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US Senators Introduce Bill to Promote Plug-In Electric Drive Vehicles, Including Plug-In Conversions

US Senate Finance Committee members Senators Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and Orrin Hatch (R-UT), and Senator Barack Obama (D-IL) have introduced a bill to support the development of commercially viable plug-in electric drive vehicles (PEDVs), including pure battery-electric, plug-in hybrid electric, and plug-in fuel cell vehicles.

The bill—the Fuel Reduction using Electrons to End Dependence On the Mideast Act of 2007, or FREEDOM ACT (S.1617)—would provide four significant tax incentives:

  • A tax credit for consumers who purchase plug-in electric or plug-in hybrid electric vehicles. Freedom Plug-in Credits would cover the consumer purchase of vehicles which use batteries and which plug into the electric grid for at least part of their power. This would include plug-in electrics, plug-in hybrids, and others.

    The amount of the credit is a $2,000 base plus $400 for each kilowatt hour of traction battery pack capacity in excess of 2.5 kWh, with a cap of $7,500 for passenger vehicles of up to 10,000 pounds. A GEM (gasoline-ethanol-methanol) flex-fuel plug-in or a plug-in vehicle warranted by its manufacturer to run on biodiesel  receives an extra $150. The same is true for heavier duty vehicles, except that the caps are scaled up for each vehicle weight class and range from $10,000 to $20,000.

  • A tax credit through the end of 2010, for consumers who convert their existing hybrid electric vehicles to high quality plug-in hybrid vehicles. The credit is either the amount calculated as above (with a $4,000 cap), or 50% of the cost of the conversion pack, whichever is less. Only kits that are of a standard configuration, mass-produced, and certified by NHTSA would qualify for a Freedom Conversion Credit.

  • First-year expensing for the US manufacture of plug-in vehicles and of major components of plug-in vehicles, such as batteries, electric motors, and electronic controllers; and

  • A tax credit for electric utilities that provide rebates to customers who buy plug-in vehicles. The amount of the government reimbursement would be based on the rate of greenhouse gas emissions for each utility.

With the rapid industrialization of countries like India and China, the demand for gasoline is unprecedented, and that’s translated into higher costs at the pump. We’re already feeling the pain of that, and it’ll get worse unless we start shifting our transportation sector away from liquid fuels and on to electrons.

—Sen. Hatch

US Representative Lloyd Doggett (D-TX) has introduced similar legislation (H.R. 1331) in the House (earlier post), and expects the Ways and Means Committee to consider it by the end of the month.

(A hat-tip to Joe!)

Resources:

Comments

Well

Both Senate and House bills have yet to pass, so calls to Congress expressing support is important. One thing that should be considered is rooftop photovoltiac panels, added either to these bills or a companion bill. Plug-in Hybrid technology should also add V2G (vehicle-to-grid) capacity eventually. Both V2G and rooftop solar technologies match perfectly with Plug-in capability.

This summer's Blockbuster movie: "Transformers"

neptune

This is posted on the Hymotion website,

"Individual conversion modules will be available in early 2008. To sign up to receive notice when our BREMs become available, please fill out our Hymotion BREM Request Form."

I signed up hoping they will be offering a kit for my Camry Hybrid.

gr

Brad,

Toyota backed away from Li batteries for announced Prius HEV vehicles. The assumption (not confirmed) is they are not ready to commit to a Li battery pack for plug-in products.

http://www.autobloggreen.com/2007/05/30/toyota-to-delay-introduction-of-lithium-ion-batteries-in-the-pri/

Mark T

Foolish.

Without a Federal Tax incentive for Solar panel installations, this bill merely transfers the petroleum consumption from the vehicle to the utility.
It does nothing to reduce the total energy used.

Neil

Mark: please read my response to t1 posted above. Not only does an EV (PHEV) reduce total energy consumed it can get us off of petroleum.

Demetri

Neptune,
Thanks for the Hymotion BREM sign-up tip. I just signed up as well. This is a great bill.

Alex

This seems like a piece of legislation that will encourage American innovaton around a winning technology, unlike the research fuel cells.

It sad to see European manufacturers avoiding electric technologies (apart from Renault, who could spring a big surprise). With fuel prices what they are PHEVs are not far off being economically viable for consumers.

As for emissions (Neil), American generation is coal heavy, and emits a lot of CO2. I think a 1 ton EV would emit about 120g per km, which is actually worse than the best diesels. However, America might go nuclear, and the technolgy will spread to Europe which is less coal focused. In France, and EV will "emit" about 10g/km.

Also, I haven't taken into account the cost of oil refining and transport, nor the emissions profile of night time energy production.

Swen

The poster that mentioned adding incentives for installing
solar panels expressly for the purpose of charging your PHEV has the right idea. Then you can stop worrying about coal and all of its nasty byproducts.

I live in a new development and I see only 3 homes with
solar out of about 4,000. Pretty sad. The cost has to come
down or better rebates given to really get solar going.

It's good to see great progess lately with thin-film photovoltaics. That'll bring down the cost considerably.

litesong

The nuke promoters can crawl back into their glowing radiation cans & stop hooking themselves to every GHG reduction measure that comes down the road. This bill is for environmentalists. My Washington State produces electricity energy at only 4% of that produced by a gasoline car. Since passage of our renewable energy initiative last year, we'll drive that percentage even lower. Other utilities can pass renewable energy initiatives too & have our numbers to shoot for...all without nukes.

Reese

I would much rather see our Losers in Congress pass Legislation to help rebuild our Streetcar and Trolleybus
System.It needs to be done NOW,not when the last Gallon of Gas is being auctioned off to the highest Bidder,which certainly will not be anybody in our Country.
This dabbling and porkbarreling must be stopped!!

Mark

There is a great analysis of "Why Electric Cars are Better" on the www.freedomformula.org website along with a Three-Step conversion plan. The Plan starts with lead acid batteries in a very inexpensive Series Hybrid car (remember AC electric motors only have one moving part). Even this simple hybrid could reduce fuel consumption in private vehicles by 60%, so Why Aren't We Doing This!!! For the last 30 years, there has been an avalanche ready to fall (on oil companies and non-responsive auto makers) and I think this legislation could kick it off.

Tom C

The passage of this Bill would be a serious threat of reducing Exxon Mobile's (and other big U.S. oil companies') profits. I anticipate our "fearless leader" will Veto it.

Mike

I still can't believe that there is no way to incorporate a generator or alternator system to charge the batteries while the auto is moving. If we can make the brakes recharge then everything that turns should have a belt or direct drive system for an alt. Why are the large corporations not looking at this.

Dave

There is a way to incorporate an alternator system to charge batteries on your car. It has been used in car for about 100 years.
How do you think your car battery get it's energy?

Dave

A belt from your crankshaft does connect to your alternator and charge the batteries.
Maybe I didn't understand the question?

Bev Marker

Is there any chance that small MH or conversion Vans would come under this deal? We have a Toyota Prius now and would love to get a MH or Conversion Van that was fuel efficient. We are retired and it would mean the world to us.

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