Stabenow, Alexander, Peters, Collins, Kildee Introduce Bipartisan Bill to Expand Electric Vehicle and Hydrogen Fuel Cell Tax Credits

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Lamar Alexander (R-TN), Gary Peters (D-MI), and Susan Collins (R-ME) along with Congressman Dan Kildee (MI-05) today introduced the Driving America Forward Act, bipartisan legislation to expand the electric vehicle and hydrogen fuel cell tax credits. Under current law, consumers may receive a tax credit of up to $7,500 if they purchase an eligible electric vehicle. However, the tax credits begin to phase out permanently once automakers sell over 200,000 units. The Driving America Forward Act raises the cap and allows purchasers of an additional 400,000 vehicles per manufacturer to be eligible for the tax credit.


“At a time when climate change is having a real effect on Michigan, today’s legislation is something we can do now to reduce emissions and combat carbon pollution,” said Senator Stabenow. “Our bill will help create American jobs and cement Michigan’s status as an advanced manufacturing hub.”


“Ten years ago there were no mass produced electric cars on U.S. highways, and today, there are about one million and automakers are planning to make millions more,” said Senator Alexander. “The all-electric Nissan Leaf that I bought in 2011 had a hard time getting me from the Capitol to Dulles airport and back. Its real range was about 70 miles. Today’s Nissan Leaf can travel 226 miles on one charge. Investing in American research and technology for better electric vehicles is one way to help our country and the world deal with climate change. I’m glad to cosponsor this important legislation, which will encourage even more production of electric vehicles, create good jobs and boost the economy.”


“Expanding tax credits for electric vehicles would benefit consumers and our environment,” said Senator Peters. “Continued investment in advanced technologies of the future will help Michigan stay at the forefront of global auto innovation, spur job growth and move us toward a more sustainable and competitive transportation future.”


“In less than four years, the number of Mainers who own electric cars has more than doubled. This legislation would continue the momentum towards cleaner transportation and help tackle harmful transportation emissions, which produce more than half of Maine’s carbon pollution and threaten our public health, natural resources, and economy,” said Senator Collins. “I encourage our colleagues to join us in supporting the Driving America Forward Act to extend tax credits for electric vehicles and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles and make these vehicles more affordable to consumers.” 


“This bipartisan legislation helps to address the urgent threat of climate change with bold solutions that help to create jobs in Michigan,” said Congressman Dan Kildee. “Putting more electric vehicles on the road will reduce carbon emissions and support investment in American-made manufacturing. This legislation is a win-win when it comes to protecting our planet and growing our economy.”


Sales of electric vehicles increased by more than 80 percent in 2018 and two manufacturers have already hit the lifetime cap of 200,000 units. Under current law, after an automaker sells 200,000 qualifying vehicles, consumers are eligible to receive the full value of the $7,500 tax credit through the calendar quarter after the cap is hit. The value of the credit to consumers from this automaker then decreases to 50% and 25% over the next 12 months before being phased out entirely.


The Driving America Forward Act raises the cap by allowing purchasers of an additional 400,000 vehicles per manufacturer to be eligible for a $7000 tax credit. Consumers can receive the full value of a $7,000 credit through the calendar quarter after the 600,000th vehicle is sold. The value of the credit to consumers from this automaker then decreases to 50% before being phased out entirely after six months. The bill maintains the $7,500 tax credit for the first 200,000 units sold.


The Drive America Forward Act also extends the hydrogen fuel cell credit for ten years, through 2028. The legislation is also co-sponsored by U.S. Representatives Don Beyer (VA-08), Earl Blumenauer (OR-03), Brian Higgins (NY-26), Jimmy Gomez (CA-34), Stephanie Murphy (FL-07), Jimmy Panetta (CA-20), Terri Sewell (AL-07), and Tom Suozzi (NY-03).


Senator Stabenow championed the electric vehicle tax credit and the production of alternative vehicles here at home in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. She has since led efforts to expand the tax credit and create more opportunities for clean energy manufacturing in Michigan and across the country. In addition to being more energy efficient, electric vehicles produce lower emissions on average than conventional gas vehicles do. An average electric-powered vehicle will produce 3.3 fewer tons of CO2 emissions and burn 480 fewer gallons of gas per year compared to an average gasoline-powered vehicle.


The Driving America Forward Act is supported by 60 organizations, including ABB Inc., Advanced Energy Economy, Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, Alliance to Save Energy, American Lung Association, Association of Global Automakers, BMW of North America, CalStart, Center for Climate and Energy Solutions, CERES, Charge Forward LLC, ChargePoint, ChargeUp Midwest, Clean Fuels Michigan, Consumers Energy, Copper Development Association, DTE, Eaton, Ecology Center, Edison Electric Institute, Electrify America, Electric Auto Association, Electric Drive Transportation Association, Electric Vehicle Charging Association, eMotorWerks, an Enel Group Company, Environmental Defense Fund, Environmental Law and Policy Center, EV Drive Coalition, EVgo, FCA US, Ford Motor Company, FORTH, Fuel Cell and Hydrogen Energy Association, General Motors Company, Greenlots, Honda North America Inc., ITC Holdings Corp., ITS America, League of Conservation Voters, Lyft, Michigan League of Conservation Voters, Motor and Equipment Manufacturers Association, NAFA Fleet Management Association, National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, Natural Resources Defense Council, Nissan North America, Panasonic Corporation of North America, Plug In America, RENEW Wisconsin, Rivian Automotive, LLC, Securing America’s Future Energy, SemaConnect, Siemens Corporation USA, Sierra Club, Silicon Valley Leadership Group, TE Connectivity, Tesla Inc., The Nature Conservancy, Toyota Motor North America, Union of Concerned Scientists, Volkswagen Group of America, and Volta.


