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Summary:

Here are 10 things you should know about two legislative proposals that could play a big role in how the nascent electric vehicle market takes shape over the next 20 years.

The Electric Drive Vehicle Deployment Act of 2010, introduced in Congress this week, has a simple goal to electrify half of all cars and trucks on U.S. roads by 2030, and a basic strategy: focus the might of the federal government on a small number of pilot communities around the country, subsidizing the buildout of charging infrastructure and purchase of electric vehicles.

But when it comes to implementing that strategy, the legislation (which is now up for debate in two slightly different versions proposed in the House and the Senate, H.R. 5442 and S. 3442, respectively) gets somewhat more complicated. Here are 10 things you should know about a pair of proposals that could play a big role in how the nascent electric vehicle market takes shape over the next 20 years:

How much will the legislation cost?

The Senate bill is estimated to have an overall cost of $7-$10 billion over five years. The House bill is estimated to cost about $11 billion over five years.

Where would the funding come from?

The House version calls for regional governments to sell $100 million in bonds to help fund the infrastructure buildout. Other funding sources are unclear or yet to be determined.

Who would hold the purse strings?

The Department of Energy. The House bill calls for the Secretary of Energy to award $800 million-$1 billion (through a competitive application process) to five cities or transportation corridors, including at least one focused on heavy-duty electric vehicles. The Senate bill calls for the DOE to award $250 million in grants for up to 15 communities.

What’s the timeline?

Under the House bill, qualifying criteria for pilot communities would be released within 120 days and communities would be selected within a year of the bill’s enactment.

What’s in it for consumers?

  • House: The first 100,000 consumers purchasing EVs in each of the five chosen pilot communities could get rebates or other incentives of at least $2,000 per car, and up to a $2,000 tax credit on the purchase and installation of charging equipment. (Businesses could get up to a $50,000 credit for purchase and installation of multiple charging stations.)
  • Senate:  The current $7,500 tax credit for electric vehicles would be expanded to include medium- and heavy-duty hybrid vehicles, such as pickup trucks, commercial trucks and SUVs. Residents of pilot communities would be eligible for rebates of up to $10,000 on an electric vehicle at the point of sale.

Who’s behind the legislation?

Sponsors of the legislation include Reps. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) and Judy Biggert, (R-Ill.), and Sens. Byron Dorgan (D-N.D.), Lamar Alexandar (R-Tenn.) and Jeff Merkeley (D-Ore.)

The Electrification Coalition, a group that includes venture capitalist Ray Lane, utility chiefs and executives from companies working on charging equipment, batteries, smart charging and electric vehicles, called for the creation of EV deployment hubs in an extensive policy paper late last year. The legislation unveiled this week bears similarities to that plan, and the group, which set out to sway U.S. policy, has issued strong praise for the proposals now working their way through Congress. Coalition members include A123 Systems, AeroVironment, Bright Automotive, Coda Automotive, Coulomb Technologies, Cisco, FedEx, GridPoint, Nissan, NRG Energy, PG&E and others.

Who has come out against the proposal?

The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, a trade group that represents 11 automakers including General Motors, Chrysler, Ford and Toyota, said the legislation “risks resulting in federal resources becoming overly concentrated in a small number of communities, which could establish electric cars as boutique vehicles….Electric cars and their infrastructure should be available to everyone nationwide, not just people in select communities.”

How might this affect utilities, and your utility bill?

Utilities would be directed to evaluate potential deployment rates for plug-in vehicles in their service areas, as well as what it would mean for their transmission and distribution infrastructure. The Natural Resources Defense Council explains utilities and utility regulators would also be “encouraged to design programs that support plug-in vehicles use through infrastructure planning and ensuring interoperability between grid systems and vehicles.” The Hill reports that the legislation would allow cities and power providers in pilot communities “to issue bonds at preferential rates to purchase electric drive vehicle charging stations.”

Who stands to benefit?

