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Governments back electric vehicles with laws and finance

17 June 2010
Governments back electric vehicles with laws and finance

The Climate Group's Thurstan Wright reports on policies and legislation being adopted in the US, EU and China to accelerate the scale up and deployment of electric vehicles.

New legislation is being introduced across the globe to scale up the use of electric vehicles (EVs). Major economies such as the US, EU and China are introducing policies, strategies and incentives to accelerate EV deployment.

US Government Grants and Rebates for EVs

The US House and Senate introduced bi-partisan legislation at the end of May this year, which, if adopted, would electrify half of US cars and trucks by 2030. A combination of grants, rebates and other incentives would be provided for the widespread adoption of EVs in selected pilot areas, with the initial goal of deploying 700,000 vehicles over the next six years. The House Bill (the Electric Drive Vehicle Deployment Act of 2010) calls for the US Department of Energy to award $250 million in grants for the pilot communities. Residents could qualify for rebates up to $10,000 on a plug-in vehicle. On a national scale, the existing $7,500 tax credit for EVs would be expanded to include larger vehicles such as commercial trucks. The Senate bill (the Electric Vehicle Deployment Act of 2010) also includes $1.5 million for research to develop a battery that, on a single charge, would last up to 500 miles. Both versions of the bill also increase incentives for EV manufacturers and supporting infrastructure.

EU Incentives for Consumer EV Market

On 25th May, EU ministers called for a European standard for EVs, to accelerate their deployment. Support was also given for the European Commission’s strategy for clean and energy-efficient vehicles. The strategy published in April outlines specific action in support of electric cars. The Commission plans to stimulate investment in charging infrastructure and EV services build-up and will issue guidelines on incentives for EV consumer purchase. At the Council meeting, France, Germany, Portugal and Spain presented a joint declaration on electric mobility, seeking to speed up the process to create a "fully interoperable pan-European charging system". This would see plug-in systems standardized to ensure that EVs can be charged anywhere within the EU. There is also increasing support at the Member State level, with consumer purchase incentives of up to £5000 in UK, €5000 in France and €6000 in Spain being offered.

Chinese Government Subsidies for Electric Vehicles

The Chinese government has recently unveiled a new subsidy programme which aims to boost the adoption of EVs in the country. The pilot programme will initially involve five cities: Shanghai, Changchun, Shenzhen, Hangzhou and Hefei. Consumers of fully electric vehicles will be eligible for subsidies of up to ¥60,000 ($8,783), and subsidies of up to ¥50,000 ($7,320) will be available for buyers of plug-in hybrids.

If successful, these policies will demonstrate large-scale EV use, which could lead to a shift in consumer attitudes towards EVs.

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