By now everyone is familiar with President Obama’s goal of having one million electric vehicles on U.S. roads by 2015. Is it possible to get there without any regulatory support behind the initiative? It appears that some members of Congress believe a little extra incentive will be needed. The recently introduced Electric Drive Vehicle Deployment Act of 2011 could provide a needed boost to the spread of electric vehicles.
Introduced by a bi-partisan group of representatives from Illinois, Massachusetts, and California, the bill proposes incentives of $2,000 beyond existing federal and state tax credits for the first 50,000 electric vehicle buyers in designated development communities. This could result in financial incentives of approximately $9,500 per transaction. In addition, President Obama has proposed transforming the exiting $7,500 federal credit into a rebate that would be available to buyers at the point of sale (outside of the Deployment Act). Incentives of that degree would definitely be a step in the right direction at eliminating the price premium which is part of the obstacle preventing greater proliferation of EVs.
The act also addresses the issue of the need for EV infrastructure development. The legislation, if enacted, would award up to $300 million to ten communities selected to become hubs of EV manufacturing and deployment. The development communities would also serve as proving grounds for best practices that could then be shared with other communities to speed their deployment processes. There is also a smaller amount for grants to go to municipalities that are not part of the selected ten development communities.
With gas prices on the rise to unprecedented levels, consumers are going to be clamoring for more fuel-efficient means of transportation and EVs are certainly one of the solutions at their fingertips. Traditional vehicle sales have been turning to incentives (albeit not federally driven) for many years, so there is no reason why EVs couldn’t have a little help getting stated too.