When President Obama came into office, he brought with him promises for new alternative energy vehicles including EV’s. He wants 1 million plug-in hybrid cars on the road by 2015, a goal easily achievable. Additionally, the Obama administration threw billions of dollars at electric vehicle and other alternative energy startups. But has the spigot been turned off?
Not quite. A new energy bill making the rounds in Congress would allocate $4 billion for natural gas vehicles… and just $400 million for EV’s. Has the tide turned against electric cars yet again?
One of the biggest arguments for natural gas has been its relative abundance in the U.S. Can’t argue with that; North America sits on top of some very rich natural gas deposits, enough so that we could conceivably ween ourselves off of foreign oil in a decade or less by going to natural gas. Much of the $4 billion comes from tax incentives to get people to buy CNG cars. The incentives range from $10,000 for passenger cars to up to $64,000 for large commercial trucks. For fuel companies that install a natural gas pump, they could get a $50,000 credit, and there are a number of grants for automakers to research and develop natural gas vehicles.
So what about EV’s? The government has dumped billions in EV’s, but no doubt more money would go a long way. From the $400 million, $10 million would serve as an award for the first developer to build a battery with a 500 mile range. Much of the money would also go towards 15 communities that would apply to be part of an early adapter program for electric vehicles. This money would help install electric charging stations and such.
I’ve got no problem spreading the wealth around to different ideas. But compared to the earmarks for natural gas, EV’s feel plain old left out. Is this bill a good thing? Or are EV’s already getting shoved aside for a different breed of fossil fuel?
Source: Green Car Advisor | Image: Honda
Chris DeMorro is a car enthusiast, blogger, and all-around crazy man who is as passionate about hybrids as he is about Hemis. You can follow his constant misadventures at Three Months In A Mustang.