Senate Considers $454 Billion Swap to Nationwide Electrification

senate considers 454 billion swap to nationwide electrification

On Thursday, Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) proposed a $454 billion plan aimed at converting the United States from a gasoline-powered nation to one driven primarily by electricity. Under the 10-year plan, automotive consumers would get rebates ranging from $3,000 to over $5,000 (based on efficiency), plus another $2,000 for low-income buyers, for the purchase of electric vehicles made in America.

“This proposal to bring clean cars to all of America will be a key component of the far-reaching climate legislation from Senate Democrats, and I’m proud it has a broad coalition of support,” the senior senator said in a statement.

Much like the haphazard way Schumer insists on wearing glasses at the outermost tip of his nose, begging for gravity to take them, his plan has us mildly concerned.

From Reuters:

The plan would “reduce the number of carbon-emitting cars on the road, create thousands of good-paying jobs, and accelerate the transition to net-zero carbon emissions by mid-century,” Schumer said.

It would adopt rules similar to the 2009 $3 billion “Cash for Clunkers” plan that sought to stimulate U.S. auto sales.

Schumer’s proposal would provide $45 billion for additional EV charging stations and $17 billion in incentives for automakers to build new factories or retool existing ones to assemble zero-emission vehicles or charging equipment with a goal that by 2040 “all vehicles on the road should be clean.”

Firstly, don’t we already have something like this? Standing EV tax credits already do a lot to offset the higher entry price of electric cars. While some manufacturers have already reached their 200,000-vehicle quota, kicking off a phase-out, other companies can continue taking advantage of it, with consumers writing off a significant portion of their purchase. Schumer’s plan would continue subsidizing these vehicles — to the tune of $14,500 in some cases.

Its relationship to Cash for Clunkers is also mildly alarming. The 2009 program actually ended up being terrible for the environment by ignoring the key tenant of conservation. Old cars were simply disposed off, with few seeing any recycling action, while factories had to emit more pollution to build their replacements. That effectively created an abundance of waste in a bid to stimulate the U.S. economy.

While largely incongruent with the Trump administration’s fuel rollback idea, which would freeze existing emission mandates at 2020 levels through 2026, Schumer said the plan would massively cut down on oil consumption. It’s currently supported by multiple environmental groups, among them the Sierra Club, Natural Resources Defense Council, and League of Conservation Voters.

United Auto Workers President Gary Jones claimed Schumer’s proposal “honors the sweat and sacrifice of American autoworkers by investing in domestic manufacturing of electric vehicles and incentivizing high quality jobs across the auto supply chain.” Ford Motor Co. and General Motors also expressed appreciation for the effort taken to advance electrification, especially in regard to infrastructure support and consumer incentives. However, both have a vested interest in EVs and have dumped billions into development programs.

Presently, there’s no legislative text for the proposal — and with good reason. Democrats would need a majority in the Senate for it to go anywhere. Schumer is likely running it up the flagpole to create buzz in the event that Republicans lose their majority in the 2020 election. He claims the plan’s ultimate aim is to make all vehicles sold in the U.S. “clean” by 2040, estimating that roughly 25 percent of U.S. vehicles could be electrically driven within the next 10 years.

[Source: Reuters] [Image: michelmond/Shutterstock]

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  • Joe K Joe K on Oct 28, 2019

    Politics aside, this wouldn't get me to buy a electric car, or for that matter any new car. At 30-35K that's a lot of money to pay for a throw away car, which is what most new cars are.

    • Highdesertcat Highdesertcat on Oct 28, 2019

      Joe K, "this wouldn’t get me to buy a electric car" A very good friend of mine in Visalia, CA has two Tesla Model S, one for him, one for his wife. This past summer they undertook a road trip from Visalia, CA to Littleton, CO, and back in his Tesla. Using "A Better Route Planner" they had to make 15 re-fueling stops to get to Littleton. To me, that's insane. I fill up with gas ~every 300 miles or so, or whenever one of us needs to pee. But that does not amount to 15 refueling stops in each direction.

  • Art Vandelay Art Vandelay on Oct 28, 2019

    I'm cool with it. If they are going to take the giant chunk of my income every year that they currently do, I may as well have a means to "redistribute" some of it back to me instead of giving ot to a bunch of societal leeches.

  • Jkross22 My use case is perfect for an EV. I drive about 10 miles/day tops, have a home so I can recharge at night, love how much more efficient an EV is over its ICE counterpart and love the instant torque, quietness, lack of moving parts/reliability/cost of maintenance. I'm the poster child for EV ownership.But I don't have one and don't see buying one anytime soon. As intriguing as they are, there is no way in Haiti I'm dropping 50 large minimum to buy one. Not gonna happen. The Bolt looks like a toe, I really don't like Tesla interiors, I love the Lucid and Polestar 2, the H/K electrics are interesting but look at the price of all of these.
  • ToolGuy The only good thing about this car is the wheelbase.
  • MaintenanceCosts So someone really did build that car I drew while not paying attention in second grade. Too bad they screwed it up so badly.
  • MaintenanceCosts A bit after that experience, my family ended up owning an '88 Accord and an '87 Taurus--Detroit's big triumph--at the same time. The win for the Accord wasn't total; the Taurus's engine was better and it was quieter. But the difference in build quality and refinement can't be overstated.There were no rattles in the Accord, the materials are to this day some of the best in any car I've ever owned, every control operated with precision and just the right feel, and the ergonomics were perfect. By contrast, the Taurus was full of rattles from the day we got it, had hard plastic and slapdash fits all over the interior, had mouse-fur upholstery that showed wear by 60k miles, some parts of the control layout were nonsensical, and my car had a number of obvious assembly defects (including silver front bumper paint that all peeled off within five years). The cars' records in service also contrasted dramatically; the Taurus's lower purchase price (as a used car with similar mileage) was totally offset within a few years by higher repair costs.The thing that really puts an exclamation point on the contrast between the two cars is just how much better the Taurus was than its Fox-based predecessors.
  • Art Vandelay I am sure somewhere, somebody is saddened by this.