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Obama wanted to increase federal subsidies for electric vehicles to almost $590 million, but Congress never gave the green light

U.S. President Barack Obama planned to increase federal subsidies for electric vehicles to almost $590 million, but Congress has not yet approved this hefty agenda.

The $590 million EV boost was presented in Obama's 2011 State of the Union address, where $200 million of that total would be put toward EV infrastructure development in up to 30 cities. The idea reflected bipartisan bills brought to light in 2010.

"With more research and incentives, we can break our dependence on oil with biofuels, and become the first country to have a million electric vehicles on the road by 2015," said Obama in the 2011 State of the Union address. "We've begun to reinvent our energy policy. We're not just handing out money. We're issuing a challenge."

Congress still hasn't approved the policy changes for EVs, according to White House Press Secretary Jay Carney.

"There are absolutely things that remain undone that need to be done that he will call on all of us to work together to get done in this address and beyond," said Carney.

Obama is expected to talk today about an "economy fueled by homegrown and alternative energy sources that will be designed and produced by American workers."

Funding and loans for alternative energy have been scrutinized lately. In October 2011, Mitt Romney, a candidate for the 2012 Republican Party presidential nomination, blasted the $1 billion in loans given to Tesla and Fisker Automotive. That wasn't the first time he criticized aid to the auto industry, though. In 2008, he disagreed with former U.S. President George W. Bush's decision to give bailouts to U.S. automakers.

In September 2011, Rep. Mike Kelly (R-PA), a Hyundai and Chevrolet dealer, suggested killing off the $7,500 tax credit for EVs entirely.

"The bottom line is, while our nation borrows 42 cents on every dollar, taxpayers are paying for an electric vehicle tax credit that has cost tens of millions of dollars, and that largely benefits upper-income Americans," said Kelly.

Obama, however, planned to convert the $7,500 federal tax credit for EVs into a rebate that would be given to customers upon purchasing an electric vehicle. He made this announcement in January 2011.

To make matters worse, EVs have been placed under the spotlight due to recent battery troubles associated with General Motors' Chevrolet Volt. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration conducted a series of tests in May and November last year where three separate Volt batteries sparked or caught fire after side-impact tests.

Electric vehicles are not the only targets for alternative energy-related criticism. Back in September 2011, Silicon Valley-based solar panel company Solyndra went bankrupt after receiving a $535 million loan from the Obama administration in 2009. The move was set to stimulate economic growth through environmentally friendly jobs, but government employees warned back in 2009 that Solyndra would indeed go bankrupt in a matter of two years. The loan pushed through anyway in order to meet political deadlines.

Source: The Detroit News

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RE: Hydrogen??
By AEvangel on 1/24/2012 1:45:39 PM , Rating: 3
If they are so viable and such a part of the future remove ALL Govt Subsides and let them compete. If they are the future as you think and so needed then they will prevail with out any assistance.

RE: Hydrogen??
By yomamafor1 on 1/24/2012 4:10:45 PM , Rating: 1
If we took that route for the airplanes a century ago, they would've never taken off.

RE: Hydrogen??
By ebakke on 1/24/2012 4:52:58 PM , Rating: 2
Prove it.

Statements like that are just complete BS. There's now way we could possibly know what would've happened if a different course of action was taken. You might believe that airlines wouldn't have become large, profitable companies. But unless you have an alternate universe machine, you can hold off sharing your "facts".

RE: Hydrogen??
By Nfarce on 1/24/2012 9:18:44 PM , Rating: 2
You're kidding, right? Or maybe I should say Wright? The Wright brothers built in their garage.

What early US aircraft manufacturers were subsidized like we see today in the Volt? Civilians and later the companies they formed built them and then in a few short years the military saw them as weapons platforms.

Their first mass production was for WWI. Those were bought straight out, not subsidized. You may be confusing "airplanes" for the airlines which early on were subsidized...just like rail companies...and GE's diesel electric locomotives...which continues today.

RE: Hydrogen??
By Paj on 1/25/2012 12:57:42 PM , Rating: 2
Great! While you're at it, lets remove all subsidies for fossil fuels too. Also, we should probably remove tax incentives for any industry altogether. The invisible hand will sort everything out!

"Intel is investing heavily (think gazillions of dollars and bazillions of engineering man hours) in resources to create an Intel host controllers spec in order to speed time to market of the USB 3.0 technology." -- Intel blogger Nick Knupffer

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