  • Infrastructure providers: Consumers and businesses would get money to set up charging stations. Legislation would extend through 2017 an existing tax credit for charging equipment installations, and increase it to 50 percent of the purchase cost for the equipment, up from 30 percent today.
  • Electric car makers: Legislation would subsidize early adoption of electric vehicles. The current limit of 200,000 vehicles per manufacturer on tax credits for electric car purchases would be raised to 300,000 vehicles and extended to 2016.
  • The 5-15 selected pilot communities receiving up to $800 million in federal grants.
  • Battery innovators: The Senate version proposes $1.5 billion for research aimed at delivering a battery that can go 500 miles on a single charge. The Senate also proposes establishing a $10 million prize for whoever delivers a commercially viable battery with those specs.
  • Hydrogen fuel-cell vehicle developers: The House version of the bill includes funding to incentivize these cars, although not the infrastructure for them.

How would pilot communities by selected?
According to a draft of the House bill, the Secretary of Energy would choose the communities based on criteria including the level of cost sharing they propose for grant projects, whether plans are in place for deploying public charging infrastructure and updating building codes, solid partnerships with a range of stakeholders and assurances that equipment will employ open standards.

EV World reports that other important factors under consideration would include how much greenhouse gas emissions would be prevented through the project, what additional state and local incentives are in place, proximity to other communities where EVs and infrastructure could be deployed and how the program will inform efforts to roll EVs out nationwide.

For more on electric vehicles and charging infrastructure, check out these articles on GigaOM Pro (subscription required):

IT Opportunities in Electric Vehicle Management

California Rules Show Opportunities in EV Charging

How to Break Into The Energy Storage Market

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  1. VTR1000 Lady Saturday, May 29, 2010

    Great detailed information, I just bookmarked you on my google reader

    Sent from my Android phone

  2. Drumbeat: May 29, 2010 | Bear Market Investments Saturday, May 29, 2010

    [...] Electric Car Bills on the Hill: 10 Things You Should Know The Electric Drive Vehicle Deployment Act of 2010, introduced in Congress this week, has a simple goal to electrify half of all cars and trucks on U.S. roads by 2030, and a basic strategy: focus the might of the federal government on a small number of pilot communities around the country, subsidizing the buildout of charging infrastructure and purchase of electric vehicles. [...]

  3. Craig Shields Sunday, May 30, 2010

    I’m very pleased to see the detail Josie Garthwaite has brought to light here, and I hope this legislation passes in a robust form.

    Of course, I’m disappointed but not surprised that the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers opposes this concept, and I think their assertion that this “could establish electric cars as boutique vehicles,” and that, “Electric cars and their infrastructure should be available to everyone nationwide,” are simply a red herring and a bald reveal of hypocrisy, respectively. I have heard it said (and have little reason to disbelieve it) that the patents for a certain very promising battery technology have for some time been owned – and restricted from any automotive application – by one of the major US automakers.

    A brief review of the examples of Socrates, Galileo, Nikolai Tesla’s DC power, Henry Ford’s original ethanol engines, the Tucker automobile, and the Red Car trolleys of Los Angeles all reveal how new ideas are typically treated by entrenched interests. We have passed the moment when the hand of government (We the People, through true public servants and genuinely forward-thinking legislation) is needed to keep key technologies and resources available for the benefit of the general public.

    Recent events clearly point up the need for strong defense of innovation and ethical dignity against the pressing weight of greed – and the need for a renewal of effective legal requirements that commercial enterprises must act in the public interest. Alternative energy and efficiency can’t continue to be consigned entirely to the whims of “market forces” (nor can our selection of leadership).

    Pioneering strides in motor and battery technology are positioning the EV’s for wider adoption.

    A little more data about my reasoning can be found here:

    http://2greenenergy.com/electric-vehicle-adoption/2890/
    http://2greenenergy.com/epa/3003/
    http://2greenenergy.com/paradigm-shift/2668/

    Even at present, because EV’s are usually charged at night with off-peak energy, we could have 90 million new EV’s on the road without building one new power plant.

    I think, if justice and logic prevail, EV’s will outpace predictions and free our transportation infrastructure from an biologically harmful and financially and geo-politically lethal addiction to oil – at a time when we have precious little within our borders and when our continued access to the bulk of global reserves will remain far less than stable.

