in Tiananmen Square, on the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Chinese Communist Party, when he reiterated China’s claim to Taiwan, a self-ruled island democracy. President Biden has mentioned four times that the United States is prepared to help Taiwan resist aggression. Each time his aides have walked back his comments somewhat, however, emphasizing that the United States retains a policy of “strategic ambiguity” regarding its support for the island.

Even a vague mention by Mr. Xi at the party congress of a timeline for trying to bring Taiwan under the mainland’s political control could damage financial confidence in both Taiwan and the mainland.

The most important task of the ruling elite at the congress is to confirm the party’s leadership.

Particularly important to business is who in the lineup will become the new premier. The premier leads the cabinet but not the military, which is directly under Mr. Xi. The position oversees the finance ministry, commerce ministry and other government agencies that make many crucial decisions affecting banks, insurers and other businesses. Whoever is chosen will not be announced until a separate session of the National People’s Congress next March, but the day after the congress formally ends, members of the new Politburo Standing Committee — the highest body of political power in China — will walk on a stage in order of rank. The order in which the new leadership team walks may make clear who will become premier next year.

a leading hub of entrepreneurship and foreign investment in China. Neither has given many clues about their economic thinking since taking posts in Beijing. Mr. Wang had more of a reputation for pursuing free-market policies while in Guangdong.

Mr. Hu is seen as having a stronger political base than Mr. Wang because he is still young enough, 59, to be a potential successor to Mr. Xi. That political strength could give him the clout to push back a little against Mr. Xi’s recent tendency to lean in favor of greater government and Communist Party control of the private sector.

Precisely because Mr. Hu is young enough to be a possible successor, however, many businesspeople and experts think Mr. Xi is more likely to choose Mr. Wang or a dark horse candidate who poses no potential political threat to him.

In any case, the power of the premier has diminished as Mr. Xi has created a series of Communist Party commissions to draft policies for ministries, including a commission that dictates many financial policies.

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President Biden Touts Electric Vehicles At Detroit Auto Show

The president is expected to promote the new climate, tax and health care law that offers tax incentives for buying electric vehicles.

President Joe Biden, a gearhead with his own vintage Corvette, showcased his administration’s efforts to promote electric vehicles during a visit Wednesday to the Detroit auto show.

President Biden traveled to the massive North American International Auto Show to plug the huge new climate, tax and health care law that offers tax incentives for buying electric vehicles. He toured a mix of American-manufactured hybrid, electric and combustion vehicles from Chevrolet, General Motors, Ford, and Stellantis on a closed-off convention center floor, and greeted union workers, CEOs, and local leaders.

The Democratic president, who recently took a spin in his pine-green 1967 Stingray with Jay Leno for a segment on CNBC’s “Jay Leno’s Garage,” hopped into the driver seat of a bright orange Chevrolet Corvette Z06 — not an EV —and fired up its engine, alongside GM CEO Mary Barra.

“He says he’s driving home,” she joked.

President Biden then toured the new electric Ford Mustang Mach-E, marveling with Ford executive chairman Bill Ford at the model’s performance. “It’s amazing the speed,” President Biden said, adding, “Does it have a launch button?” He also explored less-flashy vehicles, like Ford’s all-electric E-Transit van and F-150 truck.

President Biden finally got behind the wheel of a Cadillac Lyriq all electric SUV, briefly driving it down an aisle in the blue-carpeted hall. It marked a rare occasion to drive — albeit at little more than a walking pace — for the president, who typically is transported in armored U.S. Secret Service vehicles when out in public.

“Jump in, I’ll give you a ride to Washington,” he joked to reporters. “It’s a beautiful car,” he added, “But I love the Corvette.”

While President Biden has been taking credit for the recent boom in electric vehicle battery and assembly plant announcements, most were in the works long before the Inflation Reduction Act was signed into law on Aug. 16. President Biden’s 2021 infrastructure legislation could have something to do with it — it provides $5 billion over five years to help states create a network of EV charging stations.

In Detroit, President Biden was to announce approval of the first $900 million in infrastructure money to build EV chargers across 53,000 miles of the national highway system in 35 states.

Under the law, electric vehicles must be built in North America to be eligible for a new federal tax credit of up to $7,500. Batteries for qualifying vehicles also must be made in North America, and there are requirements for battery minerals to be produced or recycled on the continent. The credits are aimed at creating a U.S. electric vehicle supply chain and ending dependence on other countries, mainly China.

