President Obama Outlines $4.7 Billion Plan to Boost Clean Energy Transportation

Following his recent State of the Union outline to boost domestically produced clean energy and related transportation, this week President Obama announced $4.7 billion in proposed plans to enable an “all of the above” approach.

Speaking at a Daimler truck plant in North Carolina, the president said his administration wants to give compressed natural gas vehicles a tax credit similar to that for which plug-in vehicles are eligible. In all, the proposal would commit $3.7 billion toward clean energy tax credits.

Obama also announced a new $1 billion National Community Deployment Challenge to spur deployment of clean, advanced vehicles in communities around the country, and an “EV Everywhere” plan to make electric vehicles as affordable and convenient as any ordinary car within a decade.

As part of his ambitious plan to get there, Obama reiterated the sentiment spoken by his administration officials since last year to make the plug-in tax credit a transferable point of sale rebate, instead of making consumers wait until filing their taxes.

As outlined in a White House press announcement, the President proposes to improve the current tax credit for electric vehicles by:

o Expanding eligibility for the credit to a broader range of advanced vehicle technologies;

o Increasing the amount from $7,500, making it scalable up to $10,000;

o Reforming the credit to make it available at the point-of-sale by making it transferable to the dealer or financier, allowing consumers to benefit when they purchase a vehicle rather than when they file their taxes; and

o Removing the cap on the number of vehicles per manufacturer eligible for the credit and, instead, ramping down and eventually eliminating the credit at the end of the decade.

Calling it a “Race to the Top,” the $1 billion National Community Deployment Challenge wants to catalyze up to 10 to 15 model communities to invest in infrastructure, remove regulatory barriers, and create the local incentives for advanced-tech vehicle deployment to the point of “critical mass.”

“This proposal embraces a strategy similar to that outlined by Senators Merkley and Alexander in their Promoting Electric Vehicles legislation,” the White House said. It differs from it however in that it is “fuel neutral” so if communities favor EVs or CNG or some other technology, the government would like to help level the playing field.

“Deployment Communities would serve as real-world laboratories, leveraging limited federal resources to develop different models to deploy advanced vehicles at scale,” the White House said. “The program would also support the development of up to 5 regional Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) corridors where alternative fuel trucks can transport goods without using a drop of oil.”

Obama’s speech at the Daimler truck plant was in keeping with announcements to promote clean energy trucking.

Beyond this, he launched “EV Everywhere” that aims within one decade to make electric vehicles as affordable and convenient as gasoline-powered vehicles are today.

“This national effort is the second in a series of Clean Energy Grand Challenges designed by the Department of Energy to bring together America’s best and brightest scientists, engineers, and businesses to work together to solve the most pressing energy technology challenges of our time,” the White House said. “EV Everywhere will enable companies in the U.S. to produce electric vehicles at lower cost, with an improved vehicle range and an increased fast-charging ability.”

Obama’s plan says savings will be around $100 per average driver per month once the mission is accomplished. This factors in up-front savings on subsidized EVs, and will need a major boost also from the president’s 2013 budget.

Adding to the multi-billion, multi-tier plan to get away from predominant reliance on petroleum, the 2013 budget proposes $650 million to advance vehicle and battery technologies at the Energy Department, including investments to support EV Everywhere.

The White House said EV Everywhere will pave the way for “breakthrough R&D for advanced batteries, electric drivetrain technologies, lightweight vehicle structures, and fast charging technology.”

White House

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  • Roy_H

    Glad to hear that the tax break could become an instant rebate. This is a big step forward, also that it is not per auto manufacturer. This way if automakers don’t get in on it now, they don’t get to collect later and undercut the manufacturers who invested early. The idea is to reward the leaders, not the followers who took no risk and waited for others to bring costs down.

    Now if only we could get the government to invest in LFTRs to usher in an era of cheap, pollution free energy. LFTRs are inherently safe and do not produce any long term radio-active waste. See

  • Alex White

    None of these charades by DOE solve the problem. We need to reduce CO2 now and solar, wind and silly electric cars do not do that. Claiming small incremental supplements are “breakthroughs” is why Dr. Chu is a political idiot.

    This isn’t progress. It’s a bunch of childish cheerleaders supporting their incentives – working on projects that have no impact on the problem. This is America-2012, make believe.

