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U.S. Representative Ed Markey, (D-Mass), who is head of the Select Committee on Energy Independence And Global Warming (whew), proposed the "Plug-in Hybrid Opportunity Act of 2007" yesterday. The plan would give a 35 percent tax break to hybrid owners who purchase and install the components to convert their vehicles to plug-ins. Perhaps this all sounds familiar, which makes sense when you consider the (ridiculous sounding) "Fuel Reduction using Electrons to End Dependence On the Mideast Act of 2007", named so they could cleverly call it the "FREEDOM Act" for short. That plan would have given consumers $7,500 in tax credits for making the plug-in conversion, and was proposed by the bipartisan group of Maria Cantwell (D-Wash), Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and Barack Obama (D-Ill). The specific language was removed from the energy bill which was recently passed. Will it make a comeback? Who knows... but take a look at this article and let us know what you think, that is, if you have an opinion. Here, I'll start off by giving an opinion of my own: including Rob Lowe in on the hearing is a dumb gimmick. OK, your turn!

The Auto Alliance, oftentimes the "bearer of auto-related bad news", is acting as the mouthpiece of the major automakers (and their dealers) once again. We already told you that Toyota doesn't like the legislation, and apparently neither do the other manufacturers. They cite the fact that the warranty will be voided if the conversion is done, and even suggest that emissions might be worse afterward. I honestly can't see how that would be true, but I suppose that when changes are made to the vehicle's on-board computer, or ECU, that it could negatively impact the emissions. More testing would obviously be necessary.

Of course, there is no law against purchasing the components to switch your hybrid to a plug-in, and this legislation would support that effort. Have you ever heard the saying "Sacrifices to the God of Speed"? Well, would you be willing to make sacrifices to the God of Green? How about if there was a big tax incentive to do so?

Related:

[Source: Detroit News]



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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 6 Comments
      • 4 Months Ago
      Plugin conversions of existing hybrids are not that great because the electric engines in them can't go over 40mph before switching to gas. It's better than nothing but legislation should be trying to get the major auto makers to move forward on serial hybrids like the Volt.
      lbthedawg
      • 4 Months Ago
      Fact is there isn't a single person screwing with plug in hybrids that can cerify the vehicle for emissions test.

      Who are you people trying to kid?

      Playing with these battery packs can be deadly. None of you have any idea what is going on with the conversion when it has to make the transition from battery pack to ic engine. If it's all about reducing emissions the truth is the engine running closed loop is doing less harm than the time it takes to get to that point.

      Markey and Lowe made fools of themselves.

      It tells you something that an actor has to be the face of a politcal agenda.

      You want energy independence, don't lie to yourself and think that the like of Toyota will give it to you. Any corporation that resorts to lying about it's currency to gain market will lie about anything. The first step towards real energy solutions isn't buying them from overseas. Congress may be enjoying their current theme of villianizing American industry and especially manufacturing but the real problem is they are trying to create a false monster to cover up their own incompetence and ineptness.
      • 7 Years Ago
      There is no mention in this article of the other things that were included in the previous FREEDOM Act, such as a tax credit for the purchase of purely electric vehicles, which I believe is more important than a tax break for conversions to plug-ins. Plug-ins are nice and may be a transitional step but EV's are the ultimate solution to many of our problems. Ev's should be given the same opportunity here as plug-ins to incentivize public purchase.

      Also, if Congress is so keen on focusing on the idea of conversions, why not pass a law that makes it legal to convert an internal combustion engine car into flex fuel? There are over 200 million ICE's on the road today in the US and it's essentially illegal to convert these existing cars to run on E85.

      Congress needs to expand its horizons here and provide for multiple opportunities to electrify the transportation industry and allow consumers more choices to use renewable fuels like biodiesel and ethanol.
      • 7 Years Ago
      In the end home-conversions are really a dead end in terms of legislation. No tax break would likely affect a person's decision to do an aftermarket PHEV.

      The real key would of been the bill that offers tax breaks based on the size of a car's battery back. I believe a Republican from Nevada proposed that...
      • 7 Years Ago
      Sorry to add another comment here, but the only reason I can see why Ed Markey (D-Mass.) is so narrowly focused on this niche idea of incentivizing plug-in conversions is because the company that stands to best benefit from this legislation is A123 Systems, which, wouldn't you know, is in Massachusetts.

      Not bashing the idea of plug-in conversions, it can be done effectively and safely, and it will help the US in many ways, but to what degree? There are just over a million hybrids (Escapes and Prius') on the road and only a fraction of these car owners will convert. So what's the point? How is this effective? Again, incentivizing EV's is the way to go. If not, then give both types of technology equal opportunity here.

      Thanks, and great coverage!!!
      • 4 Months Ago
      The reason that emissions might suffer is that the conversion will add extra weight to the vehicle itself, due to the extra batteries. If you were to then drive the vehicle over the standard emissions drive cycle, the engine would be working harder to accelerate the car, and therefore emissions would change, and most probably get worse.