Biden has also proposed providing cash vouchers to consumers who trade in fossil fuel vehicles for U.S.-made electric models. The plans could be a boon to automakers that are investing billions in new EVs and are planning to unleash a large wave of those vehicles on the market, though customer acceptance of them, thus far, has been slow.
"A Democratic program probably would be more aligned with our worldwide strategy, which is really to fight climate change, to become electric," Volkswagen Group CEO Herbert Diess said during a Bloomberg News event last week. However, the automaker established "really a trustful relationship with the Trump administration and government."
Biden's EV plans — a centerpiece of his campaign — face an uphill battle. "What does a deadlocked Congress on that mean?" said Morningstar's Whiston. "It could be something like the $2 trillion number becomes a very different number — a much smaller number."
While regulation largely remains in the control of the executive branch, any kind of funding — whether it's spending, tax plans or trade policy — has to go through Congress, said Dziczek.
"It's the power of the purse," she said. "They're going to have to come to compromises on spending, and if those are not the goals of the Republican majority in the Senate … then those spending targets may be scaled back."
Several industry experts also say Biden is likely to pursue more stringent vehicle fuel-efficiency standards — similar to the Obama-era targets — and call off the litigation with California's Air Resources Board initiated by the Trump administration. That means automakers selling in the nation's largest auto market and world's fifth-largest economy would need to ramp up their efforts on EV sales, according to Eric Ibara, a senior analyst with Kelley Blue Book.
"Bottom line, though, more gridlock in Washington is not good for the automakers, who want clear, long-term policies," Ibara said. "And right now, it doesn't look like they will be getting that from D.C. beginning in January."