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Press Releases :: September 16, 2009

House Approves Bill to Invest in Comprehensive Vehicle Technology Research Program

(Washington, DC)—Today, the House of Representatives approved H.R. 3246, the Advanced Vehicle Technology Act of 2009 by an overwhelming majority of 312 to 114.  The bill was authored by Science and Technology Committee Member Rep. Gary Peters (D-MI).

The bill provides the most comprehensive authorization to date for long-term sustained funding of public-private vehicle research, development, demonstration and commercial application activities in the Department of Energy (DOE) Vehicle Technologies Program.  The bill authorizes $550 million for FY10, and increasing by $10 million every year through FY2014, for all vehicle technology programs at DOE.  Of that total, $200 million will be for medium and heavy duty commercial vehicles, $30 million will be for user facilities and $20 million will be for a non-road pilot program (e.g., construction and agricultural vehicles).  The remaining $300 million will go toward diverse passenger and commercial vehicle technologies, such as the hybridization or full electrification of vehicle systems to reduce gasoline use.

The existing Vehicle Technologies program at DOE has tended to shift its focus between individual technologies, as well as between passenger and heavy duty vehicles. The result has been a winner-take-all-approach to vehicle research where one technology receives the large bulk of federal funding, only to have funding reduced before the program can reasonably be expected to develop commercially viable technologies.  The bill will give long-term sustained funding on a comprehensive research and development program focusing on a broad range of areas to ensure that the U.S. can develop the new cutting-edge, commercially viable vehicle technologies of the future.

“From passenger cars to heavy duty long-haul trucks, we are all aware of the economic, environmental, and strategic importance of diversifying our nation’s vehicle sector through innovation in cleaner and more efficient technologies,” said Science and Technology Committee Chairman Bart Gordon (D-TN). “However, the current economic situation has made it all the more difficult for companies to invest in the research and technology development to get us there. Department of Energy programs play an invaluable role in filling this critical gap.  This bill provides a critical foundation of support to ensure U.S. leadership in developing and producing the next generation of advanced vehicle technologies.”

“There is a global competition right now to determine which countries will produce the cars and trucks of the future,” said Peters.  “There is no doubt that in the years ahead more Americans will be driving hybrids, plug-in hybrids, battery electric vehicles, and cars and trucks powered by hydrogen fuel cells.  The only question is whether these new technologies will be researched, developed, and manufactured here in the United States creating American jobs or whether this technology will be built overseas.  The Advanced Vehicle Technology Act will help ensure that the American automobile industry will continue to be globally competitive, and that we as a nation will not trade our dependence on foreign oil for a dependence on foreign batteries and other emerging technology.”

The House approved amendments from: Chairman Gordon; Investigations and Oversight Subcommittee Ranking Member Paul Broun (R-GA); Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO); Rep. Bill Posey (R-FL) and Rep. Suzanne Kosmas (D-FL); Rep. Patrick Kennedy (D-RI); Rep. Rush Holt (D-NJ); Rep. Jim Marshall (D-GA); Rep. Steve Cohen (D-TN); Rep. Joe Donnelly (D-IN), Rep. Mark Souder (R-IN), and Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-OR); Rep. Joe Sestak (D-PA); and Rep. Eric Massa (D-NY).

The bill has been endorsed by:  General Motors, Ford Motor Company, Chrysler, the United Autoworkers, the National Association of Manufacturers, the Motor and Equipment Manufacturers Association, Daimler, Magna International, Delphi, ArvinMeritor, Robert Bosch LLC, Caterpillar, Dueco Odyne, Achates Power, EcoMotors, the Engine Manufacturers Association, the Connected Vehicle Trade Association, the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, Natural Resources Defense Council, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the Sierra Club and the League of Conservation Voters.

The bill was marked up by the Energy and Environment Subcommittee on July 21st and the Full Committee on July 29th.

For more information, please see the Committee’s website.



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