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Chevy Volt

Nissan Leaf
Congress is also considering more tax credits for EVs and hybrids over vocal voices for and against such measures

In the wake of what some are calling the worst environmental disaster in U.S. history, many Americans are looking at energy alternatives to fossil fuels -- nuclear power, solar, wind, and geothermal -- with new eyes.  A critical part of that equation is developing vehicles that can tap those energy sources.  With the first EVs from the world's major auto companies set to launch later this year, the pressure -- and excitement -- is on for this new market.

One critical question is how to implement an EV friendly infrastructure.  Part of the charm of the gas or diesel engine is that you can fill up your tank virtually anywhere in the country within minutes.  Faster chargers could do almost that for EVs -- charging them within 15-30 minutes.  However, it will take a massive investment to deploy these chargers across the nation.

The Obama administration is pushing legislation in the Senate that would invest taxpayer money to create EV chargers and other infrastructure in 15 key areas, much like the government's investment in rail a century and a half ago.  Energy Department Assistant Secretary David Sandalow told the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee states, "Starting with a smaller number (of communities) would allow us to focus resources and build a team of experts that can support a more widespread rollout.  We need to invest in 21st-century technologies."

The bill would come at a cost of $10B USD to taxpayers – many say that's a small cost, though.  Sandalow states, "The direction of the bill is a good one.  We think this moves in a very positive direction."

That direction would be towards President Obama's goal of having 1 million electric vehicles on America's streets by 2015.  The bill in the Senate, authored by Sen. Byron Dorgan, D-N.D., and two others, would put the $10B USD towards giving $250M USD to up to 15 communities.  A House version of the bill comes in at $6.6B USD and would give $800M USD to five "deployment communities" to put 700,000 EVs on the streets.  Both bills have been criticized for including two few communities, which critics say could slow adoption.

A separate bill is even more controversial.  The bill would give tax credits or direct government-funded rebates to buyers of efficient vehicles like hybrids or electric vehicles, while fining those who buy less fuel efficient vehicles like truck and large SUVs.  The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, a trade group representing Detroit's Big Three carmakers, Toyota Motor Corp. and seven other automakers, opposes the measure.  

Kathryn Clay, the group's research director, states, "We believe the legislation should allow manufacturers, fuel providers and communities the flexibility to invest in multiple electric drive pathways, including fuel cell electric vehicle and related hydrogen infrastructure.  We have significant concerns about an approach that would limit investments to a handful of communities, particularly at such an early stage of electric vehicle deployment. This creates a small number of communities that would 'win' and receive significant federal dollars while the rest of country loses out."

Recent surveys indicate growing interest in electric vehicles, though.  And Nissan's initial production run of 14,000 2011 Nissan Leaf EVs has already been sold out via pre-orders.  In total, 20,000+ pre-orders have been placed.  The launch of the 2011 Chevy Volt by General Motors is anticipated to draw similar excitement later this year.

Still the movement has some informed skeptics.  Jan Kreider, an engineering professor and the founder of the University of Colorado's Joint Center for Energy Management, states, "There are inherent chemical limits to what a battery can do."

Robert Bryce, a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute, a think tank, adds, "All-electric cars are the next big thing, and they always will be."

With vocal voices on both sides, the ball is now in Congress's court to find a consensus between the House and Senate on what, if any EV-related measures are best for Americans, and how to be encourage the new industry.



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Maybe...
By Masospaghetti on 6/23/2010 5:41:38 PM , Rating: -1
Congressmen need to grow a pair and enact a gasoline fuel tax instead. The idea is to reduce petroleum consumption; this is the most direct way to encourage consumers into using less fuel. Period. All of these other taxes are credits are workarounds that make the subject more politically palatable, but at a significant reduction in effectiveness.

For example, why should I get punished if I buy a truck for work duty only and drive it 2,000 miles a year? Shouldn't the clown that drives his Prius 30,000 miles a year get punished just as much because hes using more fuel than I am?

This is another measure that gives more power to politicians and allows them to pander to those who support them. Imagine...soon, there will be exemptions for Seniors, Military, the Poor, Government employees, etc...Not to say these folks don't deserve better, but not at the expense of everyone else, who will be picking up the tab.

Is this the direction we really want to go? We all know where it leads.




RE: Maybe...
By Reclaimer77 on 6/23/2010 6:30:12 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Congressmen need to grow a pair and enact a gasoline fuel tax instead.


We already have those.

I have a better idea: Go f#@$ yourself.


RE: Maybe...
By YashBudini on 6/23/2010 11:43:40 PM , Rating: 2
Good thinking.

No wait


RE: Maybe...
By piroroadkill on 6/24/10, Rating: -1
RE: Maybe...
By piroroadkill on 6/24/10, Rating: 0
RE: Maybe...
By zombiexl on 6/24/2010 10:57:31 AM , Rating: 2
So because your country is fucked up ours should be too? I'm pretty damn sure theres a reason we fought for freedom from English rule.

We already pay taxes on fuel. Speaking of taxes, during some recent research I found (what i already suspected) that people pay more in taxes to the government on a pack of cigarettes than the company making the product makes. Should fuel be the same way? I don't think so and I doubt anyone who actually knows anything about history would disagree.


RE: Maybe...
By JediJeb on 6/24/2010 2:42:37 PM , Rating: 2
I am starting a study on what happens to large centralized governments and so far it doesn't look good. Go back into history to the Persian Empire, the Roman Empire, then England, France and Spain during their Colonial times and others. Once the power became centralized instead of spread out (like the Greek City States or the state and local US governments) and tribute or taxes were raised to allow the centralized government take care of the citizens instead of the burden being spread out in a decentralized manner, problems began. Governments become corrupted, taxes are increased to cover the perceived needs of the citizens to keep them happy and the rulers in power. Eventually every one of these "Empires" crumbled. Usually it comes as a mixture of dissent from within and attacks from the outside. The Founding Fathers of the US realized this and it why they set up our government as a tiered division of power to be distributed to Federal, State, and Local governments.

Today in the US we are beginning to see this taken away as the leaders are trying to bring us more and more into a heavily centralized government that controls every aspect of our lives. The question is will the US soon follow the path of all other governments of this type in the past? History says the odds are good the same will happen. Can anyone show an example of a large centralized government that has survived without collapsing? If so I would like to study that civilization to see where we might be able to improve ours today.


RE: Maybe...
By shin0bi272 on 6/24/2010 12:23:33 PM , Rating: 1
hey here's an idea... move! If you dont like the gas tax or the prices in the UK ... move!

For an idea of where you should move go here
http://heritage.org/index/Ranking.aspx

The higher the country is on the freedom index the better off you are... and hey Ireland is close to you and its even more free than the USA! Move there and stfu!


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