    Ever since Jimmy Carter was in the White House, our country has been increasingly aware of a need to make a change in this direction. Perhaps the current gulf tragedy will provide the impotus our leadership seems to require.

    Again I’d like to express my gratitude to Ms. Garthwaite and Earth2Tech for covering this legislation in detail, and for bringing the matter into a public venue for comments and discussion.

    Bravo!

    Craig Shields, Editor, 2GreenEnergy.com

  4. Can the Gulf Coast situation get any worse? Significance of the oil spill, part II « Global Change Sunday, May 30, 2010

    [...] If my guess is right, then we are probably still a few years away from seeing a serious move to renewables—not until the economic recovery is further along, economies pick up speed, and the demand for oil and oil speculation kick back into high gear.  Fortunately, this time around—unlike 2006-2007—we will have better technology, including electric cars, which will help make the leap easier and more sustained (provided that people can afford them). [...]

  5. Craig Shields Sunday, May 30, 2010

    I’m very pleased to see the detail Josie Garthwaite has brought to light here, and I hope this legislation passes in a robust form.

    Of course, I’m disappointed but not surprised that the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers opposes this concept, and I think their assertion that this “could establish electric cars as boutique vehicles,” and that, “Electric cars and their infrastructure should be available to everyone nationwide,” are simply a red herring and a bald reveal of hypocrisy, respectively. I have heard it said (and have little reason to disbelieve it) that the patents for a certain very promising battery technology have for some time been owned – and restricted from any automotive application – by one of the major US automakers.

    A brief review of the examples of Socrates, Galileo, Nikolai Tesla’s DC power, Henry Ford’s original ethanol engines, the Tucker automobile, and the Red Car trolleys of Los Angeles all reveal how new ideas are typically treated by entrenched interests. We have passed the moment when the hand of government (We the People, through true public servants and genuinely forward-thinking legislation) is needed to keep key technologies and resources available for the benefit of the general public.

    Recent events clearly point up the need for strong defense of innovation and ethical dignity against the pressing weight of greed – and the need for a renewal of effective legal requirements that commercial enterprises must act in the public interest. Alternative energy and efficiency can’t continue to be consigned entirely to the whims of “market forces” (nor can our selection of leadership).

    Pioneering strides in motor and battery technology are positioning the EV’s for wider adoption.

    A little more data about my reasoning can be found here:

    http://2greenenergy.com/electric-vehicle-adoption/2890/
    http://2greenenergy.com/paradigm-shift/2668/

    Even at present, because EV’s are usually charged at night with off-peak energy, we could have 90 million new EV’s on the road without building one new power plant.

    I think, if justice and logic prevail, EV’s will outpace predictions and free our transportation infrastructure from an biologically harmful and financially and geo-politically lethal addiction to oil – at a time when we have precious little within our borders and when our continued access to the bulk of global reserves will remain far less than stable.

    Ever since Jimmy Carter was in the White House, our country has been increasingly aware of a need to make a change in this direction. Perhaps the current gulf tragedy will provide the impotus our leadership seems to require.

    Again I’d like to express my gratitude to Ms. Garthwaite and Earth2Tech for covering this legislation in detail, and for bringing the matter into a public venue for comments and discussion.

    Bravo!

    Craig Shields, Editor, 2GreenEnergy.com

  6. Craig Shields Sunday, May 30, 2010

    I’m very pleased to see the detail Josie Garthwaite has brought to light here, and I hope this legislation passes in a robust form.

    Of course, I’m disappointed but not surprised that the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers opposes this concept, and I think their assertion that this “could establish electric cars as boutique vehicles,” and that, “Electric cars and their infrastructure should be available to everyone nationwide,” are simply a red herring and a bald reveal of hypocrisy, respectively. I have heard it said (and have little reason to disbelieve it) that the patents for a certain very promising battery technology have for some time been owned – and restricted from any automotive application – by one of the major US automakers.

    A brief review of the examples of Socrates, Galileo, Nikolai Tesla’s DC power, Henry Ford’s original ethanol engines, the Tucker automobile, and the Red Car trolleys of Los Angeles all reveal how new ideas are typically treated by entrenched interests. We have passed the moment when the hand of government (We the People, through true public servants and genuinely forward-thinking legislation) is needed to keep key technologies and resources available for the benefit of the general public.

