Peters-Alexander-Stabenow Vehicle Innovation Act Passes Senate

Bipartisan Clean Vehicle Tech Bill Included in Bipartisan Energy Bill

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

The U.S. Senate today approved the bipartisan Vehicle Innovation Act, authored by U.S. Senators Gary Peters (D-MI), Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Debbie Stabenow (D-MI). The bill was included as a provision in a broader bipartisan energy bill, which passed the Senate. The Vehicle Innovation Act (VIA) promotes investments in research and development of clean vehicle and advanced safety technologies that will create more fuel-efficient vehicles, reduce our nation’s dependence on foreign oil and support American auto manufacturers.

“The cars and trucks of the future will be equipped with technology making them safer and more fuel efficient, and we must ensure that the United States leads the way in developing these innovations,” said Senator Peters. “These emerging technologies will not only help lower fuel costs for businesses and consumers, their development will help create jobs in Michigan and across the country. I’m pleased the Senate passed this legislation that will make critical investments in our manufacturing industry, and I urge the House to swiftly approve it so that our auto manufacturers and suppliers can continue developing the next big thing in advanced vehicle technology.”

“I am glad the Energy Policy Modernization Act includes provisions from the Vehicle Innovation Act that support research to develop more fuel-efficient cars and lighter trucks,” Senator Alexander said. “This is good news for Tennessee’s expanding auto industry and will complement current efforts at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, where scientists are already researching ways to make advanced, light-weight materials cheaper for auto manufacturers.”

“Michigan has always been a leader in manufacturing, but we can only continue our success against companies on the other side of the world if we invest in new technologies,” said Senator Stabenow, senior member on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. “Our measure will help manufacturers and suppliers research and develop innovative technologies to make the next generation of fuel-efficient vehicles, spurring job growth and reducing our dependence on foreign oil.”

The Vehicle Innovation Act reauthorizes and modernizes the Department of Energy’s Vehicle Technologies Program, which works with light duty automobile and medium and heavy-duty commercial truck manufacturers and suppliers to conduct research and development to improve fuel efficiency in vehicles. Examples of these technologies include mild hybrid, engine down speeding, power pack modeling and testing, advanced boosting systems, hydrogen and natural gas refueling and electric vehicle charging technology. The legislation also encourages the development and use of vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) communications systems that have the potential to improve fuel efficiency and reduce traffic accidents and congestion.

“The Motor & Equipment Manufacturers Association (MEMA) applauds today’s Senate passage of legislation that includes the Vehicle Innovation Act. Motor vehicle component manufacturers are focused on the research, development and deployment of technologies that will improve vehicle fuel efficiency and lower emissions will assist vehicle manufacturers to meet future fuel efficiency and emissions requirements,” said Steve Handschuh, President and Chief Executive Officer of MEMA. “The programs in this bill will support domestic research and manufacturing activities and lead to greater consumer choice of vehicle technologies. Sens. Peters, Alexander and Stabenow are to be congratulated for their leadership on behalf of the supplier industry and today’s passage of this important legislation.” 

“The Auto Alliance commends Senate passage of this comprehensive, bipartisan energy bill that contains many important provisions, including the Vehicle Innovation Act, championed by Sens. Peters, Alexander and Stabenow,” said Jennifer Thomas, Vice President, Federal Government Affairs of the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers. “This provision will help speed the proliferation of advanced technology and alternative fuel vehicles. Automakers and our suppliers remain focused on the introduction and deployment of these fuel-efficient vehicles as we strive to address our nation’s energy security and environmental concerns.  The Vehicle Innovation Act will aid these ongoing efforts and support the research and design of the next generation of fuel-efficient vehicle technologies.”

“The passage of this legislation greatly enhances the development and introduction of new automotive technologies by suppliers such as Magna, which will assist us as we help work with automakers to reach future CAFÉ goals,” said Frank W. Ervin III, Senior Director, Government Affairs for Magna International. “We greatly appreciate the hard work Senators Peters, Alexander and Stabenow have put in to get this legislation passed.”

The Vehicle Innovation Act is supported by a broad coalition of environmental groups and manufacturers including the Motor and Equipment Manufacturers Association (MEMA), the BlueGreen Alliance, the Auto Alliance, NTEA - the Association for the Work Truck Industry, the United Auto Workers, the League of Conservation Voters, the Union of Concerned Scientists, the Natural Resources Defense Council, the Sierra Club, the American Automotive Policy Council, the Electric Drive Transportation Association, Robert Bosch LLC, the LORD Corporation, Umicore, Bergstrom, Magna International, Inc., and Dorman Products, Inc.