Congress Aims to Put 700,000 EVs on the Road in Six Years

By · June 01, 2010

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In the wake of an ever-worsening oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, dual bills were introduced last week in the U.S. House and Senate that would seek to turn half of new U.S. cars and trucks electric by 2030, and put 700,000 new EVs on American roads by 2017. The Electric Vehicle Deployment Act of 2010 “promotes the rapid, near-term deployment of plug-in electric drive motor vehicles,” according to a press release from the office of Senator Merkley (D-Oregon), one of the bill's co-sponsors.

The bipartisan EVDA calls for the Secretary of Energy to disburse funding to strategically chosen “deployment regions,” which would serve as hot zones for electric vehicle adoption. Though the goals and strategies of the two bills are similar they're not identical.

The House bill would distribute $800 million to each of five deployment communities around the nation, providing rebates of at least $2,000 for the first 100,000 vehicles in each. The bill would also provide an additional $2,000 credit toward the purchase of home chargers, with up to $50,000 going to businesses that install multiple charging stations for their employees and customers.

The Senate bill would create between five and 15 deployment communities, disbursing $250 million to each. It would raise the total rebate each EV consumer is eligible for to $10,000 for each new vehicle purchased—including, for the first time, heavy and medium-duty hybrids. Finally, the bill would earmark $1.5 billion for battery research and create a $10 million prize to the first company to produce a battery capable of yielding 500 miles of range on a single charge.

The total cost of the legislation would be $10 billion for Senate bill and $11 billion for the House version.

The new incentives would buttress a $7,500 EV rebate first passed under President Bush and extended as part of the 2009 stimulus package. Many states have their own initiatives as well, including a $5,000 rebate in California.

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An Increased Sense of Urgency

The proposed legislation comes amid heightened public concern about America's oil dependence, as BP continues to fail to stem the Deepwater Horizon spill that is shaping up to be one of the biggest environmental disasters in the nation's history.

Several major electric vehicle releases are on the horizon, but early adoption is expected to be limited due to high prices and low volumes of production. The Electric Vehicle Deployment Act hopes to stem some the extra cost and encourage interested buyers to act sooner rather than later in purchasing their first electric cars.

"As the recent BP spill has shown, America's dependence on oil carries with it massive economic and environmental risks," said Senator Merkley. "By accelerating the adoption of electric vehicles, we can take a major step in moving away from oil.”

New to EVs? Start here

  1. Seven Things To Know About Buying a Plug-In Car
    A few simple tips before you visit the dealership.
  2. Incentives for Plug-in Hybrids and Electric Cars
    Take advantage of credits and rebates to reduce EV costs.
  3. Buying Your First Home EV Charger
    You'll want a home charger. Here's how to buy the right one.