Biden Seeks to Boost Farm, Construction Vehicle Electrification

  • Funding will help electrify tractors, rail, boats, planes
  • Department wants to reduce fossil fuel reliance, Granholm says

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The Biden administration wants to spur the electrification of the transportation sector beyond traditional cars.

The Energy Department plans Thursday to announce it will spend $96 million to reduce emissions by pushing forward the technology and charging infrastructure needed to electrify tractors, construction equipment, planes, trains, boats, and other off-road vehicles. The funding will also be focused on alternative fuels, which could further reduce emissions.

“Achieving President Biden’s climate goals will require expanding accessibility to electric vehicles for all drivers and modernizing vehicles that power the agricultural and construction industries,” Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm said in a statement.

The funding announcement comes as the Biden administration accelerates its efforts to reduce pollution from transportation, which generates the largest share of the nation’s greenhouse gas emissions, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. President Joe Biden has set a goal of reaching net-zero emissions by 2050 — an effort that increasingly hinges on action by federal agencies after Democrats’ efforts to pass climate legislation faltered in Congress.

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Photo: Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg via Getty Images
The Solectrac Inc. electric tractor is displayed during during the World Agriculture Expo in Tulare, Calif., on Feb. 11, 2020.

Applicants for the funds need to show how proposed projects will help disadvantaged communities that lack access to clean energy, the department said. The commitment follows Biden’s Justice40 Initiative, in which he pledged to commit 40% of the benefits of federal spending to such communities.

The program is funded by annual appropriations. The department said the spending complements the billions of dollars from the infrastructure law (Public Law 117-58) designated for electric vehicle charging stations. The administration is working to deploy those separate funds now to meet Biden’s goal of deploying 500,000 chargers across the country by 2030.

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“To strengthen our transportation sector to support our growing economy, DOE is investing in clean mobility options that will eliminate harmful emissions, reduce our reliance on volatile fossil fuels, and cut energy costs,” Granholm said.

The money will support research, development and demonstrations for cleaner non-road engine or propulsion technologies.

The Transportation Department is also working to reduce emissions. The Federal Highway Administration proposed a rule earlier this month that would require state transportation departments and metropolitan regions to set their own targets to reduce emissions and report on progress.

To contact the reporter on this story: Lillianna Byington in Washington at

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Sarah Babbage at; Robin Meszoly at

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