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Electric Car Bills in Congress Seen As Route to Oil Independence

Bipartisan bills introduced in both the House and Senate would electrify half of all U.S. cars and trucks by 2030

By Elizabeth McGowan

Jun 2, 2010

The bipartisan bunch introduced the legislation on the heels of yet another pledge from President Obama — this time when he introduced his new fuel economy standards in May — that one million plug-ins of all varieties will be on U.S. roadways by 2015. BMW, Nissan and General Motors — with their respective Mini E, Leaf and Chevy Volt — are among the 30-plus entrants in this potential "EV evolution." Nissan is a member of the Electrification Coalition.

Thus far, the Obama administration has dedicated $2.8 billion in stimulus grants toward electric vehicle research and development, according to a DOE spokeswoman. That complements the department’s 2010 electric vehicle R&D budget of $114.6 million — more than a threefold increase over the 2008 budget figure.

Those leaps seem to be clear signals that the president is seeking a transportation game-changer in a sector with 246 million vehicles that spew around one-third of the country's greenhouse gases.

For example, last summer about $99.8 million of DOE’s stimulus money was designated as a matching grant for installing plug-in charging infrastructure and testing electric vehicles in the states of Washington, Arizona, California, Oregon and Tennessee.

Scottsdale, Ariz.-based Electric Transportation Engineering Corp. (eTec) is partnering with Nissan North America to study how the vehicles operate in diverse topography and climates, evaluate the effectiveness of charging infrastructure and conduct trials of varying revenue systems for commercial and public charging infrastructures.

Study sites on eTec’s drawing board include Phoenix, Tucson, San Diego and Seattle; Knoxville, Nashville and Chattanooga, Tenn.; and Portland, Eugene and Corvallis, Ore.


The Electricity Edge

It likely comes as less than shocking fodder that the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers is opposed to both pieces of recently introduced legislation.

The trade group representing once and current internal combustion giants such as Ford, Toyota, Chrysler and General Motors hypothesized that the measures risk "resulting in federal resources becoming overly concentrated in a small number of communities, which could establish electric vehicles as boutique vehicles. Electric cars and their infrastructure should be available to everyone nationwide, not just people in select communities."

Ori counters that starting on a small scale will make it easier to duplicate successes from coast to coast and transform electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids into the dominant technology. In addition to Nissan, his coalition counts Bright Automotive, Coda Automotive, Coulomb Technologies, Cisco, Federal Express, Gridpoint, NRG Energy and PG&E among its members.

"What we are proposing and what this legislation allows is for geographic regions to participate in a race to the top,” Ori explained. "That means we can put in place the most appropriate ways to deploy electric vehicles and their infrastructure in a limited number of areas."

"The idea is to get past the early adopters, work out the kinks and learn about these vehicles. That will prepare us for mass deployment."

Whether the legislation stands on its own or is rolled into a comprehensive energy bill that includes or excludes a cap-and-trade system, Ori maintains that the transportation sector can't be left behind because it consumes 70 percent, or about 14 million of the 20 million barrels of oil this country burns through each day.

The coalition's roadmap points out that if 75 percent of all light-duty vehicle miles traveled were powered by electricity, oil consumption in that sector would drop from today's 8 million barrels per day to 2 million barrels per day.

Electrical Engineering

It can be said that the same electrical engineering can be applied to cars on their lighting from interior lighting to exterior lighting consisting of to Fog Lights. I believe electric cars will have more efficient lighting in terms of eco friendliness and less electrical generation.

Meaning in the future, electrical and hybrid cars will be more efficient compared to gas-cars.

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