Lawmakers Roll out Bipartisan Vehicle Innovation Act

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Several lawmakers have reintroduced the Vehicle Innovation Act, a bipartisan, bicameral bill to promote investments in the research and development of clean vehicle and advanced safety technologies.

U.S. Sens. Gary Peters, D-Mich., Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., and Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., along with U.S. Reps. Debbie Dingell, D-Mich., and Haley Stevens, D-Mich., introduced the legislation, which is designed to increase fuel efficiency and reduce the nation’s dependence on foreign oil, according to the lawmakers. Previously, Peters, Alexander and Stabenow proposed a similar bill, and Dingell led the bill in the House.

“Researchers, designers and scientists at companies across Michigan are working to ensure that the next generation of cars and trucks are safer and more efficient,” says Peters. “This bipartisan bill will help ensure that American manufacturers lead this new era of auto innovation by encouraging the development of cutting-edge clean vehicle technologies that increase fuel mileage, save consumers money and create jobs.”

The bill identifies potential fuel-saving technologies as vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure communications, mild hybrid, engine down speeding, power pack modeling and testing, advanced boosting systems, new vehicle sensing and communication, hydrogen and natural gas refueling, and electric vehicle charging technology. The legislation also authorizes critical resources for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Vehicle Technologies Office to encourage research to ensure steady funding is available to help manufacturers keep pace with emerging advanced technologies that have the potential to reduce fuel costs.

“This legislation builds on the progress made by investing in successful research programs that will help improve vehicle efficiency – saving consumers money at the pump, improving energy security and keeping us on the cutting edge of fuel efficiency technology,” says Dingell. “I’m proud to introduce this legislation that will support jobs and ensure the cars and trucks of the future continue to be built in Michigan.”

The legislation is supported by groups including the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), the BlueGreen Alliance, the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, the Motor & Equipment Manufacturers Association (MEMA), and the UAW.

“With the help of strong federal and state standards, automakers have shown that they can innovate and deliver vehicles that are safer, cleaner and more efficient,” says Luke Tonachel, director for clean vehicles and fuels at NRDC. “An acceleration in federal research will deliver even greater fuel savings, helping our climate, the air we breathe and the pocketbooks of drivers.”

“We all want consumers to have access to new technologies that allow cars and trucks to be more fuel efficient and produce lower emissions. The Vehicle Innovation Act makes that possible,” notes Bill Long, MEMA’s president and CEO. “This legislation brings together the best of public-private partnerships with support for domestic research and manufacturing activities to achieve that goal.”

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