Yesterday in his proposed 2014 budget delivered to Congress, President Obama called for a sizable increase in research spending for alternative technology transportation, including additional help for electric vehicles.

The goal is to cease the need to import foreign oil within the next 10 years. To jump start the initiative, the president called for a 75-percent increase in the Energy Department’s vehicle research budget.

“We’ll continue our march towards energy independence,” said Obama.

If approved, the Energy Department’s vehicle research budget would be increased to $575 million, and $2 billion more would be earmarked for the 10-year goal of energy independence.

EV Everywhere Initiative

Along with weaning off of oil, the White House’s EV Everywhere Grand Challenge – first announced by Obama in March – would like to foster electric cars becoming as affordable as conventional cars within the next decade.

“The EV Everywhere Grand Challenge focuses on the U.S. becoming the first nation in the world to produce plug-in electric vehicles that are as affordable for the average American family as today’s gasoline-powered vehicles within the next 10 years,” says its promoters.

The call being repeated is to increase the federal tax credit to $10,000, and Obama has called for expanding it from solely EVs and plug-in hybrids to other advanced vehicles also.

The plan would allow dealers to take the credit themselves as long as they explained to the consumer, and passed along the credit as a point-of-sale rebate.

The multifaceted plan to make EVs affordable includes accelerating research and development on battery tech and manufacturing and paving the way also for faster charging.

Proposed are a limited number of advanced vehicle deployment communities to test in a microcosm government-backed technologies that could be scaled up once proven. These have been approved by Congress, and would be selected through competition.

Other backed technologies include cellulosic ethanol and biofuels, including algae-derived, for which Obama proposes $282 million be spent to develop and demonstrate conversion technologies.

A host of other fees and spending to make the goal for energy security work were included in the extensive budget proposal.

The president has not talked so much about his proposed 1 million EVs and PHEVs on the road by 2015 – a goal he promoted while on the campaign trail in 2008 – but he is still working the same plan.

Regarding the proposal, critics have already begun to pounce, and opposition will be determined.

Objections include those to government involvement in private industry – even at the research level, and that the country is running a major budget deficit, and fears are this is money the taxpayers should not be asked to be on the hook for.

Energy Department Press Release, Detroit News