Passage of the measure set off a scramble by automakers to speed up efforts to find North American-made batteries and battery minerals from the U.S., Canada or Mexico to make sure EVs are eligible for the credit.

In April, Ford started building electric pickup trucks at a new Michigan factory. General Motors has revamped an older factory in Detroit to make electric Hummers and pickups.

Long before legislators reached a compromise on the legislation, each company announced three EV battery factories, all joint ventures with battery makers. A GM battery plant in Warren, Ohio, has already started manufacturing. A government loan announced in July will help GM build its battery factories.

Ford said last September it would build the next generation of electric pickups at a plant in Tennessee, and GM has announced EV assembly plants in Lansing, Michigan; Spring Hill, Tennessee; and Orion Township, Michigan. In May, Stellantis, formerly Fiat Chrysler, said it would build another joint venture battery factory in Indiana, and it has announced a battery plant in Canada.

Hyundai announced battery and assembly plants in May to be built in Georgia, and Vietnamese automaker VinFast announced factories in North Carolina in July. Honda and Toyota both announced U.S. battery plants after the act was passed, but they had been planned for months.

President Biden has been talking for a long time about the importance of building a domestic EV supply chain, and that may have prodded some of the companies to locate factories in the U.S. But it’s also advantageous to build batteries near where EVs will be assembled because the batteries are heavy and costly to ship from overseas.

And auto companies are rolling out more affordable electric options despite battery costs. The latest came last week from General Motors, a Chevrolet Equinox small SUV. It has a starting price around $30,000 and a range-per-charge of 250 miles, or 400 kilometers. Buyers can get a range of 300 miles, or 500 kilometers, if they pay more.

The Equinox checks the North American assembly box. It will be made in Mexico. The company won’t say where the battery will be made but it is working on meeting the other criteria for getting the tax credit.

Additional reporting by The Associated Press.

Source: newsy.com

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Expansion of Clean Energy Loans Is ‘Sleeping Giant’ of Climate Bill

Tucked into the Inflation Reduction Act that President Biden signed last week is a major expansion of federal loan programs that could help the fight against climate change by channeling more money to clean energy and converting plants that run on fossil fuels to nuclear or renewable energy.

The law authorizes as much as $350 billion in additional federal loans and loan guarantees for energy and automotive projects and businesses. The money, which will be disbursed by the Energy Department, is in addition to the more well-known provisions of the law that offer incentives for the likes of electric cars, solar panels, batteries and heat pumps.

The aid could breathe life into futuristic technologies that banks might find too risky to lend to or into projects that are just short of the money they need to get going.

failure of Solyndra, a solar company that had borrowed about $500 million from the Energy Department, to criticize the Obama administration’s climate and energy policies.

Backers of the program have argued that despite defaults like Solyndra, the program has been sustainable overall. Of the $31 billion the department has disbursed, about 40 percent has been repaid and interest payments in the fiscal year that ended on Sept. 30, 2021, totaled $533 million — more money than the failed Solyndra loan.

The Energy Department’s loan programs began in 2005 under the George W. Bush administration but expanded significantly in the Obama era. The department provided a crucial loan that helped Tesla expand when it only sold expensive two-door electric sports cars; the company is now the world’s most valuable automaker.

Under the Trump administration, which played down the risks of climate change, the department’s loan office was much less active. The Biden team has been working to change that. Last month, the department said it planned to loan $2.5 billion to General Motors and LG Energy Solution to build electric-car battery factories in Michigan, Ohio and Tennessee.

complicate the qualification process.

  • Plug-In Hybrids: After falling behind all-electric cars, U.S. sales of plug-in hybrids have been surging. The high cost of electric cars and gasoline have given them an opening.
  • Car Crashes: Tesla and other automakers capture data from their vehicles to operate their products. Experts say the collected information could also improve road safety.
  • A Frustrating Hassle: The electric vehicle revolution is nearly here, but its arrival is being slowed by a fundamental problem: The chargers where people refuel these cars are often broken.
  • One beneficiary of the new loan money could be the Palisades Power Plant, a nuclear facility on Lake Michigan near Kalamazoo, Mich., that closed in May. The plant had struggled to compete in the PJM energy market, which serves homes and businesses in 13 states, including Michigan, New Jersey and Pennsylvania, and Washington, D.C.

    The Biden administration has made nuclear power a focal point of its efforts to eliminate carbon dioxide emissions from the power sector by 2035. The administration has offered billions of dollars to help existing facilities like the Diablo Canyon Power Plant — a nuclear operation on California’s coast that is set to close by the end of 2025 — stay open longer. It is also backing new technologies like small modular reactors that the industry has long said would be cheaper, safer and easier to build than conventional large nuclear reactors.

