• Jul 21, 2010
A United States Senate bill that would provide a further $3.6 billion in funding for plug-in vehicles has made it past the first of many hurdles toward passage. The Senate Energy Committee approved the legislation, put forward by Senator Byron Dorgan, (D-ND) that would create so-called deployment communities around the country and subsidize the purchase of electric vehicles (EVs) and the installation of infrastructure.

By focusing on specific areas for deployment of EVs and charging stations, the bill would take care of the well-known chicken/egg issue of which is needed first, EV chargers or the vehicles that need them. It would also allow for the evaluation of what happens when you have large numbers of EVs in a concentrated area. Of course, there are already regions around the country that are planning for large numbers of EVs – like southern California and New York – and it's not clear if the bill would support these regions or move to get other areas plug-in ready.

There is no guarantee that the Dorgan bill will be passed by the full Senate or even the House of Representatives, but it is one more step on the way to setting the stage for electric vehicles. Dorgan rather enthusiastically hopes that the results of the legislation will ultimately lead to half of the U.S. vehicle fleet being electrified by 2030.

[Source: Detroit News]


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  • 30 Comments
      • 4 Years Ago
      Electric cars, "Think" or "GEM", were little more than retirement village novelties. The solar/battery airplane can barley carry itself. An electric forklift needs a battery that out weighs the machine. We have heard the hype and speculation about the Chevy Volt for how long?? Lets let the manufacturers and builders get a product that works first!! Then find out if there is really an infrastructure problem. A simpler solution to recharging would be a natural or LP gas powered generator at home with current technology. Plug in the car, generator starts, battery charged, generator shuts off. I see no need for Federal funds to go into a private business venture. How about an X-Prize of one year income tax free for the company that first makes a viable affordable product???
        • 4 Years Ago
        "get a product that works first"

        = Nissan LEAF
      • 4 Years Ago
      How do we pass more funding for anything with a 14 TRILLION DOLLAR DEFICIT???!!! Shouldn't we be trying to pay stuff off?
        • 4 Years Ago
        I'll add removing the huge subsidies to the oil industry is another way to attack the deficit. All neo-cons can offer are more wars ($$$) and more tax cuts ($$$$$) but only to the top 1%. Maybe top 2% if you're lucky.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Yes, start by pulling out of Iraq and Afghanistan. This would save billions every month. Next increase taxes on oil and use it to find new ways to get off our oil addiction. Without a strong alternative energy source we will forever be blackmailed, terrorized and repressed by oil exporting nations.
        I don't understand that there are still people here who support an oil strategy. To save our economy we have to cut down on oil imports significantly. The trade deficit created by imports from China pales in comparison to all the oil imports. Just look at all those shiny cities in the middle east they are building with our hard earned dollars we pay with every gallon we buy at the pump.
      • 4 Years Ago
      The bill only has one co-sponsor. Should get shot down in Ways and Means Committee.
      http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/D?d111:60:./temp/~bdLbAO:@@@L&summ2=m&
      • 4 Years Ago
      booo government spending? or
      yay chevy volt?

        • 4 Years Ago
        The ultimate closed loop system, create a product and then legislate a market for it.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Would be nice to pay for this by REMOVING the oil company subsidies that we've been giving for eons.
        • 4 Years Ago
        How about "yayyy government doing something it should have done 50 years ago"?

        We should have had alternatives to fossil-fuel burning cars decades ago.
        • 4 Years Ago
        If we don't have the money...

        What are we doing in the middle east then? estimates range the cost from $2 billion a week to $50 billion a month.

        If we spent $2 billion a week in getting off oil, OPEC would be a thing of the past and we could pull out of there, let 'em rot and suicide bomb each other, rather than our soldiers.

        Prevent all shipments, people, and vessels coming here from that region.
        There goes the terrorist's funding. No oil money. No heroin export money.

        Let 'em rot. China can go buy oil from them and deal with that mess.

        Cuz right now we're basically involved in Vietnam part 2.
      • 4 Years Ago
      More government spending without any consideration for what the market might (or might not) demand.
      Just what you'd expect from tax and spend Democrats who never studied Economics 101.
        • 4 Years Ago
        >>It's like saying we shouldn't have built roads because the average joe couldn't afford a car in the 1920's.

        see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Interstate_Highway_System

        you mean we didn't need interstates until the 50's when people could afford cars?!
        /sarcasm
        • 4 Years Ago
        This will benefit us when we're out of oil!!!!
        It's either that or pay insane $$$ for gas when it starts going dry.
        If you build infrastructure now, people won't be queasy about having ~100 miles of range. That's the idea behind all these charger.

        Like i said, nat gas has problems. Fracking which absolutely destroys ground water. Look up 'gasland'

        Hydrogen requires more energy in than out. We've also put tons of money into it thus far, with no results. Big surprise!

        e85/e100 is not there yet. But ultimately it takes more energy to produce it than electricity via renewables.

        Is battery electric the only way? no. But it's the best thing we have.. it's ready, and it's improving rapidly to the point of us having 200+ mile batteries in only a few years.

