Education, Federal Support Among Keys to 'Electric-Drive Era'

Public-private partnership also will be critical to accelerating growth of electric vehicles, trade association says.

To build the next generation of plug-in hybrids and other green vehicles, the federal government will need to expand its support of electric-drive-transportation manufacturing through additional funding, tax credits and other measures, a trade association says in a new report.

"Producing new electric-drive vehicle fleets will require a revitalized manufacturing base and robust supply chain to build next-generation battery, hybrid, plug-in hybrid and fuel-cell vehicles for consumer, commercial and government customers," asserts the Electric Drive Transportation Association (EDTA) in "Driving Forward: An Action Plan for the Electric-Drive Era." "Expanded support for manufacturing will increase U.S. competitiveness while growing the advanced technology workforce."

For example, the association calls for additional grants and loans to be provided through the Department of Energy's Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing Program, as well as reducing "unwarranted regulatory constraints on key material and component transportation."

The EDTA asserts that "dynamic public-private-sector collaboration" will be critical to accelerating the growth and adoption of electric-drive vehicles.

The EDTA "is calling for greater coordination between regulators, technology leaders and other stakeholders to ensure that the electric-drive policies and projects in development incorporate the best understanding of where the technology is headed and what states and localities need to maximize its benefits," the association said in a news release.

In the plan, the EDTA notes that the top priorities for expediting the 'Electric-Drive Era' are:

  • Reducing market hurdles to speed deployment of electric-drive vehicles.
  • Educating consumers, communities and stakeholders about electric-drive vehicles and charging options.
  • Ensuring U.S. leadership in electric-drive manufacturing.
  • Standardizing regulatory policies for electric-drive vehicles and infrastructure.
  • Accelerating technology breakthroughs.
"The nation is at an energy policy crossroads. Electric-drive technologies -- those available today and those on the horizon -- can help the U.S. increase its energy security, spend more of its energy dollars domestically, expand competitiveness and create jobs -- while creating a healthier environment," EDTA President Brian Wynne said. "The policies we are recommending will accelerate the opening of the electric drive era and ensure U.S. leadership in the effort."

To expand adoption of electric-drive vehicles, the EDTA calls for policies that will grow the vehicle and infrastructure market, including measures to get more vehicles on the road and in public and private fleets. For example, the association recommends restoring and expanding the tax incentive for the purchase of medium- and heavy-duty hybrid vehicles.

"Although diverse electric drive vehicles are entering the market, vehicle and infrastructure costs present an initial hurdle to large-scale adoption," the association says in the plan. "Incentives and support for private and public acquisition of electric-drive vehicles and infrastructure will reduce cost challenges for consumers and help manufacturers reach the economies of scale that will bring vehicle costs down and speed the proliferation of electrification infrastructure."

To view the action plan, visit www.electricdrive.org.

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