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Business leaders call for electric vehicle legislation

A coalition of business leaders today called for passage of a series of proposals that would provide tax credits for the purchase and production of electric vehicles.

The push comes as an electric and natural gas vehicles bill that addresses a number of the coalitions concerns is expected to come up for a procedural vote during the lame-duck session.

Frederick Smith, CEO of FedEx Corporation, said in a statement:

Our main focus continues to be the promotion of a comprehensive policy framework for accelerating consumer adoption of PHEVs and EVs. … Fleet electrification alone will not solve our pressing energy security challenges, but by bringing costs down, it will provide a critical boost to the consumer electric vehicle market.

The so-called Electrification Coalition — which includes among its membership the heads of GE, Siemens and FedEx — released a new report, the Fleet Electrification Roadmap, outlining the proposals. The report calls on the United States to reduce its dependence on foreign oil by encouraging electric vehicle development.

“This excessive reliance on a single fuel to power a key component of our economy has left the United States hostage to a global oil market that is likely to become increasingly volatile,” the report says.

Electric vehicle development would come with a number of benefits, including new jobs and a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, the report says.

High penetration rates of grid-enabled vehicles—vehicles propelled in whole or in part by electricity drawn from the grid and stored onboard in a battery— could radically minimize the importance of oil to the United States, strengthening our economy, improving national security, and providing much-needed flexibility to our foreign policy. Simultaneously, such a system would clear a path to dramatically reduced economy-wide emissions of greenhouse gases.

Though electric vehicle production is up, “the long-term market outlook for these vehicles is somewhat uncertain.” By passing a number of policies, electric vehicles could make up as much as 7 percent of new vehicle purchases by 2015, the report finds, putting as many as 200,000 electric vehicles on the road.

Key policy recommendations:

  • “Expand the tax credits for light-duty grid-enabled vehicles purchased in deployment communities to include private sector fleets.”
  • “Create tax credits for medium- and heavy-duty grid-enabled vehicles deployed in fleets with greater than 10 vehicles in operation.”
  • “Create clean renewable energy bonds for fleet vehicle charging infrastructure, and make municipal and regional transit authorities eligible for the bonds.”
  • “Extend the existing tax credit for electric vehicle charging infrastructure through 2018 and expand the range of eligible costs.”
  • “Allow immediate expensing of GEV purchases and supporting infrastructure for operators of certain fleets.”
  • “Make tax credits available for the purchase of qualifying grid-enabled vehicles and related charging infrastructure transferable.”
  • “Incentivize the establishment of special purpose entities to facilitate bulk purchasing of electric drive vehicles by fleet operators.”

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