Print 73 comment(s) - last by fleabag.. on Jun 28 at 9:32 AM

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.

Comments     Threshold

This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled

RE: Fines
By walk2k on 6/23/2010 6:28:31 PM , Rating: -1
I don't have a problem with people in the trades owning pickup trucks or other large vehicles they NEED to get their work done. As a matter of fact I own 3 pickup trucks for my business, including a 3/4 ton F250, and I need them all. I just think you should have to have a contractor's license or other legit business to own a pickup truck or other large truck... and SUVs are just plane stupid, NOBODY needs those.

As far as towing boats etc... those are luxury items and should be taxed as such.

RE: Fines
By Nfarce on 6/23/2010 7:59:02 PM , Rating: 5
I just think you should have to have a contractor's license or other legit business to own a pickup truck

Spoken like a true fascist liberal wingnut.

As far as towing boats etc... those are luxury items and should be taxed as such.

They already are, genius. They are taxed at purchase and taxed annually by the state they are registered in. Kinda like cars.

RE: Fines
By shin0bi272 on 6/24/2010 12:31:04 PM , Rating: 1
I hope that something you want is taxed out of your price range due to some lobbyist or environmentalist group not liking it. There's lots of plastic in those video games you undoubtedly play 24/7 when youre not in class with the rest of your teenage friends... Plastic comes from oil so lets tax video games and consoles at 1000%! Are you pissed off now? Your favorite past time is being called evil because someone else doesnt like it. Your means of escape from reality is being taxed an obscene amount because of people with deep pockets and a D in math. Are you pissed off yet? How about we start taxing KY jelly so you and your boyfriend cant afford it and you and he have to rape each others assholes dry because ky is a petrolium based product and it comes in a plastic tube... So it must be taxed! How about 500 dollars a tube? Are you pissed off yet?

"Spreading the rumors, it's very easy because the people who write about Apple want that story, and you can claim its credible because you spoke to someone at Apple." -- Investment guru Jim Cramer

Copyright 2015 DailyTech LLC. - RSS Feed | Advertise | About Us | Ethics | FAQ | Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information | Kristopher Kubicki