    Recent events clearly point up the need for strong defense of innovation and ethical dignity against the pressing weight of greed – and the need for a renewal of effective legal requirements that commercial enterprises must act in the public interest. Alternative energy and efficiency can’t continue to be consigned entirely to the whims of “market forces” (nor can our selection of leadership).

    Pioneering strides in motor and battery technology are positioning the EV’s for wider adoption.

    Like a little more about my reasoning, take a look:

    http://2greenenergy.com/electric-vehicle-adoption/2890/

    Even at present, because EV’s are usually charged at night with off-peak energy, we could have 90 million new EV’s on the road without building one new power plant.

    I think, if justice and logic prevail, EV’s will outpace predictions and free our transportation infrastructure from an biologically harmful and financially and geo-politically lethal addiction to oil – at a time when we have precious little within our borders and when our continued access to the bulk of global reserves will remain far less than stable.

    Ever since Jimmy Carter was in the White House, our country has been increasingly aware of a need to make a change in this direction. Perhaps the current gulf tragedy will provide the impotus our leadership seems to require.

    Again I’d like to express my gratitude to Ms. Garthwaite and Earth2Tech for covering this legislation in detail, and for bringing the matter into a public venue for comments and discussion.

    Bravo!

    Craig Shields, Editor, 2GreenEnergy.com

  7. Electric Car Bills on the Hill: 10 Things You Should Know « Christopher A. Haase Monday, May 31, 2010

    [...] with a range of stakeholders and assurances that equipment will employ open standards. Here are the 10 things you should know about a pair of proposals that could play a big role in how … Posted by chaase Environmental, Health and Safety News Subscribe to RSS [...]

  8. Electric Car Bills on the Hill- 10 Things You Should Know — Climate Today Tuesday, June 8, 2010

    [...] The Electric Drive Vehicle Deployment Act of 2010, introduced in Congress this week, has a simple goal to electrify half of all cars and trucks on U.S. roads by 2030, and a basic strategy: focus the might of the federal government on a small number of pilot communities around the country, subsidizing the buildout of charging infrastructure and purchase of electric vehicles. But when it comes to implementing that strategy, the legislation (which is now up for debate in two slightly different versions proposed in the House and the Senate, H.R. 5442 and S. 3442, respectively) gets somewhat more complicated. Here are 10 things you should know about a pair of proposals that could play a big role in how the nascent electric vehicle market takes shape over the next 20 years. http://earth2tech.com/2010/05/28/electric-car-bills-on-the-hill-10-things-you-should-know/ [...]

  9. Jeff Anderson Friday, June 25, 2010

    A correction on Graig Shields comment that “Nikolai Tesla’s DC power”. Tesla wasn’t the one pushing DC power it was Edison that wanted a DC power grid. Tesla invented 3 phase power. This is the system that our power grid uses today.

    Special privileged cites that gain artificial produced markets for electric vehicles can be counterproductive to long term market development. When government incentives are removed often these artificial markets are not self supporting and soon disappear. Case example: during the 70s the Carter administration tried to produce a market for alternative energy markets. This was done by having a 50% tax credit on solar hot water systems. This did produce a market for solar hot water heaters. The problem was that the incentives were too good. Manufactures did rush to market new systems for customers. The systems were often poorly engineered and didn’t live up to the customer expectations. Since the systems were paid by 50% federal money and then the state was adding to this. There was incentive to raise prices because the most of the cost was picked up by the government. Once the incentives went away so did the solar hot water systems. Most of these systems after 5 to 10 years were no longer working.
    We don’t want to produce a false market that is not sustainable. Natural market forces need to come into play to development a long term markets. Though competitive and natural developed markets for electric vehicles we can have long term sustainable market demand.

  10. Electric Cars, Batteries Set to Get Some Obama Love Wednesday, July 14, 2010

    [...] and others) has ramped up lobbying efforts with the launch of a new ad campaign promoting the Electric Vehicle Deployment Act, which would direct billions of dollars over five years for a small number of “deployment [...]

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