New House Bill Promotes Electric Vehicle Infrastructure

U.S. Reps. Edward J. Markey, D-Mass.; Jerry McNerney, D-Calif.; Judy Biggert, R-Ill.; and Anna Eshoo, D-Calif.; have introduced legislation designed to fast-track the deployment of electric vehicle (EV) and plug-in hybrid technologies.

The Electric Drive Vehicle Deployment Act would provide grants to help regional communities establish themselves as models for the successful development, installation and deployment of advanced EV infrastructure, including public charging stations. The bill also offers consumer incentives for the purchase of EVs, promotes utility modernization to accommodate EV deployment, provides assistance for the installation of charging infrastructure, and encourages domestic production of EV components.

According to the bill's sponsors, the legislation recognizes that major infrastructure challenges are complex, requiring flexibility and adaptation in different regions. The bill authorizes the secretary of energy to competitively award up to $300 million each to 10 different deployment communities around the country, which would then serve as domestic hubs for EV manufacturing and deployment.

The act guarantees a consumer benefit of at least $2,000 (beyond existing tax credits or other federal and local incentives) for the first 50,000 EV consumers within each deployment community. In addition, it extends to 2014 federal tax credits for the purchase and installation of EV charging equipment for individuals (up to $2,000) or businesses (up to $50,000 for multiple equipment purchases). Finally, the bill authorizes additional development, deployment and manufacturing incentives for EV technologies, including bond authority and a limited number of smaller grants for municipalities not selected as deployment communities.

“In my home district, researchers at Argonne National Laboratory are leading the charge on advanced vehicle battery technology, and their work is already paying dividends in terms of energy savings, American jobs and U.S. competitiveness,” says Biggert, referring to a recent manufacturing agreement between Argonne, LG and General Motors for the Chevy Volt.

“If we're ever to break our addiction to expensive foreign oil, we're going to have to give a jump-start to sound alternatives,” she continues. “Consumers want to enjoy a cheaper, gas-free commute, but they need to have confidence in their access to things like charging stations, and the Electric Drive Vehicle Deployment Act will put us on the fast track to electrification,’ she says. ‘This legislation provides a cost-effective way to mobilize local, federal and private resources, and keep the U.S. at the forefront of an industry that represents the future of transportation.”

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