Billionaire businessman and Democratic presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg wants to see the U.S. to completely switch to battery-electric vehicles by 2035.
Outlining a key element of his promised White House strategy, dubbed “Clean Cars for All,” Bloomberg said he would take steps to make EVs accessible to all motorists, including low-income families, while also pumping new funds into public transportation.
The candidate has not directly spoken about the plan yet, but prior to its unveiling, a campaign aide told the Bloomberg news service that, “We’re looking to turn over the polluting stock faster,” referencing the relatively slow rate at which older vehicles are scrapped and replaced with newer, cleaner vehicles.
While a number of other Democratic candidates have expressed support for efforts to boost EV sales, Bloomberg is the first to specifically outline a goal he would implement if elected this coming November.
The 77-year-old self-made billionaire has been a long-time proponent of battery cars, pushing for ways to get them into the market even while mayor of New York City between 2002 and 2013.
Democrats, in general, have been active supporters of battery-car technology, pushing Congress to enact the current incentives of up to $7,500 for EV buyers. But efforts to extend and expand those tax credits have stalled, in large part due to opposition from the Trump Administration.
Bloomberg’s position stands him in almost direct opposition to President Donald Trump who has shown little interest in green technology, on the whole, going so far as to suggest that wind generators somehow cause cancer. He got into a dispute with Doris Leuthard, president of Switzerland, this week for bringing up climate change during the Economic Forum in Davos.
Bloomberg, on the other hand, wants to expand the use of clean power technologies, such as wind and solar, while cutting emissions from the conventional power sector and other sources of pollution. His broader plan would slash U.S. emissions of climate-changing gases by 50% by 2030.
Coming from the city with the largest mass transit in the U.S., Bloomberg’s strategy would expand the use of rail and other automotive alternatives. That is expected to include the introduction of high-speed rail. The U.S. is one of the only industrialized countries in the world without a serious high-speed rail network, with only a handful of routes along the East Coast coming anywhere near the performance of the rail systems now common in Europe, Japan and, increasingly, in China.
In terms of motor vehicles, Bloomberg wants to get all Americans out of vehicles using internal combustion engines, including those who otherwise can’t afford to get out of dirty, low-mileage vehicles.
The Clean Cars for All program would emphasize taxis and ride-share services that are major producers of carbon dioxide simply because of the miles they clock on a daily basis. And he would also press to replace diesel trucks and buses with those using electric propulsion.
That is already beginning to happen on a modest scale. The various truck subsidiaries of Daimler AG, for example, have started rolling out all-electric trucks of a variety of different sizes and, this week, its Thomas Built Bus unit delivered 50 electric school buses to Virginia, the first of 1,050 the state plans to purchase.
A late entrant into the White House race, Bloomberg is considered a long-shot candidate – though he has promised to use a large chunk of his personal fortune to back his campaign. And, if he pulls out, the former New York mayor has said he will continue to fund the Democrats in their bid to defeat Trump.