Obama's Second Term Could Herald Renewed Push for EVs, Hydrogen Fuel-Cell Vehicles


  • President Obama

    President Obama

    Obama's victory may rev up his EV agenda. | November 07, 2012

Just the Facts:
  • As President Obama begins to shape his legacy after Tuesday's re-election, his agenda could include a renewed push to promote electric cars — and a greater interest in hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles.
  • The president's alt-fuel agenda also could "include an effort to increase subsidies for plug-in vehicles and to change the method from tax credits to direct cash rebates or price reductions," said John O'Dell, Edmunds senior editor for fuel efficiency and green cars.
  • Obama's re-election could also boost the solar energy industry and promote the widespread installation of public EV charging stations, O'Dell predicted.

SANTA MONICA, California — As President Obama begins to shape his legacy after Tuesday's re-election, his agenda could include a renewed push to promote electric cars — and a greater interest in hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles.

Obama did not spell out any plans for the auto industry after waging a successful re-election campaign, but he earlier had set a goal of having 1 million electric vehicles on the road by 2015. The $85-billion auto- industry bailout and the renewed health of General Motors and Chrysler appeared to be a major factor in Obama's re-election.

The president's clean-energy vehicle agenda is expected to rev up in his second term.

"The president has never abandoned his goal of bringing electric-drive vehicles into the mainstream and a renewed push to promote plug-in cars — hybrids and 'pure' battery electrics — can be expected," said John O'Dell, Edmunds senior editor for fuel efficiency and green cars.

The president's alt-fuel agenda also could "include an effort to increase subsidies for plug-in vehicles and to change the method from tax credits to direct cash rebates or price reductions," O'Dell said.

There could also be a new focus on hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles, especially if Obama taps a new energy secretary to replace Stephen Chu.

The administration's support for renewable energy programs could give rise to new life for the solar energy industry and increased availability of electricity from solar panels could help promote widespread installation of public EV charging stations.

O'Dell notes this "would go a long way toward relieving potential buyers of the range limitation worries that now help depress electric vehicle sales."

Lending by the U.S. Department of Energy from the Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing loan program may resume as well. The program still has upwards of $16 billion available for loans to battery, vehicle, and vehicle-component makers, O'Dell said.

The Electric Drive Transportation Association on Wednesday reacted to Obama's victory by issuing a statement that said "advancing alternatives to petroleum is a strategic and economic imperative."

"Policies that advance energy security through electrification of the commercial and consumer vehicle fleets should be bipartisan priorities for the administration and 113th Congress," it said.

Edmunds says: Expect President Obama to get back on track with EVs and other alt-fuel vehicles in short order.

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