Gallery: Obama to Push Congress to Fund More Electric Vehicle Programs

 

President Obama reiterated his vision of seeing one million electric vehicles on the road by 2015 at yesterday’s State of the Union address. “With more research and incentives, we can break our dependence on oil with biofuels, and become the first country to have 1 million electric vehicles on the road by 2015,” Obama said.

Obama said he will ask Congress to fund new programs that support the sales and deployment of electric vehicles, including better consumer rebates and an investment into electric vehicle infrastructure. “Instead of subsidizing yesterday’s energy, let’s invest in tomorrow’s,” Obama said at the SOTU. The actual numbers will be released in the president’s budget proposal to Congress in mid-February.

Chevrolet and Nissan recently began selling plug-in cars, and other car manufacturers like Toyota, Mitsubishi, Ford and SMART are expected to launch their own electric models within the next year or two. But for electric cars to truly become mainstream, the auto industry will need help from federal officials to build a reliable charging infrastructure and to make electric cars more affordable.

Currently, electric cars, including the Volt and the Leaf, are supported by federal tax credits of up to $7,500. The Department of Education has also awarded about $8.3 billion out of a $25-billion loan program to Ford, Nissan, Fisker and Tesla for further research into electric vehicles and their batteries — which currently are the most expensive part of an EV. Michigan received an additional $1.36 billion in grants in 2009 for firms with advanced battery manufacturing plants in the state.

But even with increased investment, critics are skeptical if we will actually reach Obama’s 2015 goal. According to a forecast by J.D. Power and Associates we will be about 700,000 cars short of Obama’s 1 million goal.

WHY THIS MATTERS

Even if we don’t make it to Obama’s 1 million car target, getting close to that number will help us a long way towards reducing our dependence on foreign oil and creating more manufacturing jobs in an already battered auto industry.

Via Detroit News

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