By on May 27, 2010

The Detroit News reports that two versions of the Electric Drive Vehicle Deployment Act of 2010 will be introduced today in the House and Senate. Both bills would spend about $11b by sending $800 million to $1 billion five to eight “deployment communities.” One of the EDVDA’s bipartisan sponsors, Rep Judy Biggert (R-IL) explains that these funds

will help regional communities establish themselves as models for the development and installation of the next generation of transportation infrastructure, including public charging stations

The bill is being backed by several small EV firms, like A123 Systems and Bright Automotive, under the rubric of the Electrification Coalition. And despite the fact that everyone loves a good subsidy, the mainstream automakers are not amused.

According to spokesfolks from the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, which represents foreign and domestic mainstream automakers, the proposed legislation

risks resulting in federal resources becoming overly concentrated in a small number of communities, which could establish electric cars as boutique vehicles… Electric cars and their infrastructure should be available to everyone nationwide, not just people in select communities

Another sign that the big boys don’t like this bill: not a single member of Michigan’s congressional delegation has signed onto the bills yet. In an interview with EETV, the Electrification Coalition’s Policy Director Sam Ori defends the bills’ local focus as necessary to keep government costs down and maintain fiscal responsibility.

The legislation is said to require qualifying local regions to put 700k EVs on the road in six years and extend $2,000 local tax breaks for EV purchases. The federal funds would be spent to extend tax credits for purchasing home charging equipment, and funding detailed local infrastructure-building plans. And according to a late-breaking tweet from the DetN’s David Shepardson, the

Senate bill creates a $10 million prize for whoever invents the 500-mile battery

Legislation has not yet been posted online, but we’ll link to the bills as soon as they become available.

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2 Comments on “$11b Electric Drive Vehicle Deployment Act Introduced, Industry Says “No Thanks”...”

  • avatar

    I wonder what the real reason for opposing this those mainstream automakers might have. Perhaps simply that they aren’t making any electric cars at the moment, so more of the benefit would go to whichever of their competitors get there first.

    On the other side, it’s a bit absurd to be talking about fiscal responsibility while contemplating the idea of throwing a few billions of dollars at EVs. I suppose that should be translated as “that’s all the money it’s possible to get for my cause, for the moment.”

    It’s not as if the market just needs a little push and then the electric car will take off for real, this time. If that were the case it would’ve done so already, sometime in the past hundred years. The lack of infrastructure is not much of a barrier; it’s not like it’s particularly difficult to find access to electricity. So we’re presumably going to need continued massive government support to keep people buying them until the world changes to the point where they actually make sense. Some day there will be better batteries and more expensive gasoline. I’m sure that having perhaps a few million more electric cars than there might otherwise be running around while we wait for that day serves some great social purpose that justifies spending all that money.

    Oh right, climate change, that’s it. It’s a really innovative approach; instead of putting a tax on CO2 emissions (as they effectively do with some apparent success in Europe for example) they’ll just pay people money to buy battery-powered cars. This way, they tax everyone who doesn’t buy one, whether or not they drive at all. The costs are spread more widely and are nicely hidden, so it’s clearly much more fair this way. It leaves the vast majority who will still power their motors with gasoline with no particular incentive to burn less of it, but they’ve come up with the new and improved CAFE for that, now with triple the complexity and double the perverse incentives. Oh, government, your wisdom is truly astounding.

    • 0 avatar

      I believe the point of supporting several communties with infrastructure developments and extra money for purchase incentives is to overcome the oft-repeated lie that electric vehicles aren’t useful in the current civilization. By concentrating incentives to several major cities a critical mass of reliable electric transport has the ability to overcome all the detractors (who convienently come from the petro industry and it’s captive industries in Automobile production, Public and Industrial Transit systems, and within the federal gov’t. It doesn’t have to be about climate change – it CAN be about financial stability, national security, healthy communities, noise pollution and more if sticks like the first commenter will get out of the way of the carrots offering a solution.

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