In his State of the Union address last night, President Obama highlighted his goal of making the United States the first country in the world to put one million advanced technology vehicles on the road by 2015. Following a tour of the Ener1, Inc. factory today, Vice President Biden outlined the Administration’s new plan for reaching that goal.
The Administration’s new three-part advanced technology vehicle plan—to be proposed in the new Budget—will include supporting electric vehicle manufacturing and adoption in the US through generous new consumer rebates; investments in R&D; and a new competitive program to encourage communities to invest in electric vehicle infrastructure.
Rebates. The President is proposing to transform the existing $7,500 tax credit for electric vehicles into a rebate that will be available to all consumers immediately at the point of sale, similar to “Cash for Clunkers”. The current individual credit will be reformed into a tax credit claimable by dealers or financers with clear transparency requirements to ensure the benefit of the credit is passed on to consumers.
R&D. Building on Recovery Act investments, the President’s Budget proposes enhanced R&D investments in electric drive, batteries, and energy storage technologies. This year’s Budget will significantly broaden R&D investments in technologies like batteries and electric drives—including a more than 30% increase in support for vehicle technology R&D and a new Energy Innovation Hub devoted to improving batteries and energy storage for vehicles and beyond.
Infrastructure. The President is proposing a new initiative that will provide grants of up to $10 million each to up to 30 communities that are prioritizing advanced technology vehicle deployment.
The President’s Budget proposes expanding funding for vehicle technologies by almost 90% to nearly $590 million and enhancing existing tax incentives. The Recovery Act already included $2.4 billion in spending for battery and electric drive component manufacturing, and for electric drive demonstration and infrastructure.
Supported by Recovery Act investments, battery costs are projected to drop by 50% by 2013 or 2015. US-based manufacturers will be able to produce enough batteries and components to support 500,000 plug-in and hybrid vehicles by 2015, according to the Administration. The Recovery Act is also supporting the deployment of infrastructure for advanced technology vehicles.
Also, the US GSA is preparing an initial purchase of 100 plug-in hybrid electric vehicles that are anticipated to be delivered in 2011 together with more than 40,000 alternative-fueled and fuel-efficient vehicles that will replace aging and less-efficient sedans, trucks, tankers, and wreckers for Federal agencies across the country.