Kentucky Gov. Beshear Pushes Back on Trump-Led EV Attacks

Since Mid-2020, EV-Related Firms Have Announced Nearly $12B in Investments in Bluegrass State
Andy Beshear
“Jobs are so much more important than the political rhetoric that’s out there day in and day out,” Beshear says. More than 10,200 full-time jobs related to EVs have been created in Kentucky since mid-2020. (Timothy D. Easley/Associated Press)

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FRANKFORT, Ky. — Electric vehicles have built up enough momentum from job growth and investments to steer past any roadblocks from Donald Trump and other critics, Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear said June 6.

The Democratic governor said the thousands of EV-related jobs springing up across the country, including in rural GOP strongholds, should be enough to overcome the political backlash against the technology.

“Jobs are so much more important than the political rhetoric that’s out there day in and day out,” Beshear said during a sit-down interview with AP.

In the Bluegrass State, the emerging EV sector has been a big contributor to the state’s record pace of economic growth. Since mid-2020, EV-related companies have announced nearly $12 billion in investments and are expected to produce more than 10,200 full-time jobs. That includes the state’s largest-ever economic development project under construction, which will produce batteries to power future Ford and Lincoln electric vehicles.

RELATED: Some Long-Range EVs Now Cost Less Than Average New Car in US

The governor dismissed the barrage of anti-EV attacks from former Republican President Trump and others as “just another attempt to divide people.”

Donald Trump


“A lot of people have tried to fight the future, and none of them have ever won,” Beshear said. “The EV evolution or revolution is coming. The only question is how long will it take to get here.”

The emergence of EVs has become an issue in the presidential campaign. Democratic President Joe Biden promotes electric vehicles as a key component of his clean-energy agenda. Trump, the presumptive GOP presidential nominee, calls Biden’s push for EVs a “radical plan” that amounts to government overreach. Meanwhile, Republican allies in the petroleum industry have spent millions on ads that say Biden’s tax credit for EV buyers will cost Americans their freedom.

Joe Biden


Beshear said the attacks won’t impede Kentucky’s EV sector. Since winning re-election last year, the governor has taken a more active role in promoting Democrats across the country. Beshear defeated Trump-backed candidates twice in winning the governorship in GOP-leaning Kentucky,

“This is coming,” Beshear said of the EV industry. “It is already growing. And Kentucky is going to be a leader in this EV evolution ... and it’s exciting. And it’s a huge number of jobs.”

RELATED: Kentucky Lawmakers Override Veto, OK Fully Autonomous Vehicles

“At the end of the day, regardless of who wins the presidential election, there are going to be so many jobs and so much investment that the EV sector is going to continue to grow,” he added.

GM CEO Mary Barra said at the company’s annual shareholders meeting June 4 that May was the company’s best sales month for electric vehicles. Spokesman David Caldwell declined to give U.S. numbers but said GM sold about 9,000 vehicles in North America. Previously the best month was around 7,000, he said.

Vehicles on highway in Kentucky

Several trucks on Interstate 65 in Shepherdsville, Ky. (John Sommers II for Transport Topics)

But the EV sector still faces headwinds. A new poll indicates that many Americans remain skeptical of electric vehicles. About 4 in 10 U.S. adults say they would be at least somewhat likely to buy an EV the next time they buy a car, according to the poll by the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research and the Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago. Some 46% say they are not too likely or not at all likely to purchase one.

Beshear said June 6 that the poll revealed encouraging signs for the EV sector. The number of adults indicating they’d be at least somewhat likely to buy an EV “is a heck of a start in looking at the transition that we know is going to occur,” he said.

“So I don’t view that as bad news at all,” Beshear added. “Four in 10 consumers is more than enough to support where we are right now as a state. But that’s going to grow over time.”


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Range anxiety — the idea that EVs cannot go far enough on a single charge and may leave a driver stranded — continues as a major reason why many Americans do not purchase electric vehicles. In ridiculing EVs, Trump says “they don’t go far enough, and they’re too expensive.”

In Kentucky, Beshear recently announced a third round of awards to private developers to build federally funded EV charging stations. In all, the state has approved 42 charging stations from 11 developers to provide “reliable and convenient places to charge vehicles that are located every 50 miles along our interstates and our parkways. This is just the start,” Beshear said at a recent news conference. That total doesn’t include the charging stations others are building in the state.

Beshear predicted EVs will overcome charging and pricing concerns — as well as the political attacks. And their availability will free motorists from anxiety over gas prices, he said.

“One of the things that we see every single day when we drive around is the price of gas,” he said.

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