        We've been trying to get off oil since the 70's. It's time to take some action. BEV is the only thing that shows promise.
        • 4 Years Ago
        @Middle Way

        That's a broken argument. The roadway infrastructure is a system that created booms in SO MANY communities and thus created countless jobs within those communities. Even today, those who don't have cars benefit from the roads. I highly doubt the electric car will ever have as big, or as lasting, an impact on our nation.
        • 4 Years Ago
        @Polo

        You seem to be missing my point, so I'll say it clearly (again): The GOVERNMENT should not be spending money on this. Also, you took my comment out of context. I did NOT say the EV will have no impact. I said I doubt the EV impact will ever be as big or as lasting as the government's investment in the roads.

        As I said earlier, I'm not debating whether the EV is the future of automobiles. I agree that the EV should be explored...along with other possibilities. You're busy arguing in support of EVs while I'm talking about who should be funding the development.

        You probably feel like you showed me....that'll teach me. Unfortunately, you got incensed about the wrong thing. Had you made a strong argument for why the government should fund this instead of the manufacturers (through profits or loans), that would have been better. Even a weak argument would have been okay. Instead, you spouted off on a pro-EV diatribe. So, basically, YOU sound like an ass for resorting to unnecessary insults.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Interstate highways were built when cars were very popular, yes.
        But city streets were coming in in the 1900's, far before the average joe could afford a car.

        Look into the history of the Model T. It's the one car that made motoring

        Meanwhile, everyone else was paying the upperclass elite so that they could drive their mercedes around town.

        Similar situation here.

        Doug, when we're out of oil, electric cars will keep our economy rolling! Peak oil is projected to be only a few years away. We're not just gonna stop driving when we run out of petroleum.

        This is a forward looking move.
        • 4 Years Ago
        ^-- wow, that post was full of typos. Sorry, i was having a rage blackout.
        • 4 Years Ago
        You don't see the big picture here. Cutting down on oil imports is in the interest of our national security and health of our own economy. We simply can't keep sending trillions of dollars to oil exporting countries. It's going to bankrupt us. We have to create an industry right here in the U.S. that is able to produce our own energy. And part of that is to create cars than run on alternative power sources. Therefore I'm in full support for any help we can get either from the government or the private sector, preferably.
        • 4 Years Ago
        It's like saying we shouldn't have built roads because the average joe couldn't afford a car in the 1920's.

        Electric drive has already proven itself. Prices for the components are dropping at a good rate. Not investing in this is heel dragging.

        If you were really concerned about spending money on something people may or may not want, look at our daily military budget. This $3.6 billion dollars = a few days occupying the middle east.

        It's a drop in the bucket, and i'm happy to personally spend ~$2-$10 this tax year to invest in our country. Rather than someone else's.
      • 4 Years Ago
      The big problem as I see it is range, especially for a single car household. I don't think many city dwellers will buy a car that will only "allow" them to drive 100 mile round trips when they're are other options (hybrid, diesel, and cars like the fit) that provide more utility for a cheaper price.

      Think about it. You live in a major metropolitan area. You use your EV to commute during the week but on the weekends you want to go to the shore, or the mountains, or take a 300 mile road trip. Won't happen with an EV unless you want to stop every 100 miles to charge your battery.

      I'm all for alternate forms of energy, in fact, I think we're way behind where we should be but I don't think EV's are the be all and end all. They make sense (somewhat) in urban areas but this is a big country.

      First and foremost we need to rethink our electrical grid. Get more energy from nuclear, solar, wind, geo-thermal etc. What's the use of having an electric car when a coal fired plant produces the electricity it runs on?
        • 4 Years Ago
        -I don't think many city dwellers will buy a car that will only "allow" them to drive 100 mile round trips when they're are other options (hybrid, diesel, and cars like the fit) that provide more utility for a cheaper price.

        Cheaper up front. Gas and vehicle costs are the second largest expense for Americans, averaging a total of over $8K per year. You pay end up paying more in gas and maintenance over the life of the car.

        "The second largest expenditure for the average consumer is transportation. The cost of vehicles purchased is an average of $3,244 per year, making it 6.5 percent of the average budget. The cost of oil and gas for vehicles costs the average consumer $2,384 per year, for an average of 4.8 percent of the total yearly budget. Combines, the cost of vehicles and their maintenance costs consumers an average of $8,758 per year. This is a total of 17.6 percent of the yearly budget."

        That said, most city dwellers would be fine with the "utility" of a BEV for 99% of the time, until fast charging stations are common on highways and travel routes. The cost saving are more than enough to pay for public or rental transport for the 1-3% of the time they'll need to go on long trips. Maybe that won't be acceptable to the hypothetical brute that needs to be ready to dart cross-country 400 miles at a moments notice in their main car, but for most, again the gas and maintenance savings, better appreciation at resale, and benefits for the environment will more than offset that. s
      • 4 Years Ago
      So the masses who cannot use these so very limited vehicles and / or can't afford one will be forced pay for the happy few who can. Special bonus : big government gets bigger. How big is too big?
        • 4 Years Ago
        Yeah man, nevermind that everyone using any vehicle could use those damn streets! They're so pointless! It was all done to create jerbs and for the common good and to prepare ourselves for the automotive fantasy!

        Anyway we could also argue that it was a bad thing back then and that the private sector could've done it. Shut up, just because we've made a mistake in the past doesn't validate in future/current one.
      • 4 Years Ago
      oh sure, $3.6billion we don't even have. boo govt spending and f the government that is raping the american public
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