By Brian Donahue
The electric car movement has a good friend in President Barack Obama. After dedicating billions in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funding to electric drive components and battery manufacturing, the president is finding new ways to put electric cars on the street.
During his State of the Union address in January, Obama reiterated his goal of becoming the first country to have 1 million plug-ins on the road, a milestone he hopes to reach by 2015. He pledged more resources and incentives to help carmakers entice consumers to switch over from gasoline-powered cars, and said he would ask Congress to eliminate the billions in federal subsidies to oil companies, instead investing the money in alternative energy development.
The White House is expected to increase federal funding to $8 billion for green energy programs, with much of that channeled to the plug-in movement. White House National Economic Council Director Gene Sperling told the Detroit News that the president’s upcoming budget proposal will target funds to select communities to ramp up infrastructure such as charging stations in order to support the deployment of electric vehicles. Also, as a further incentive for consumers, the administration wants to convert the $7,500 income tax credit given to buyers of electric cars to a $7,500 direct purchase rebate.
Obama’s proposals are indeed good news for electric car advocates, and for the many carmakers getting into the plug-in game and trying to comply with stricter standards on greenhouse gas emissions and fuel economy.
The Detroit News story can be viewed here.
Brian Donahue’s article, “Trading the Pump for the Plug,” appeared in the winter 2011 issue.