In the U.S., it is important to have a clean energy efficiency policy, not just from environmental aspects but also economic ones. With the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) having been passed by former President Obama, a provision for a voucher incentive was created to assist in consumer purchases of these environmentally-friendly vehicles. The program is called the “EV Project.”
The voucher incentive was a creator of a market that many car producers had not taken into consideration as they produced their vehicles. In order to compete with these new vehicles, companies such as Chevrolet and Nissan began creating electric vehicles which were more efficient and affordable for consumers.
In 2011, the Department of Energy (DoE) released a statement with the intent to improve upon the EV Project. Since the beginning, there have been issues with automakers being able to meet the needed production numbers of electric vehicles for consumers that are interested in buying them. Another issue was that people were not considering these vehicles as their first choice when purchasing a vehicle.
These issues, along with the possibility of coming across problems on the consumer’s end (such as charging or battery replacements) create a market that is not easily supported.
With the updated program, which began in 2013 under the new administration, there are vouchers for more types of vehicles and use cases. A new type of electric vehicle is considered to be one that can seat at least 6 people, has 4 doors, and gets the equivalent of at least 100 mpg.
For use cases, there is also more flexibility present in what type of vehicle can receive this voucher incentive. It could be for a car or an SUV/truck which can get the same 100 mpg equivalency. The only condition is that they cannot be a “heavy-duty vehicle,” defined as one having more than 8,500 lbs. of gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR).
Federal Grants for Electric Vehicles
The United States Department of Energy (DOE) is the agency in charge of this initiative. The main purpose of ARRA was to reduce American dependence on foreign sources for renewable energy while creating job opportunities. There are 3 components of the EV Project: Demand Response, Grid Integration, and Public Awareness.
Demand response (DR) is very important because, without it, electric vehicle chargers cannot operate at full capacity. DR is the idea that when people are not at home or on the go, their vehicles can be put to use for charging other hybrid and electric vehicles while they are idle. If there are excess charges in these batteries, this electricity can then be sent back to the grid for a better balance.
Grid integration focuses on making the grid more efficient for these electric vehicles, like the chargers mentioned earlier.
Public Awareness is very important because it informs consumers of what they can do with their EVs and how they can make an impact on energy usage in general. All EV owners and drivers can take advantage of these benefits.
The federal government gives 5,000 vouchers per manufacturer in the form of tax incentives to assist in consumer purchases. The voucher is only usable when buying an EV with an all-electric range (AER) equal to or larger than 70 mi (110 km).
Electric Vehicle Charging Points
The federal government is currently working with the DOE to figure out how to make these charging stations more accessible. The infrastructure of electric vehicles in the United States is not very strong, but that does not stop many companies from providing their own chargers for EVs. Tesla has also created its own network of fast-charging stations along main thoroughfares in the US.
As of now, the majority of those who own EVs are required to have a garage or some other form of covered parking so they can charge their vehicles overnight. This is the average range for full-electric batteries these days – about 100 mi (160 km) – which would give most people enough time to charge their car and drive home from work.
In an ideal world, there would be a small-scale infrastructure throughout the country that could provide chargers for those who do not have a garage or covered parking near their home. This will also help many people who only need to charge their vehicles for a short period of time while they are out and about in the city.
Alternative Fuel Vehicle Grants in the United States
The federal government has given out EV grants as part of its stimulus package. These vouchers come from the American Clean Energy and Security Act, signed on by Obama in 2009. The goal was to encourage manufacturers to produce more EVs without having too much trouble with sales.
Incentives for Electric Vehicles Using Alternative Fuels
This money was awarded to companies for the production of alternative fuel corridors for fuel cell vehicles, which used natural gas fueling infrastructure including, propane, ethanol, biodiesel, hydrogen cells, and electricity.
Alternative Fuel Vehicles Grants in the United States
Roughly $10 billion went towards these vouchers, many of which were given out in 2012 after the first set of grants were issued in January 2010. Many automakers have exceeded the required number of EVs that they had to produce, making this money largely unnecessary.
However, it did help many companies to produce other kinds of alternative fuel vehicles because, without these federal grants, it would not be financially beneficial for manufacturers to invest time and money into cars that are unproven.