  • DownUnder

    So what is your solution (or what’s your problem)?

  • James Davis

    Alex, how can you say that those silly electric cars, solar arrays and wind turbines does not reduce CO2. Stick your nose down to the tailpipe of a silly electric car and tell me how much carbon monoxide you smell coming out…oh! wait…those silly electric cars do not have tailpipes. Then go ahead and crawl up the smokestack of a solar array or the smokestack of a wind turbine and tell me how much carbon monoxide you smell coming out…oh! wait…those solar arrays and wind turbines do not have smokestacks. Those silly electric cars, solar arrays and wind turbines are not producing any CO1s and CO2s…so they must be reducing CO1 and CO2 in our atmosphere, and that will mean that Dr. Chu is a scientific and political egghead…or genius.

  • Roy_H

    Alex: There are clear and obvious solutions to all our problems. I too get frustrated at out governments’ refusal to attack them head on. However this part, promoting electric cars is spot on! Autos are a major source of pollution and CO2 generation. The other half is, as I already pointed out in my first post, to work on LFTRs.

    Our economic problems are rooted in the fact that our economic system is based on rapid growth. This is unsustainable as the world population gets closer to the maximum the world can handle and we need to move to an economic policy that is workable near steady state. Right now all wealth mostly generated by millions of hard working people, gravitates to the wealthy as they collect their interest and dividends. This one-way system of money flow is not sustainable. However this is the hardest to change, because the wealthy like it this way and they are in control. Money needs to be re-cycled.

  • Anonymous

    Free money. That’s what he’s made of, but it may cost you!!!!

  • AP

    James Davis, let’s not get too carried away about electric cars and pollution. You’re right that they do not produce CO (at least not where they run).

    But they do emit CO2 if they use electricity from a coal- or natural gas-fired power plant. The fact that they cause CO2 to be emitted where you can’t see it is immaterial.

    Using electricity from solar cells and wind power may eventually make a meaningful difference in reducing CO2 from electric cars, but the cost of infrastructure and the technical issues of energy storage are going to make that a long haul.

  • James Davis

    No! Electric cars do not EMIT CO1s CO2s if they plug into an outlet that is powered by oil, coal, natural gas or nuclear. The oil, coal, natural gas and nuclear power plants emit the pollution. Since your electric cooking stove in the kitchen is plugged into the outlet, turn it on and stand over it and see how much CO1s and CO2s you can detect it EMITTING, then go over to your refrigerator and see how much CO1s and CO2s you can detect it EMITTING. I’ll repeat my first statement: Electric cars do not EMIT CO1s and CO2s. You are one of those hardheaded republicans who refuse to recognize the truth even when it is right under your nose; you get a false mindset and you stay with it no matter the evidence presented to you.

  • Max Reid

    Take it seriously guys, Oil prices closed at $125.98 / barrel in London whereas Natgas is very cheap. Its high time, we switch our ships & trains & trucks to this cheap, clean, domestic fuel.

  • AP

    James Davis, it’s not that I’m a republican (I’m actually just a conservative), but that I’m a hard-headed engineer who knows physics.

    When someone makes claims that violate physics, such as ignoring emissions they cause just because they can’t see (or smell) them, I complain.

    By your logic, IC engines also produce no emissions as you drive down the road, because they are emitted behind the car and are blown away from your nose.

  • Dave Gran

    I think this is a great step forward. In preparation for two articles we are going to write, it quickly became evident how complicated this all is. (A Volt is being delivered to us today for testing.)

    There are multiple facets to this discussion. “Being Green” as said above really depends on how electricity is being generated. Where I live electricity is produced fairly green. Yet take a look at other states such as West Virgina (98% is produced via coal), then I’m not sure an EV is better for the environment in that situation. Another area is jobs and reduction in foreign dependency, which explains why W.V. offers “An income tax credit for 35% of the purchase price or 50% of the vehicle conversion cost is available to convert or purchase an alternative fuel vehicle.”

    There’s no quick fix to these challenges, but I think we need to take the appropriate steps in this direction. As more infrastructure is built for EVs, and green energy, it’ll become less expensive and attainable.

  • jones22

    I think the money being invested by the government is so good. I see nothing but good things coming from this. I see a great future here. Obama is making the right move. orlando managed services

  • LoyceGaluppo