    The owner of the Palisades facility, Holtec International, said it was reviewing the loan program and other opportunities for its own small reactors as well as bringing the shuttered plant back online.

    “There are a number of hurdles to restarting the facility that would need to be bridged,” the company said in a statement, “but we will work with the state, federal government, and a yet to be identified third-party operator to see if this is a viable option.”

    Rye Development, a company based in West Palm Beach, Fla., that is working on several projects in the Pacific Northwest.

    geothermal power; old coal power plants as sites for large batteries; and old coal mines for solar farms. Such conversions could reduce the need to build projects on undeveloped land, which often takes longer because they require extensive environmental review and can face significant local opposition.

    “We’re in a heap of trouble in siting the many millions of acres of solar we need,” Mr. Reicher said. “It’s six to 10 million acres of land we’ve got to find to site the projected build out of utility scale solar in the United States. That’s huge.”

    Other developers are hoping the government will help finance technologies and business plans that are still in their infancy.

    Timothy Latimer is the chief executive and co-founder of Fervo Energy, a Houston company that uses the same horizontal drilling techniques as oil and gas producers to develop geothermal energy. He said that his firm can produce clean energy 24 hours a day or produce more or less energy over the course of a day to balance out the intermittent nature of wind and solar power and spikes in demand.

    Mr. Latimer claims that the techniques his firm has developed will lower the cost for geothermal power, which in many cases is more expensive than electricity generated from natural gas or solar panels. He has projects under development in Nevada, Utah, Idaho and California and said that the new loan authority could help the geothermal business expand much more quickly.

    “It’s been the talk of the geothermal industry,” Mr. Latimer said. “I don’t think we were expecting good news a month ago, but we’re getting more ready for prime time. We have barely scratched the surface with the amount of geothermal that we can develop in the United States.”

    For all the potential of the new law, critics say that a significant expansion of government loans and loan guarantees could invite more waste and fraud. In addition to Solyndra, the Energy Department has acknowledged that several solar projects that received its loans or loan guarantees have failed or never got off the ground.

    A large nuclear plant under construction in Georgia, Vogtle, has also received $11.5 billion in federal loan guarantees. The plant has been widely criticized for years of delays and billions of dollars in cost overruns.

    “Many of these projects are funded based on political whim rather than project quality,” said Gary Ackerman, founder and former executive director of the Western Power Trading Forum, a coalition of more than 100 utilities and other businesses that trade in energy markets. “That leads to many stranded assets that never live up to their promises and become examples of government waste.”

    But Jamie Carlson, who was a senior adviser to the energy secretary during the Obama administration, said the department learned from its mistakes and developed a better approach to reviewing and approving loan applications. It also worked more closely with businesses seeking money to ensure that they were successful.

    “It used to be this black box,” said Ms. Carlson, who is now an executive at SoftBank Energy. “You just sat in purgatory for like 18 months and sometimes up to two years.”

    Ms. Carlson said the department’s loans serve a vital function because they can help technologies and companies that have demonstrated some commercial success but need more money to become financially viable. “It’s there to finance technologies that are proven but perhaps to banks that are perceived as more risky,” she said.

    Energy executives said they were excited because more federal loans and loan guarantees could turbocharge their plans.

    “The projects that can be done will go faster,” said William W. Funderburk Jr., a former commissioner at the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power who now runs a water and energy company. “This is a tectonic plate shift for the industry — in a good way.”

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    Buffett’s Berkshire boosts Ally, Activision holdings; sheds Verizon

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    Aug 15 (Reuters) – Berkshire Hathaway Inc (BRKa.N), run by billionaire Warren Buffett, has tripled its stake in online banking company Ally Financial Inc (ALLY.N) and increased its bet that “Call of Duty” video game maker Activision Blizzard Inc (ATVI.O) will be acquired by Microsoft Corp (MSFT.O).

    In a Monday regulatory filing describing its U.S.-listed equity investments as of June 30, Berkshire also said it exited what was once an $8.3 billion investment in Verizon Communications Inc (VZ.N) and no longer owns Royalty Pharma Plc (RPRX.O), which buys drug royalties.

    The filing does not specify whether Buffett or his portfolio managers Todd Combs and Ted Weschler made specific purchases and sales, but investors often try to mimic what Berkshire does. Larger investments are normally Buffett’s.

