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Battery Car Makers See Hope in Obama Re-election

But budget crisis could stalemate efforts to boost incentives.

by on Nov.07, 2012

Pres. Obama's re-election is seen as a positive by many in the electric vehicle industry.

The day after the votes were counted, the Washingon-based Electric Drive Transportation Association basically hailed President Barack Obama’s re-election.

The organization was one of many electric vehicle and green energy proponents to see a positive outcome to an otherwise bitter and divisive campaign in which challenger Mitt Romney and senior Republican leaders frequently scoffed at the need for alternative energy – especially if the transition would require federal subsidies.

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“EDTA looks forward to continuing its work with President Obama and the newly-elected Congress to advance technology innovation that will diversify our transportation fuels,” the association said in a statement.

Despite the fact that U.S. domestic oil production has risen sharply over the last several years – and may end 2012 matching or exceeding the output of traditional oil giant Saudi Arabia – the trade group cautioned that 45% of the petroleum used in the country must still be imported.

So, “advancing alternatives to petroleum is a strategic and economic imperative,” the statement stressed, adding that, “Policies that advance energy security through electrification of the commercial and consumer vehicle fleets should be bipartisan priorities for the Administration and 113th Congress.”

But it remains to be seen if any of the Obama Administration’s proposals will get traction after the re-election, especially with leaders of the still GOP-controlled House of Representatives insisting they will block both additional spending and tax measures.

The original Obama Administration 2013 budget proposal had called for stepping up the current maximum tax credits for the purchase of an electric vehicle from $7,500 to $10,000, and paying that out immediately. That measure has so far gone nowhere.

Meanwhile, the Administration has effectively frozen a Department of Energy loan program that was designed to help makers and suppliers develop high-mileage, low-emissions vehicles.

Obama’s Republican challenger, Mitt Romney, had been critical of electric vehicles during his long campaign for the White House and routinely made fun of vehicles such as the Chevrolet Volt during his campaign appearances.

The Electric Drive Transportation Association bills itself as the preeminent trade association promoting battery, hybrid, plug-in hybrid and fuel cell electric drive technologies and infrastructure.

Paul A. Eisenstein contributed to this report.

 

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