Automotive electrification is too important for one company > GSA Business

Amid the exuberance at BMW’s recent announcement of a $1.7 billion investment in two upstate projects, it was Senator Lindsey Graham who, though full of praise for the automaker, said BMW couldn’t do it alone.

Electrifying the US car fleet is too big a business for any one company and too big even for the corporate sector alone, he said.

“This vision that was announced here today will only come true if we deserve it, if we embrace the future, if we realize we can’t get there on our own,” Graham said as l was one of the speakers at BMW’s announcement last month, which was moderated by BMW Group Chairman Oliver Zipse of Munich. “That government and business must be partners. You can’t do this, Mr. President, without the help of state, local and federal authorities, so here’s the one thing I want to promise you and all of your associates: South Carolina will be there for BMW. as you transform your business. What you have (in government support) for the past 30 years, you will get for the next 300 years.

Graham called BMW’s plans to invest $1 billion in the expansion of the Greer plant and another $700 million in a new battery plant in Woodruff as one of the “biggest announcements in the world.” ‘story of South Carolina, not only because of the money but because when they write the (book) on vehicle electrification in the United States, South Carolina will be in the first chapter.

He said the plans put political leaders at the local, state and federal levels on the ground floor of the biggest shift in industrial policy of modern times, likening it to the shift from horse and buggy to car. The Republican pointed out that it is business, not government, that has made the shift to electric vehicles a reality, even as it saves a spot for gasoline and diesel engines.

“BMW is going to lead the world, not just South Carolina, in vehicle electrification, with the understanding that choice will always matter,” Graham said.

Because of what it takes to make electricity and an electric battery, the senator said the government’s role must be important.

“I don’t know who the budget chair will be, but if I’m the budget chair, we’re going to have a hearing on what it means for America that an automaker like BMW is going down the road of vehicles. electrical.” Graham said. “Where do the parts for the battery come from? Where do the raw materials come from. Here’s the truth; we’ll never be able to make the battery in America without having materials from outside the country. So with these partnerships, batteries are becoming the new oil How do you charge the car In the $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill, which I voted for, there’s a lot of money to speed up charging stations How to build a battery that lasts longer and farther Where do you get the materials How to turn a raw material into a real battery that goes into the car What will happen to the oil industry in 40 years? ?

The role of electric companies and gas stations will change, Graham said.

“The change that is about to come from an electrified fleet means power companies are going to have to change the way they do business. What are you plugging the car into? How to double the generation and reduce it in carbon? One thing leads to the next,” Graham said. “We plan to develop small modular reactors in South Carolina to provide clean energy, a non-emitting energy source in the nuclear field. If we don’t have a holistic approach to power generation, you can’t get there from here. Fossil fuels will be with us for many decades to come and we need to find as many of them as possible so that we don’t depend on people out there who don’t really like us. So we have to do a lot of things at the same time. We need a plan to make it work.

Graham promised Zipse that he and the state’s elected leaders would be BMW’s partners in the journey to an electric vehicle fleet of American cars. He said the state would become the Detroit of vehicle batteries.

“The vision you presented today is bold, exciting and transformative. And all of those adjectives — none of them apply to Congress,” he said. “So we’re going to have to be bold, we’re going to have to be transformative, we’re going to have to be nimble. This is the one thing Republicans and Democrats should agree on: When it comes to vehicle electrification, we should lead the world; we should not follow.

Contact Ross Norton at 864-720-1222.

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