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    Berkshire slowed its stock buying spree in the second quarter as U.S. stock markets fell, purchasing $6.2 billion of stocks and selling $2.3 billion. It had bought $51.1 billion and sold $9.7 billion in the first quarter.

    Nevertheless, Buffett’s conglomerate, which also owns dozens of businesses such as the BNSF railroad and Geico auto insurer, ended June with a $327.7 billion equity portfolio, led by $125.1 billion in Apple Inc (AAPL.O).

    It also invested more than $33 billion in two oil companies, Chevron Corp (CVX.N) and Occidental Petroleum Corp (OXY.N), as oil prices surged following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

    Berkshire has since purchased another $1.7 billion of Occidental stock, boosting its stake to 20.2%. read more It also owns $10 billion of Occidental preferred stock.

    In the second quarter, Berkshire’s Ally stake grew to 30 million shares from about 9 million, while its Activision stake grew to 68.4 million shares, worth $5.3 billion, from 64.3 million.

    The Activision investment is a form of arbitrage, where Buffett appears to be betting that investors are pessimistic that regulators will approve Microsoft’s proposed $68.7 billion takeover of the company.

    According to Monday’s filing, Berkshire also increased its holdings during the second quarter in Apple, Celanese Corp (CE.N), Chevron, Markel Corp (MKL.N), McKesson Corp (MCK.N), Occidental and Paramount Global (PARA.O).

    It reduced its holdings in General Motors Co (GM.N), Kroger Co (KR.N), Store Capital Corp (STOR.N) and US Bancorp (USB.N), the filing shows.

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    Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York, Editing by Franklin Paul and Josie Kao

    Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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    Why Aren’t There More Electric Vehicles On The Road?

    Electric vehicles are on the rise, as many consumers are considering an electric car over gasoline cars to save money.

    Opening up the butterfly doors of his Tesla Model X never gets old for Ron Zarbock. 

    The lifelong Utahn decided to buy an electric vehicle five years ago because he wanted to help the environment.  

    “It’s very inexpensive to operate, there’s no maintenance costs except for tires,” Zarbock said.  

    And more people are following his lead. 

    In July, Consumer Reports found a majority of Americans would buy or are considering getting an electric car — are still skeptical. 

    In a similar survey from market research firm JD Power, nearly a third hesitated because they just didn’t know enough about EVs.

    “I do like the savings as far as gas mileage, but I do have to find out more about them,” said Pam Taylor, who’s shopping for a new car.  

    Price is another speed bump.  

    More than half of shoppers told Consumer Reports they were put off by the costs of owning an EV.  

    It’s true that electric cars are generally more expensive than gasoline cars. 

    Data from Kelley Blue Book this year puts the average electric car at around $63,000. 

    That’s $15,000 higher than the auto industry average.  

    And what about fuel-ups? 

    The price to charge your EV can run about a third of the cost to fill up on gas each month.  

    But if you’re charging at home, you might see a $30-$60 bump in your energy bill. 

    Plus, 30 states charge hybrid and EV owners a fee to make up for the money they’re not paying in gas taxes, which help cover infrastructure costs. 

    Jack Marchbanks is the director at the Ohio Department of Transportation.  

    “Up until this point if you were driving an EV or a hybrid to the extent that you are not using gasoline you were not helping support the system on which you depend,” Marchbanks said.  

    And you won’t have to spend money on gas or changing your oil and filters.

    Last year the Department of Energy found EVs have lower scheduled maintenance costs than gas cars; a difference of $0.04 per mile. 

    That may sound small, but one analysis found that could save you over $8,000 during your EV’s lifetime. 

    Plus, there are government rebates for owning an EV, although they are limited. 

    “You have a tax credit based on which type of vehicle you buy. Some have run out, for instance the Teslas have run out because they were oversubscribed, but all the new models have the opportunity to generate a personal tax incentive,” said Kevin Kushman, CEO of Electrada.

    Even if more people were able to afford the cars, one-third of those surveyed by JD Power said they wouldn’t have any place to charge at home or at work. 

    The Department of Energy says there are nearly 43,000 charging stations nationwide, with around 120,000 individual ports.  

    But they’re not spaced out evenly, leading to a phenomenon dubbed range anxiety.

    Scott Fink is the owner of Volkswagen Wesley Chapel. 

    “We don’t get range anxiety with gas because there’s a gas station every mile,” Fink said. 

    Government data shows in some states there are as few as three charging stations for every 100,000 people. 

