentives for consumer purchases, along with money to build 500,000 charging stations by 2030.
The White House says the U.S. has just a fraction, about one-third, of the electric vehicle market share that China has, and far fewer public charging points — and needs to catch up before it can take the lead.
At Ford, its F-Series pickups — including heavy-duty versions — have been the top-selling vehicles in the U.S. for 39 straight years. Last year, the company sold more than 787,000 of the trucks, even though it had to close factories for eight weeks at the start of the coronavirus pandemic.
The F-150 Lightning electric truck, due in showrooms in the middle of next year. Through April of this year, automakers have sold only 107,624 fully electric vehicles in the U.S.
This story was reported from Los Angeles. The Associated Press contributed.