Speed Reads

electric vehicle slide

Major utility companies are betting big on electric cars

"One of the stranger things that has happened during the Trump administration ... is that the car industry and the oil industry have grown to resent each other," Robinson Meyer reports for The Atlantic. For decades, after all, automakers and oil companies' goals of selling more cars that relied on more gas went hand in hand.

But under Trump, the White House made decisions "so pro-carbon," they turned even auto manufacturers against the oil and gas industry they used to rely on, Meyer writes. And on Tuesday, both automakers and utility providers who have long relied on the oil industry solidified their changing interests, forming a lobbying group focused on pushing for electric vehicles in Washington.

Automakers including Tesla and Lordstown Motors, utility providers including ConEdison and Southern Company, and other companies with electric vehicle interests joined what they're calling the Zero Emission Transportation Association. "Our goal is to change politics so that every new vehicle sold by 2030 is an EV," Joseph Britton, ZETA's founder and director, told The Atlantic. That includes lobbying Congress to subsidize EV purchases, build more EV chargers, and help EV makers grow.

Climate activists may be skeptical any time big, still-polluting companies consolidate. But "it is always a good thing when powerful corporations come together to push for things that are objectively necessary," Matto Mildenberger, a professor at UC Santa Barbara who encourages aggressive climate action, told The Atlantic. And it's an important move not just to repair the climate, but because China and other foreign rivals have begun investing heavily in electric vehicles as well. Read more about the new lobbying group's goals at The Atlantic.