    And California has nearly the same amount of charging stations as the 39 states with the lowest count combined. 

    Arizona is getting over $76 million in federal dollars to boost charger accessibility, but leaders say it’s not as easy installing more of them. 

    Alexa Scholl is the Tucson Metro Chamber of Commerce Director of Government Affairs. 

    “One of the concerns is the cost. Also, the availability of the materials to install the infrastructure, with all the labor and supply chain shortages we are experiencing right now,” Scholl said.  

    Americans may also be holding off on EVs because of their love of big cars. 

    According to data from Edmunds, a car shopping website, 80% of the top 10 selling vehicles in the U.S. are either trucks or SUVs. 

    EVs are typically smaller. 

    But, a recent survey from Recurrent, the world’s leading analyst of EV battery health, found pre-sales for some electric trucks and SUVs are passing lifetime sales for older EV models. 

    EV salesmen acknowledge range was limited in the past. 

    But they say there are more makes and models that can fit drivers’ needs. 

    Hooman Shahidi is the president of Evpassport.com.  

    “It’s imperative that we understand what the vehicle that we’re driving is used for. There are vehicles out there with a hundred miles of range. There are vehicles out there with over 300 or with over 500 miles of range,” Shahidi said.  

    States are now in the driver’s seat to find solutions to consumers’ biggest concerns. 

    Like in Indiana, where the Department of Transportation is developing the world’s first wireless charging highway, with magnetic fields embedded in the road. 

    Or the Electric Highway Initiative, which aims to build the largest corridor of charging stations in the nation between eight western states.   

    “When you travel from Salt Lake City, Moab, Boulder or Zion, that you know when you get there, you’ll be able to charge that vehicle keep playing and then make it home,” said Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall.  

    Hesitation could wane as the government ramps up production efforts.  

    The White House announced this year $7.5 billion of the infrastructure bill will help buy new EV chargers. 

    President Joe Biden also issued an executive order last year, calling for half of all new cars to be electric or plug-in hybrids by 2030.

    And popular car brands are plugged in to the need. 

    Like General Motors, which declared that it will only produce electric powered cars by 2035. 

    Source: newsy.com

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    Electric Cars Are Too Costly for Many, Even With Aid in Climate Bill

    Policymakers in Washington are promoting electric vehicles as a solution to climate change. But an uncomfortable truth remains: Battery-powered cars are much too expensive for a vast majority of Americans.

    Congress has begun trying to address that problem. The climate and energy package passed on Sunday by the Senate, the Inflation Reduction Act, would give buyers of used electric cars a tax credit.

    But automakers have complained that the credit would apply to only a narrow slice of vehicles, at least initially, largely because of domestic sourcing requirements. And experts say broader steps are needed to make electric cars more affordable and to get enough of them on the road to put a serious dent in greenhouse gas emissions.

    would eliminate this cap and extend the tax credit until 2032; used cars would also qualify for a credit of up to $4,000.

    With so much demand, carmakers have little reason to target budget-minded buyers. Economy car stalwarts like Toyota and Honda are not yet selling significant numbers of all-electric models in the United States. Scarcity has been good for Ford, Mercedes-Benz and other carmakers that are selling fewer cars than before the pandemic but recording fat profits.

    Automakers are “not giving any more discounts because demand is higher than the supply,” said Axel Schmidt, a senior managing director at Accenture who oversees the consulting firm’s automotive division. “The general trend currently is no one is interested in low prices.”

    Advertised prices for electric vehicles tend to start around $40,000, not including a federal tax credit of $7,500. Good luck finding an electric car at that semi-affordable price.

    Ford has stopped taking orders for Lightning electric pickups, with an advertised starting price of about $40,000, because it can’t make them fast enough. Hyundai advertises that its electric Ioniq 5 starts at about $40,000. But the cheapest models available from dealers in the New York area, based on a search of the company’s website, were around $49,000 before taxes.

    Tesla’s Model 3, which the company began producing in 2017, was supposed to be an electric car for average folks, with a base price of $35,000. But Tesla has since raised the price for the cheapest version to $47,000.

    pass the House, would give buyers of used cars a tax credit of up to $4,000. The used-car market is twice the size of the new-car market and is where most people get their rides.

    But the tax credit for used cars would apply only to those sold for $25,000 or less. Less than 20 percent of used electric vehicles fit that category, said Scott Case, chief executive of Recurrent, a research firm focused on the used-vehicle market.

