Thursday, March 8, 2012

White House annouces $4.7b effort for advanced-technology vehicles, including EV Everywhere

 It's a big week for compressed natural gas vehicles, thanks to President Obama's announcement today that his administration wants to increase federal support for CNG vehicles by introducing a tax credit similar to the one in place for plug-in vehicles. Plug-in vehicles, too, could get a big boost – and a double-whammy at that – with the current tax credit exchanged for a point-of-sale rebate and an increase in the maximum value from $7,500 to $10,000. The President made the announcement today at a Daimler Trucks North America plant in North Carolina.

 The White House is proposing spending $3.7 billion on the the tax credits and another $1 billion that would go directly 10 or 15 communities through a "Race to the Top" challenge that will allow the local governments "to invest in the necessary infrastructure, remove the regulatory barriers, and create the local incentives to support deployment of advanced vehicles at critical mass." This challenge is "fuel neutral" and thus allows "communities to determine if electrification, natural gas, or other alternative fuels would be the best fit."

 The White House also announced a new "EV Everywhere" plan, which the White House described as, "a clean energy grand challenge to make electric-powered vehicles as affordable and convenient as gasoline-powered vehicles for the average American family within a decade." The White House says driving electric will save the average driver $100 a month, which will be much more valuable when the upfront cost of an EV drops and more people can afford one. To this end, EV Everywhere "will invest in breakthrough R&D for advanced batteries, electric drivetrain technologies, lightweight vehicle structures, and fast charging technology."

 As the President said in North Carolina today: Here is the truth. If we are going to control our energy future, then we've got to have an all-of-the-above strategy. We've got to develop every source of American energy – not just oil and gas, but wind power and solar power, nuclear power, biofuels. We need to invest in the technology that will help us use less oil in our cars and our trucks, in our buildings, in our factories. That's the only solution to the challenge. Because as we start using less, that lowers the demand, prices come down. It's pretty straightforward. That's the only solution to this challenge.

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