Taking the early initiative to help fulfill President-elect Obama’s lofty campaign promise to have 1 million hybrid vehicles on the road by 2015, House of Rep. Democrats have introduced a bill that will pump $825 billion dollars into hybrid vehicle research, development, and production. As per the preliminary terms of the bill, the money will be dispersed in the form of loans and grants with one of the largest chunks, an estimated $600 million, reserved for the federal government’s future intention to replace all older vehicles with newer, alternative-fuel models. A significant portion of the “green stimulus bill” will also be reserved for the advancement of lithium-ion/hybrid vehicle battery technology, pledging a total of $2 billion specifically to battery research.
Generally regarded as an extension of the federal loan package approved months ago which provides $25 billion to aid automakers in equipping their production facilities to build hybrid vehicles and/or hybrid vehicle components (such as lithium-ion battery packs), this newest piece of legislation applies the federal benefits of hybrid vehicle use in a broader scope. “It’s good to see the stimulus bill recognizes that to keep pace in the global technology race, the U.S. must make the capability to produce advance batteries a national, competitive priority,” said General Motors spokesman Greg Martin. “Greater advance battery funding can help jump-start a green manufacturing sector and get advanced vehicles like the Chevy Volt on the road at greater numbers.”
By the numbers, the bill breaks the new green technology benefits down into the following categories:
- $3.5 billion for battery research and development
- $300 million for outfitting and/or replacing older diesel vehicles with new, clean diesel technology
- $400 million to aid state and local governments in purchasing newer, fuel-efficient vehicles
- $600 million for upgrading older vehicles with newer, alternative-fuel models
- $30 billion for highway construction
- $31 billion for public infrastructure projects
- $10 billion for mass transit use, presumably to discourage heavy auto use
- $6 billion to purchase new bus systems for local governments
- $11 billion to improve the electricity grid
- Increasing the alternative refueling property tax credit from 30% to 50%
Although, many automakers and suppliers are enthusiastic about the generous terms of the stimulus bill, the specific terms of the new piece of legislation are expected to undergo heavy modification when the U.S. Senate introduces their own green technology provisions later this month.
Source: The Detroit News
Image Cred: AP Photo by Itsuo Inouye