    The supply of secondhand vehicles will grow over time, Mr. Case said. He noted that the Model 3, which has sold more than any other electric car, became widely available only in 2018. New-car buyers typically keep their vehicles three or four years before trading them in.

    SAIC’s MG unit sells an electric S.U.V. in Europe for about $31,000 before incentives.

    New battery designs offer hope for cheaper electric cars but will take years to appear in lower-priced models. Predictably, next-generation batteries that charge faster and go farther are likely to appear first in luxury cars, like those from Porsche and Mercedes.

    Companies working on these advanced technologies argue that they will ultimately reduce costs for everyone by packing more energy into smaller packages. A smaller battery saves weight and cuts the cost of cooling systems, brakes and other components because they can be designed for a lighter car.

    You can actually decrease everything else,” said Justin Mirro, chief executive of Kensington Capital Acquisition, which helped the battery maker QuantumScape go public and is preparing a stock market listing for the fledgling battery maker Amprius Technologies. “It just has this multiplier effect.”

    $45 million in grants to firms or researchers working on batteries that, among other things, would last longer, to create a bigger supply of used vehicles.

    “We also need cheaper batteries, and batteries that charge faster and work better in the winter,” said Halle Cheeseman, a program director who focuses on batteries at the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy, part of the Department of Energy.

    Gene Berdichevsky, chief executive of Sila Nanotechnologies, a California company working on next-generation battery technology, argues that prices are following a curve like the one solar cells did. Prices for solar panels ticked up when demand began to take off, but soon resumed a steady decline.

    The first car to use Sila’s technology will be a Mercedes luxury S.U.V. But Mr. Berdichevsky said: “I’m not in this to make toys for the rich. I’m here to make all cars go electric.” 

    A few manufacturers offer cars aimed at the less wealthy. A Chevrolet Bolt, a utilitarian hatchback, lists for $25,600 before incentives. Volkswagen said this month that the entry-level version of its 2023 ID.4 electric sport utility vehicle, which the German carmaker has begun manufacturing at its factory in Chattanooga, Tenn., will start at $37,500, or around $30,000 if it qualifies for the federal tax credit.

    Then there is the Wuling Hongguang Mini EV, produced in China by a joint venture of General Motors and the Chinese automakers SAIC and Wuling. The car reportedly outsells the Tesla Model 3 in China. While the $4,500 price tag is unbeatable, it is unlikely that many Americans would buy a car with a top speed of barely 60 miles per hour and a range slightly over 100 miles. There is no sign that the car will be exported to the United States.

    Eventually, Ms. Bailo of the Center for Automotive Research said, carmakers will run out of well-heeled buyers and aim at the other 95 percent.

    “They listen to their customers,” she said. “Eventually that demand from high-income earners is going to abate.”

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    Congress OKs Bill To Aid U.S. Computer Chip Firms, Counter China

    By Associated Press
    July 28, 2022

    The measure now goes to President Joe Biden to be signed into law, and it provides the White House with a major domestic policy victory.

    The House on Thursday passed a $280 billion package to boost the semiconductor industry and scientific research in a bid to create more high-tech jobs in the United States and help it better compete with international rivals, namely China.

    The House approved the bill by a solid margin of 243-187, sending the measure to President Joe Biden to be signed into law and providing the White House with a major domestic policy victory. About two-dozen Republicans voted for the legislation.

    “My plea is put politics aside. Get it done,” President Biden said before the vote, adding it would give the U.S. “the ability not only to compete with China for the future, but to lead the world and win the economic competition of the 21st century.”

    Republicans argued the government should not spend billions to subsidize the semiconductor industry and GOP leadership in the House recommended a vote against the bill, telling members the plan would provide enormous subsidies and tax credits “to a specific industry that does not need additional government handouts.”

    Rep. Guy Reschenthaler, said the way to help the industry would be through tax cuts and easing federal regulations, “not by picking winners and losers” with subsidies — an approach that Rep. Joseph Morelle, said was too narrow.

    “This affects every industry in the United States,” Morelle said. “Take, for example, General Motors announcing they have 95,000 automobiles awaiting chips. So, you want to increase the supply of goods to people and help bring down inflation? This is about increasing the supply of goods all over the United States in every single industry.”

    Some Republicans viewed passing the legislation as important for national security. Rep. Mike McCaul, the top Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said it was critical to protect semiconductor capacity in the U.S., which he said was too reliant on Taiwan for the most advanced chips. That could prove to be a major vulnerability should China try to take over the self-governing island that Beijing views as a breakaway province

    “I’ve got a unique insight in this. I get the classified briefing. Not all these members do,” McCaul said. “This is vitally important for our national security.”

