It's got a good and a bad name.

Amid the CAFE debates going on this week, Senators Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) unveiled the FREEDOM Act yesterday. That's how it's going to be known in the press, and I'd say for a politician, "Freedom Act" is a darn fine name to have attached to one of your bills. But, as you'll note by the ALL CAPS, this piece of legislation follows the pattern of awkwardly-named bills designed to have clever acronyms. In this case, it's the "Fuel Reduction using Electrons to End Dependence On the Mideast." Sigh.

Anyway, what's in the bill? Three main parts and an extra tidbit. We'll get the tidbit out of the way first: the bill talks about PEDVs, which means Plug-in Electric Drive Vehicles like pure battery electric, extended range electric, plug-in hybrid electric, and plug-in fuel cell vehicles. So, there's another name we can start getting used to.
As for the three main parts, the Freedom Act will provide "significant" tax credits to purchasers of PEDVs, tax incentives for the U.S. production of PEDVs and PEDV dedicated parts; incentives for electric utilities to provide rebates to customers who purchase PEDVs; and give utilities producing the greenest energy the largest incentives.

The tax credits grow as the weight of the car goes up ($7,500 for a car under 10,000 pounds GVW, $10,000 for 14,000, and up to $20,000 for 26,000 pounds). Also, the credits stop once 250,000 PEDVs are sold in the U.S. When do you think that will be?

You can read Hatch's press release here.

The Electric Drive Transportation Association is naturally in full support of this legislation. In their press release (available after the jump), EDTA President Brian Wynne said, "Senator Hatch's leadership and vision for advanced transportation has been critical to the growth and expansion of electric drive technology. The FREEDOM Act's comprehensive approach to the electrification of transportation will result in real reductions in oil consumption and greenhouse gases, and real increases in energy security and environmental quality. Senator Cantwell and Senator Obama have demonstrated their commitment to transforming transportation through their co-sponsorship of this bill."

We'll have more on this as it moves through the process. Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D-Tex.) has got similar legislation (H.R. 1331) going in the House.

[Source: Sen. Orrin Hatch's office, EDTA]
EDTA Applauds FREEDOM Act for Development of Plug-in Electric Drive Vehicles

Introduced today by Senators Hatch, Cantwell, and Obama, the bill will help to commercialize all plug-in electric drive vehicles – battery, hybrid, and fuel cell – and support expanded U.S. manufacturing capacity for advanced vehicles and components.

EDTA is the multi-industry trade association promoting battery, hybrid and fuel cell electric drive technologies and infrastructure. Its membership includes automotive and other equipment manufacturers, utility companies, technology developers, component suppliers, and government agencies.

The FREEDOM Act aims to increase U.S. manufacturing capacity for advanced vehicles and components, help consumers purchase these advanced vehicles, and support the efforts of utilities to expand plug-in electric drive vehicle ownership. Together, these incentives will help the United States to address the challenges of oil dependence and climate change.

"Senator Hatch's leadership and vision for advanced transportation has been critical to the growth and expansion of electric drive technology," says EDTA President Brian Wynne. "The FREEDOM Act's comprehensive approach to the electrification of transportation will result in real reductions in oil consumption and greenhouse gases, and real increases in energy security and environmental quality. Senator Cantwell and Senator Obama have demonstrated their commitment to transforming transportation through their co-sponsorship of this bill."

About EDTA:

The Electric Drive Transportation Association (EDTA) is the trade association representing battery, hybrid and fuel cell electric drive technologies and infrastructure. EDTA conducts public policy advocacy, education, industry networking, and international conferences. EDTA's membership includes automotive and other equipment manufacturers, utility companies, technology developers, component suppliers, and government agencies. For more information about EDTA and its members, visit www.electricdrive.org.




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