President Obama is set to announce today a $1 billion initiative that will assist communities around the country in developing the backbone infrastructure needed for the deployment of clean, advanced fuel technology vehicles. The President will announce the National Community Deployment Challenge initiative along with a proposal to expand the $7,500 tax credit for advanced, fuel-efficient vehicles to new technologies and raise the ceiling on the credit to $10,000. He’ll also unveil a new research challenge to make electric vehicles affordable to own and more convenient for the public to adopt. His remarks will be made at Daimler Trucks North America‘s manufacturing plant in Mt. Holly, North Carolina, where the most advanced alternative fuel and hybrid electric technologies in the trucking industry are being used to reduce environmental impact.

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The National Community Deployment Challenge is putting the call out to be named as one of the 10 or 15 model communities that will get federal investments to install infrastructure for alternative fuel vehicles. The President’s administration knows that in order for the public to feel comfortable adopting electric vehicles or fuel cell cars they need to feel safe about being able to use them in the same way they use their gasoline powered vehicles. This means necessary installations of fuel-cell refilling stations and EV charging stations within the communities involved. The administration sees these communities as real world laboratories where this technology can be tested.

The President also believes that the public could use a bit more incentive to buy more fuel efficient vehicles, so expanding the tax credit and increasing the amount of cash available for each consumer will assist in that. He’s also proposing to expand the alternative fuel tax incentive to heavy-duty trucks. By increasing the access to alternative fuel vehicles — many of which are made in America — the President is hoping demand for these cars and trucks will rise therefore securing manufacturing jobs at the facilities where they are made. In addition to increasing tax incentives, the President knows those can’t hold up forever so he’s asking for the brightest scientists to put their minds to developing technology that makes EV’s more affordable. He’s calling this program “EV Everywhere” and he hopes it will make electric vehicles affordable for the average american family within the decade.

The setting for the President’s announcement couldn’t have been better chosen. The heavy-duty trucking industry is often seen as a gas-guzzling, emission behemoth, and Daimler Trucks is one company that is making massive strides to change that image. The company’s commitment is showcased in their partnership with the Energy Department’s SuperTruck initiative, which is hoping to make heavy-duty trucks 50% more fuel efficient by 2015. Eighteen-wheelers, as most people know them, make up only 4% of the vehicles on the road, but eat up 20% of the country’s vehicle fuel consumption — they use 30 billion gallons of gasoline per year. Increasing the fuel efficiency of these trucks could not only reduce fuel-dependence and emissions significantly, but could save truckers $15,000 in annual fuel costs.

+ The White House

+ Daimler Trucks

Lead photo courtesy of the White House of President Obama