    The bill provides more than $52 billion in grants and other incentives for the semiconductor industry as well as a 25% tax credit for those companies that invest in chip plants in the U.S. It calls for increased spending on various research programs that would total about $200 billion over 10 years, according to the Congressional Budget Office.

    A late development in the Senate — progress announced by Wednesday night by Democrats on a $739 billion health and climate change package — threatened to make it harder for supporters to get the semiconductor bill over the finish line, based on concerns about government spending.

    Rep. Frank Lucas, said he was “disgusted” by the turn of events on Capitol Hill.

    Despite bipartisan support for the research initiatives, “regrettably, and it’s more regrettably than you can possibly imagine, I will not be casting my vote for the chips and science act today.”

    Additional reporting by The Associated Press.

    Source: newsy.com

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    The Federal Reserve Will Once Again Begin Raising Interest Rates

    To ease inflation for Americans, the Federal Reserve will once again raise interest rates.

    The Federal Reserve is expected to once again raise interest rates in an effort to ease inflation. 

     Brian Deese is the director of the National Economic Council.  

    “I think the state of the economy is demonstrating resilience in the face of very significant global economic challenges,” Deese said. 

    The expected hike, of three quarters of a percentage point, would put interest rates at 2.25% to 2.5%. 

    That’s more than two points higher than the zero to 0.25% it started at in March. 

    The White House, meanwhile, is touting areas where prices are easing, such as the gas pump. 

    “I’ve been working to make sure that when the price of oil comes down, the price at the pump comes down as well and comes down in real time,” President Biden said.  

    This comes as major companies, the economic engines of the country, forecast persistent issues that will keep their prices hard to drop. 

    “I think we’re going to see supply challenges throughout this year and into next,” said Mary Barra, the CEO of General Motors. 

    Rates spiked to make purchases on everything from new homes to new cars more expensive. 

    “We’re watching it very carefully. We always look at affordability, but we’re still seeing really strong demand for our products,” Barra said.  

    Economists are optimistic the U.S. system can handle higher interest rates ahead of another report this week. It’s expected to show shrinking GDP. 

    Two quarters in a row of shrinking GDP is typically considered a recession. 

    But this time the Biden administration economists are pointing to positive indicators like employment and consumer spending, to argue against that label. 

    “Certainly in terms of the technical definition, it’s not a recession,” Barra said.  

    Source: newsy.com

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    Rivian Loses Its Shine as Investors Fret About Production Delays

    The company also did not tell investors that its chief operating officer, Rod Copes, a Harley-Davidson veteran, left the company last year. Public companies and those in the process of listing their shares generally disclose the departures of top executives. The news was first reported by The Wall Street Journal.

    Ms. Mast said Mr. Copes had a “phased transition from Rivian in fall 2021, prior to the I.P.O.” and retired in December, after the offering.

    Mr. Copes, 55, said in an interview that he did not leave Rivian because of concerns about his performance or because there were problems with production. He said that he had achieved key goals and that the structures were in place for Rivian’s ramp-up in production. “It was a smooth and seamless transition,” Mr. Copes said.

    But corporate governance experts think Rivian ought to have disclosed his impending departure to investors during the I.P.O., given his senior role. “If they knew he was leaving, the optimal disclosure would have been to identify their C.O.O. but indicate that he was leaving,” John C. Coffee Jr., a professor at Columbia Law School, said in an email.

    According to one former executive, Rivian has a poor management culture.

    The executive, Laura Schwab, said she was fired last year from a high-ranking sales and marketing position after expressing concerns about what she called the “boys’ club culture” and “gender discrimination” at the company. She filed a lawsuit in state court in California accusing Rivian of violating the state law prohibiting employment discrimination and retaliation.

    Ms. Schwab said she had been part of 30 vehicle introductions in prior auto industry jobs, including at Aston Martin and Jaguar Land Rover. Soon after arriving at Rivian, she said, she felt compelled to express concerns that the company was in danger of missing delivery targets.

    “The production line doesn’t go from zero to thousands of cars overnight; it just doesn’t work that way,” she said.

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    Why This Could Be a Critical Year for Electric Cars

    Sales of cars powered solely by batteries surged in the United States, Europe and China last year, while deliveries of fossil fuel vehicles were stagnant. Demand for electric cars is so strong that manufacturers are requiring buyers to put down deposits months in advance. And some models are effectively sold out for the next two years.