“FCA US applauds Senators Stabenow and Alexander's leadership in supporting electric vehicles,” said Shane Karr, Head of FCA US External Affairs. “Measures like the Driving America Forward Act are needed to help grow market demand for electric vehicles.”


“This bill will help Ford grow our electrified vehicle portfolio, which includes iconic models our customers know and love,” said Joe Hinrichs, Ford’s President, Global Operations. “Ford is investing $11 billion in electrified vehicles through 2022. Expanding the existing framework gives our U.S. plants the ability to produce smarter, fuel-efficient vehicles for years to come. It also ensures that American manufacturers can stay competitive in this new automotive era.”


“General Motors believes in an all-electric, zero-emissions future. We are dedicating significant resources and investments to manufacturing and infrastructure here in the United States to drive that vision,” said Mark Reuss, President, General Motors. “We appreciate the support and leadership of the Senators and Representatives; the EV tax credit provides customers with a proven incentive as we work to establish the U.S. as a leader in electrification.”


“We commend Senators Stabenow and Alexander and Congressman Kildee for their leadership on this critical issue,” said Dave Schweitert, Interim president & CEO, Auto Alliance. “This bipartisan bill will help drive deployment and consumer acceptance of these energy-efficient, alternative powertrains. Automakers are investing substantially in electric vehicles, with 58 models on sale and more coming, but overall sales remain low. Consumer tax incentives and rebates, as well as charging infrastructure, are key building blocks to help get more of these energy-efficient vehicles on our roadways.”


“These credits accelerate the growth of the U.S. electric vehicle market which helps protect our air and environment while at the same time boosting American clean vehicle innovation and manufacturing jobs,” said Luke Tonachel, Director, Clean Vehicles and Fuels Group, Natural Resources Defense Council. “We are pleased to see bipartisan support for these related goals and hope this proposal will quickly pass.”


“As we build and grow the clean energy economy, we must continue to invest in tackling the sector that generates the most pollution: transportation,” said Michael Brune, Executive Director of the Sierra Club. “With this bipartisan legislation Senators Stabenow and Alexander recognize the opportunities we have by extending the electric vehicle tax credit and putting electric vehicles in the fast lane.”


“LCV applauds Senators Stabenow and Alexander and Congressman Kildee for their bipartisan legislation to extend electric vehicle tax credits,” said Tiernan Sittenfeld, SVP of Government Affairs, League of Conservation Voters. “At a time when our communities are feeling climate change's impacts, electrifying the transportation sector could not be more important. Transitioning to a clean energy economy for all will create jobs and protect our health and communities—especially low income and communities of color who are hit first and worst by the impacts of climate change. While some in Congress are engaging in political stunts to stymie debate about solutions to climate change, LCV is committed to working with members of Congress, like Senators Stabenow and Alexander, Congressman Kildee, and the hundreds of state and local leaders working to solve this crisis.”


“The future is electric. Electric vehicles are much cleaner and cheaper to operate, and we need to help more people enjoy the benefits of this emerging technology,” said Michelle Robinson, Director of the Clean Vehicles Program of the Union of Concerned Scientists. “We applaud this bipartisan effort to invest in a strong and growing electric vehicle market.”


“EDTA applauds Senators Stabenow, Alexander, Collins and Peters, as well as Congressman Kildee and the many cosponsors of the House legislation, for their continued leadership in electric mobility and advancing this critical bipartisan legislation," said Genevieve Cullen, President, Electric Drive Transportation Association (EDTA). "This bill will ensure that the tax credits for electric drive vehicles continue to work to increase consumer choice and U.S. competitiveness.  Electrifying the U.S. fleet of vehicles will allow drivers to reduce their fuel costs, help to reduce greenhouse gases and other pollutants and enhance our energy security through fuel diversity. This legislation updates existing policies to ensure that the U.S. continues to lead in the global market for electric drive technologies.” 

“Electric vehicles are cleaner, cheaper to operate and maintain, and allow customers to fuel at home with domestic energy,” said Jason Hartke, President, Alliance to Save Energy. “Study after study has found that tax incentives are working to make them accessible to more Americans and encourage their sales. Without congressional action, the current incentives are essentially expiring, and that’s likely to stunt the growth of electrical vehicles in the U.S. and damage our leadership in a rapidly growing auto sector. Sens. Alexander and Stabenow have really stepped up to the plate here to ensure we don’t let the electric vehicle market stall and fall behind foreign competitors. This bill would go a long way to grow the electric vehicle market and make them affordable for more American families.”


“The nation must act urgently to protect the health of all Americans from air pollution and climate change. Reducing emissions from vehicles is a critical part of the solution,” said Harold PWimmer, National President and CEO, American Lung Association. “I applaud Senators Alexander and Stabenow for their leadership on this issue. More electric vehicles on the road, combined with clean, renewable electricity, will help reduce dangerous air pollution and fight climate change at the same time.”


“As a leader in electrification and high power electric vehicle charging systems, ABB supports the Driving America Forward Act, which keeps the U.S. on the forefront of automotive technology,” said Jim Creevy, Vice President, Government Relations, ABB Inc. "This bill ensures more vehicle choices at lower cost, enabling all Americans to choose the car that is the best fit for them, while continuing to drive innovation in one of America’s core industries.”

“As a leading eMobility technology provider committed to being carbon neutral by 2030, Siemens supports this legislation and the opportunity it provides to advance clean transportation options for Americans,” said Chris King, Chief Policy Officer, Siemens Digital Grid.