The Senate Majority Leader (D-NV) is backing President Barack Obama's efforts to raise federal incentives for EV drivers to $10,000 from $7,500, according to The Detroit News. He's also big on the US Energy Department boosting its vehicle-research budget to help bring down the cost of EVs. Reid notes that Tesla Motors' $5-billion Gigafactory, which will be built near Reno, will provide $100 billion worth of economic value to the state. He also pointed out that Tesla paid off its $465-million loan from the US Energy Department last year, nine years early.
There's a way to read this as some sort of quid pro quo for the new battery plant, since Nevada's providing about $1.2 billion (over a 20-year period) in incentives to Tesla and factory-building partner Panasonic and cutting EV prices for the average could help Tesla. But Reid has been speaking out in favor of more green cars for a while. In 2009, he helped promote a bill that would provide more incentives for people driving natural-gas powered vehicles. The year before that, Reid went on record saying that the US needed "a crash course to develop alternative and renewable energy." And in 2007, he called the debate over a more stringent Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standard pointless because, he said, they were a given.