    Battery-powered cars are having a breakthrough moment and will enter the mainstream this year as automakers begin selling electric versions of one of Americans’ favorite vehicle type: pickup trucks. Their arrival represents the biggest upheaval in the auto industry since Henry Ford introduced the Model T in 1908 and could have far-reaching consequences for factory workers, businesses and the environment. Tailpipe emissions are among the largest contributors to climate change.

    While electric vehicles still account for a small slice of the market — nearly 9 percent of the new cars sold last year worldwide were electric, up from 2.5 percent in 2019, according to the International Energy Agency — their rapid growth could make 2022 the year when the march of battery-powered cars became unstoppable, erasing any doubt that the internal combustion engine is lurching toward obsolescence.

    The proliferation of electric cars will improve air quality and help slow global warming. The air in Southern California is already a bit cleaner thanks to the popularity of electric vehicles there. And the boom is a rare piece of good news for President Biden, who has struggled to advance his climate agenda in Congress.

    more than a dozen new electric car and battery factories just in the United States.

    “It’s one of the biggest industrial transformations probably in the history of capitalism,” Scott Keogh, chief executive of Volkswagen Group of America, said in an interview. “The investments are massive, and the mission is massive.”

    But not everyone will benefit. Makers of mufflers, fuel injection systems and other parts could go out of business, leaving many workers jobless. Nearly three million Americans make, sell and service cars and auto parts, and industry experts say producing electric cars will require fewer workers because the cars have fewer components.

    Over time, battery ingredients like lithium, nickel and cobalt could become more sought after than oil. Prices for these materials are already skyrocketing, which could limit sales in the short term by driving up the cost of electric cars.

    The transition could also be limited by the lack of places to plug in electric cars, which has made the vehicles less appealing to people who drive long distances or apartment residents who can’t charge at home. There are fewer than 50,000 public charging stations in the United States. The infrastructure bill that Congress passed in November includes $7.5 billion for 500,000 new chargers, although experts say even that number is too small.

    could take decades unless governments provide larger incentives to car buyers. Cleaning up heavy trucks, one of the biggest sources of greenhouse gas emissions, could be even harder.

    Still, the electric car boom is already reshaping the auto industry.

    The biggest beneficiary — and the biggest threat to the established order — is Tesla. Led by Elon Musk, the company delivered nearly a million cars in 2021, a 90 percent increase from 2020.

    Tesla is still small compared with auto giants, but it commands the segment with the fastest growth. Wall Street values the company at about $1 trillion, more than 10 times as much as General Motors. That means Tesla, which is building factories in Texas and Germany, can easily expand.

    “At the rate it’s growing now, it will be bigger than G.M. in five years,” said John Casesa, a former Ford executive who is now a senior managing director at Guggenheim Securities, at a Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago forum in January.

    Most analysts figured that electric vehicles wouldn’t take off until they became as inexpensive to buy as gasoline models — a milestone that is still a few years away for moderately priced cars that most people can afford.

    But as extreme weather makes the catastrophic effects of climate change more tangible, and word gets around that electric cars are easy to maintain, cheap to refuel and fun to drive, affluent buyers are increasingly going electric.

    outsold diesel cars in Europe for the first time. In 18 countries, including Britain, more than 20 percent of new cars were electric, according to Matthias Schmidt, an independent analyst in Berlin.

    study.

    Inevitably, a transition this momentous will cause dislocation. Most new battery and electric car factories planned by automakers are in Southern states like Georgia, Kentucky, North Carolina and Tennessee. Their gains could come at the expense of the Midwest, which would lose internal combustion production jobs.

    Toyota, a pioneer in hybrid vehicles, will not offer a car powered solely by batteries until later this year. Ram does not plan to release a competitor to Ford’s Lightning until 2024.

    Chinese companies like SAIC, which owns the British MG brand, are using the technological shift to enter Europe and other markets. Young companies like Lucid, Rivian and Nio aim to follow Tesla’s playbook.

    Old-line carmakers face a stiff learning curve. G.M. recalled its Bolt electric hatchback last year because of the risk of battery fires.

    The companies most endangered may be small machine shops in Michigan or Ontario that produce piston rings and other parts. At the moment, these businesses are busy because of pent-up demand for all vehicles, said Carla Bailo, chief executive of the Center for Automotive Research in Ann Arbor, Mich.

    “A lot of them kind of have blinders on and are not looking that far down the road,” Ms. Bailo said “That’s troubling.”

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