General Motors, often a target for former President Donald Trump to go after on Twitter, is finding the opposite to be true under President Joe Biden.
In August of last year, Biden spilled the beans about GM’s plans for a future all-electric Corvette, creating social media buzz across Twitter.
Well, he’s done it again.
On Thursday, Biden tweeted a 4-minute video featuring former Michigan governor and now Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm and White House Climate Adviser Gina McCarthy riding in a Chevrolet Bolt EV, talking about the benefits of EVs and touting Biden’s proposed infrastructure plan known as the Bipartisan Infrastructure Framework.
The Bolt’s appearance was not product placement, in fact, GM executives were “surprised” by it, said Jeannine Ginivan, GM’s manager of public policy communications.
“We, obviously, are very excited that they used the Bolt to promote this,” Ginivan said. “But we were not involved.”
GM should be thrilled because the video has about 836,000 views so far. The Bolt got the starring gig by happenstance, said Seth Schuster, a spokesman for the White House, which produced the video.
The car is part of the U.S. Department of Treasury’s fleet, which was located right next to the White House. McCarthy’s office is also in the White House.
As it turns out, Granholm is very familiar with the car too. After she gets into the vehicle, she quickly asks McCarthy, “Have you ever driven a Chevy Bolt before?”
McCarthy says yes, noting they are in the federal fleet. Granholm says, “I have a Chevy Bolt. That is my car. I lease a Bolt and I lease solar panels, so I drive on sunshine, girl.”
“You are such a show-off,” McCarthy says, jokingly. Then she says, “EV’s are it. That’s where the future is going and I’m so glad we can support it.”
The White House used the Bolt in the video to demonstrate, “President Biden’s commitment to electrifying the federal fleet and passing the Bipartisan Infrastructure Framework and build up America’s EV infrastructure,” Schuster said.
There are 122 Chevrolet Bolts in the fleet that are leased by the General Services Administration, Schuster said. The Biden administration will continue acquiring EVs that meet the needs of agencies, he said.
When Biden tweeted the video, he wrote, “Folks, I’m a car guy — and I firmly believe the future is electric. Gina McCarthy and Secretary Granholm hit the road to talk about the Bipartisan Infrastructure Framework’s historic investments in electric vehicles and how we’re going to ensure the future is made in America.”
About 12:35 Thursday afternoon, GM CEO Mary Barra responded to the president’s tweet by retweeting it and writing that GM was, “loving your ride. At GM, we want to bring #everybodyin on the all-electric future, which includes creating EVs that are affordable, stylish, and especially fun to drive! The Bipartisan Infrastructure Plan can be an important part to create this future.”
Both Barra and Ford Motor Co. have signaled support for the EV push in Biden’s infrastructure plan, which includes a call for tax incentives, consumer rebates and other measures to spur development and sales.
“It’s been exciting to see this Administration as enthusiastic about an all-electric future as we are,” Barra said in an email to the Free Press. “I agree with Secretary Granholm and Gina McCarthy when they say, ‘EVs are it!’ “
GM has said it aspires for all its light-duty vehicles to be zero-emissions by 2035.
Currently, the only EV GM sells is the Bolt EV car and the Bolt EUV, a small electric SUV. They are built at Orion Assembly in Lake Orion.
But later this year, GM will launch the GMC Hummer EV pickup and has promised to deliver a total of 30 new EVs to market by 2025, including a Hummer EV SUV and the Cadillac Lyriq SUV, both coming next year.
To encourage EV adoption, Biden wants to build a national network of 500,000 charging stations along highways, in rural and disadvantaged communities. That’s why the White House did the video, Schuster said.
“This was a key provision of the Jobs Plan carried through in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Framework,” Schuster said. “So the White House decided to continue showcasing EVs in a new digital video with McCarthy and Energy Secretary Jen Granholm.”
As part of Biden’s commitment to addressing climate change, in January he signed an executive order to transition the federal fleet to zero emission vehicles, Schuster said. As of 2019, the federal government had about 645,000 vehicles in its fleet, with only a few thousand being electric.