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Biden calls for expansion of electric vehicle market in remarks from Michigan

President Joe Biden
Posted at 6:32 AM, May 18, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-18 18:06:37-04

President Joe Biden lobbied for more American innovation in electric vehicles Tuesday in remarks delivered at a Ford plant in Dearborn, Michigan.

Biden's remarks came after he took a tour of the facility, which is currently being used to assemble Ford's new electric pickup truck.

"The future of the auto industry is electric," Biden said. "The question is whether we'll lead or fall behind."

Biden also addressed a worldwide computer chip shortage caused by the COVID-19 pandemic that's slowing car production in the U.S. He called for increased domestic manufacturing of the chips so that the U.S. would be less reliant on imports.

"Never again should we be faced with the situation we face today with the semiconductor shortage," Biden said.

Biden also touted his administration's efforts to purchase American-made products on federal contracts and his support of union jobs.

Biden's visit comes just hours before Ford publicly unveils the new Ford F-150 Lightning electric truck.

"A couple of months ago, a couple of people said to me, 'wouldn't it be good to invite the president to the unveiling of the F-150 vehicle?' I spoke with the UAW and they thought it was a good idea," said Rep. Debbie Dingell, D-Michigan.

"The president really wanted to get to Dearborn to visit the Ford Electric Vehicle Center because we have the iconic F-150," White House National Climate Advisor Gina McCarthy said.

The F-150 Lightning is the latest electric vehicle (EV) truck development, following announcements by GM, Rivian and Tesla. In its push to advance climate change policy, the White House has called on companies to develop more green cars.

Michelle Krebs of Autotrader said the U.S. still in the early stages of EV development, as less than 2% of all vehicle sales are for electric cars and trucks.

Biden's visit to Dearborn also comes also amid conflict between Israel and Palestine in the Middle East.

Biden has expressed his support for Israel repeatedly. The Israeli government is bombarding families in Gaza and more than 200 people have died.

Human rights groups — including the American Human Rights Council — have encouraged the Biden administration to condemn Israel's actions in Gaza.

"We urge you to act swiftly, fairly and justly to end the human suffering that the Israeli war on Gaza is imposing on its population," said Imad Hamad, the executive director of the American Human Rights Council in a letter to Biden. "The fact that Israel bombed the media's building is evidence that Israel is hitting civilian targets. the goal of the Israeli war is to harm the population and terrorize it. This is an illegal and immoral war."

During his remarks on Tuesday, Biden offered well wishes to Rep. Rashida Tlaib — the congresswoman representing the Dearborn area, whose family lives in the West Bank region of the Middle East.

Several days of protests from pro-Palestinian groups have taken place across the country. Now, Biden's visit to Dearborn — the city with the nation's highest concentration of Arab Americans — comes with a new perspective.

This story was originally published by Scripps station WXYZ in Detroit.